No Shortage of Good Hats: the Entries

Unless you just crawled out from under a rock or you’ve been incarcerated without access to the internets, then you know about the contest we’re running here at the UA. For the past two weeks, needy contestants salt-of-the-Earth UA fans have been submitting their own fishing hats for consideration of a chance to win a signed copy of John Gierach’s No Shortage of Good Days; a signed, limited-edition giclee print of Bob White’s Close to Home painting, and a DownUnder Hat from Simms. Oh, and there’s also a swanky PBR trucker hat and UA sticker as a consolation prize.

In a week we’ll announce the winner(s). Feel free to comment—you may be able to influence the judges’ decisions (their integrity is questionable).

Here are the entries in no particular order….


Ed Meyer

1. Ed Meyer: “Wanted to show the hat in 3 different poses so you could see that it’s the hat that looks so damn good and not just the fact that it’s me making the hat look so damn good.” That’s a fine hat, a fine trout and a fine fox, Ed. And your beard invokes envy among lesser men such as myself.


Bob Diefenbacher

2. Bob Diefenbacher: “Nothing inherently special about the hat, just a Costa Marlin trucker cap.  Nor does it appear to make me anymore good looking than any of the other hats I own.  But in the moment that I pick it up to put it on, I’m always reminded of this day, casting on the beach with my son at my side. Sentimental hats are the best hats.” It’s almost not fair playing the kid card, Bob. But I’m glad you did—nothing better than spending time with our kids on the water. We gotta be good to them because some day they’re going to be taking care of us.

Rick Mangus

3. Rick Mangus: “This is the best damn hat because it makes my face look so thin compared to other hats.  I also have an 8 1/4 size head, Tilley makes the only one that fits me.  It also always brings me a brown trout of huge size.  It is the thinning though that makes it the best.”  Wow, an 8-1/4 size head?  You certainly can’t tell from the photo thanks to your best damn hat. I bet that brown is 27 inches, too, eh? 

Ron Begnaud

4. Ron Begnaud: “At first glance this may look like a mere ball cap, but it’s so much more.  While the Tim Borski drawn logo of Uptown Angler has it’s own appeal, the main reason this hat makes me look good is because when I wear it, I catch fish.  This hat is skunk proof and attracts hogzilla sized fish better than power bait. I’ve never been one for superstitions excepting where fishing hats are concerned.  There are rules for fishing hats.
Rule 1, NEVER wash a fishing hat, you’ll wash the mojo right out of it.  Your hat being blown off of your head and into the water while running the boat does not count as a washing.
Rule 2,  A hat must grow its mojo.  A brand new hat off of the shelf has not yet aged and developed the patina of good luck required of a propper fishing hat.
Rule 3, A hat you got for free will inherently have more good mojo than one you paid for.  A hat you “got for free” by “forgetting to return it” after borrowing will have more luck than a hat you were freely given.
Rule 4, Recovering your hat from a seemingly lost situation..i.e. blowing off of your head and into the drink while doing hyper sonic speeds in your boat, increases the mojo of the hat.
Rule 5, The amount of luck a fishing hat has is proportional to the strength of its odor.  Believe me when I say you want to stay up wind of my fishing hat.” I would tend to agree with your Rules, Ron. A fishing hat is like an old pair of underpants. Sort of.

Pat Konoske

5. Pat Konoske: “So…you stumped me.  I don’t have a favorite hat, per se.  Though my new Tilly is quite nice, and covers my somewhat big ears and fits my generous head (all those brains you, know). But when I started looking around, I found one hat that seems to appear more often than others and at some of the best times. First, this was a free hat that makes me look like I’m much more of a fly fisherman than I really am.  That alone is a good quality in a hat.
#1: Wore this hat during my first visit to the Yak, and just before lunch dredged a nice pool with a nymph (the guide tried to hide a frown) for this rainbow.
#2: A nice riverside lunch after nymphing up that rainbow.
#3: This hat also kept my noggin warm during an early morning on Eagle Lake (Calif.), and this fish was one of 25-plus that would get to see my hat that day.
Doesn’t have much character, but it was free and came with a dozen Czech nymphs.  And I don’t know many fly fisherman who turn down anything free.”
You really are a cheap son of a mother, aren’t you, Pat?  And here all along I thought, due to your taste for fancy beers, that you were all high fallutin’.

Nella Flurkey

6. Nella Flurkey: “This is a picture of me with my favorite fishing hat.  I love my hat and I’ve had it for years, but I need to find a new one.  I think it has shrunk from leaving it in my truck too much during hot weather. I’m hoping to win one of your UA stickers as I am converting a 72 FJ40 into my fishing rig and it needs some stickers! Really enjoy your blog!” Thanks for sucking up the kind words, Nella. I would be honored to have an UA sticker adorning your classic FJ…


Mike Sepelak

7. Mike Sepelak: “Well, I couldn’t pass up representin’ my go-to Adidas cap. Wouldn’t feel right on the water without it, though it’s nothing special (to anyone but me).” Your hat may be nothin’ special, Mike, but your photo is.  


Michael Lenetsky

8. Michael Lenetsky: “This is me and my fishing hat.I love this hat because it has been my one constant companion on the streams, lakes, rivers and ponds that I fish year-round.I have attached pictures of me, and my hat, fishing together in the Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.  In these pictures we have caught browns, steelhead, land locked atlantic salmon. But together we have fought so much more.  The hat is about 12 years old at this point,and someday may have to be retired.  Not by me, mind you, but by the forces of entropy which will eventually claim us all.This is the last great Community Fly Fisher Hat (at least as far as I am aware). Once, a beautiful salmon fly was embroidered, and clearly visible on the front of this oiled, canvas, hat. Today, that pattern still exists, but is much fainter, while the oil in the canvas is certainly of a different variety than when it was new. None the less, I love this hat and the way it makes me look. Like a serious, skilled fisherman.  While my rods, reels and lines, and even fishing cars, have changed over the past year, the hat has remained the same.” Michael, that hat is clearly something that only you could love, as well should be the case with any fishing hat.


Peggy Stevinson

9. Peggy Stevinson: “Here is a photo of me in my fishing hat. This is a tough sport for gals who are into fashion! I wear men’s (small) waders and boots and living in chilly Colorado am usually bundled up and look like the Michelin Man gone fishing. Luckily I have my white hat to distinguish me from the guys on the river. As a Program Leader for Casting for Recovery – Colorado, I have lots of pink annual retreat pins and pink flies to adorn it. It has a wide brim to keep the sun off my face and protect my ears from my sometimes wild casts. It brings me luck! I hope you like it as much as I do. Have fun with this contest, I am anxious to see the results!” Peggy, nobody is ever going to mistake you for a man, Michelin or otherwise, while wearing that hat. It’s really quite something to behold—wear it with pride and thanks for your leadership with CFR!


Lisa Brain, hat #1

Lisa Brain, hat #2

Lisa Brain, hat #3

10. Lisa Brain: “These really dont need any explanation but hat one is obviously a great hat since it brings in the “big” fish, the second just complements the farmers tan and what can I say about hat 3.” Lisa, as you know you don’t get extra credit for extra hats, but they are damn fine hats—all of them. What is this Tahuya thing? 😉


Kris Kerr

11. Kris Kerr: “This is me with my lucky fishing hat. It’s a Real Deal Brazil truck tarp hat. I first saw it on Woody Harrelson in the movie Zombieland. I said to myself that I had to have one. I liked the used look to it and each hat is unique in a way due to how they choose the tarp and cut patches etc. Plus I looked damn sexy in it! I didn’t get for fishing at first though. I have always used a baseball cap I have had forever when I go fishing because I considered it my all around lucky hat. Well some fucktard stole it in a burglary at my house last year. Left the tarp hat, took the used baseball hat, WTF! Anyway I digress. I took this hat fishing and it seemed to be the missing link in my fishing mojo. I started landing fish more and got my first steelhead on the fly in the picture I sent. I had been trying for almost 2 years to land a steelie on the fly, lot’s of hookups but no landings. Now a case could be made I caught more fish because I actually practiced casting before the season, learned to read the water better and matched the river bugs by doing some research. Nah, it’s the hat. P.S. Gotta give props to my friend Grant Richie for getting that hatchery hog. He owns the Minam Raft Rentals on the Wallowa River in Oregon. He let me tag along on a float down the Wallowa and Grande Ronde last month. Kris, that’s a damn fine pond monkey and you’re lucky to have such a damn fine hat because, as you suggested, a good hat trumps talent any day. Ask me how I know…

John Chaffee

12. John Chaffee: “My hat is awesome for many reasons. It was passed down to me from my late grandfather, so it had lots of good ju-ju before I ever put it on. It is tough, it has been sat on, stepped on, rescued from the river multiple times because of gust of wind and it keeps on rocking. It also is easily fixable, notice the piece of white duct tape. I think it makes me look distinguished. Hope that works for you guys.Thanks for making a cool contest.” I’m not sure if distinguished would be quite my first choice of words, John, but it is damn fine hat. It makes you look like Joe Willauer. Do you know Joe, by chance? You could be his doppelganger (or he yours). Except that now he has short hair and no beard, but last year…

Howard Levett

13. Howard Levett: “Well, here it is Kirk. The best I can do.” Anything more would have been uncharacteristic, Howard. Thank God you’re consistent.


Eric Boatman

14. Eric Boatman: “I have attached a photo of my entry into the No shortage of good Hats Contest. I wear this hat almost always when I got fishing. First it’s brown and tan and goes well with my both my Neoprene and my Breathable waders (looking good really matters out on the river).. Two it’s a trucker hat and I am a fairly large guy and usually have to walk/hike pretty far to get to the good fishing spots so the mesh on the back helps me to keep cool and not sweat too much. Third it has a Beaver on it. What man doesn’t love some good Beaver…? LOL anyway… I love this hat because it stays put on my head and brings me luck. Please consider me for your contest and I love reading your Blog!”  Pulling out all stops with the beaver card, eh Eric?  Well-played, sir 😉


Don Cranfill

15.Don Cranfill: “This hat has literally hundreds of miles paddling with me. It has fished all over the country and been through hell and back. When I got it, it was UV rated and waterproof. You can’t tell in the pic, but it is now threadbare and you can read a newspaper through the top. I have considered replacing it the last few years, but…I broke down and start shopping around this season. Maybe, just maybe, the fishing Gods will bestow upon me a replacement. Thanks for the great contest!”  Don, I must say you build a strong case for winning this contest. In fact, maybe you will win. Then again, you probably won’t may not.


Derek Young

16. Derek Young: “You cannot argue that this is not your winner. My logic –  1) A smiling, pretty woman in a hat. 2) A smiling, pretty woman rowing the drift boat. Let everyone know the contest is already over…” Sir, do you really think that posting some random photo of a smokin’ hot hoochie mama in a hat in a drift boat will earn you any favors with the judges?


Cory Zurcher

17. Cory Zurcher: Great contest with great prizes.  I too appreciate a great hat.  I have attached a photo and a description, it is the first and only hat I have owned that had its own proper name and a story behind it. This hat (the go to hell hat) has traveled the world on my noggin it keeps me warm and dry it is oiled canvas with a fleece lining. But even better my great wife likes it, I can tell because she is smiling in the picture with me in the hat.  The name is from a friend who asked, ‘does that hat get any strange looks?’, I said yes.   His response, ‘I assume that you wear it then to say they can go to hell if they don’t like the way it looks.’ Thanks again for a great read.” Cory, you’re a lucky man to have a great wife that actually likes your Go To Hell Hat. It would be a damn shame if you told her to Go To Hell just because she didn’t like your hat.


Bud Alcock

18. Bud Alcock: “Here is my favourite and I DO wear it most of the time.” If I’m not mistaken, Bud, your hat looks like a Filson; the same hat worn by Gierach. I bet he called you to ask where you got your damn fine hat…


Brian Kozminski

19. Brian Kozminski: “My favorite hat. An Eddie Bauer felt classic fedora. It has kept me  warm on colder days, dry in inclement weather and rather adds to my ego when the ladies say it looks like and Indiana Jones hat. I used to correct them and tell them it was felt, his was a leather fedora, but have since given up.” A fine lid indeed, Koz. I get a lot of women making similar comments about me when wearing my hat.  No, wait. I lied.

Bob Triggs

20. Bob Triggs: “Olympic Peninsula fly fishing guide Bob Triggs. On the Puget Sound Saltchuck, fishing for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout.” Say, are you THE Bob Triggs—The Little Stone Fly Fisher? That’s a damn dapper looking cap and conjures up images of Ireland moreso than the OP.


Al Gustaveson

21. Al Gustaveson: “Min lilla fiskefarm (My Little Fishing Farm); Lat/Lon: 47˚36′ N 93˚30′ W; Elevation:1402;On the Northern Side of the Continental Divide” That’s a damn fine looking hat, Al. Befitting of  the proprietor of Min lilla fiskefarm.


Aileen Ellis

22. Aileen Ellis: “My hat is so awesome, I can tie flies from it.”  Wait, your name sounds familiar—are you somehow associated with ?  And aren’t you that chick that stops to harvest road kill?


Rob Alderman

23. Rob Alderman: “Let me begin by apologizing for the long email…I just saw your great article online about fishing hats, and your contest. For your perusal, I’d like to submit my Simms Fly Fishing hat. Now, I have many more fishing hats, but this is the one I wear. I’ve had the hat for a couple of years, which I guess isn’t a long time, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t seen a lot of wear. The hat has seen water all throughout the United States, and has spent tons of time protecting me from the elements. I keep the “go to” flies I need on it, and they never change… BWO, Prince Nymph, Comparadun Sulpher, #10 Olive Wooly, and a Copper John. Most days, I just fish with what is on my hat. But what makes this hat so special? Well sir, it’s been through 4 tornados. Yes. You heard me right. FOUR tornados. What I mean, is that I actually was wearing this hat DURING three tornados WHILE ON FISHING TRIPS. Now, you may say, “This hat is cursed!” BUT NAY!!!! I say, “This hat is a secret weapon that not only lures trout to my line, but even keeps me safe from the harshest elements that Mother Nature can throw my way.” I mean, who knows what might have happened if I HADN’T had that hat on? We might not be having this conversation. Just sayin…Note – The hat was also on my head during the April 27th tornados in 2011, but I wasn’t fishing at that time.The Hat was on my head as I floated the South Holsten river in Bristol during two tornados on May 26, 2011.The hat was on my head as I fished the Hiwassee River near Charleston TN on March 2nd 2012. So, there you go. I may not win the contest, but i feel like this hat deserves to have it’s story told. Thank you for your consideration.” Wow, Rob, that’s an almost unbelieveable history your hat has. In fact there are probably countless folks who wouldn’t believe you. But I believe you. Really, I do. No—seriously.


Shelby Sim

24. Shelby Sim: “I love this hat…it’s comfortable, but sometimes my ears pop out from under it and I burn the tips 🙁 …not so great. But it’s my fave cuz it’s the only one I’ve got. Pushed my lucky hook clip off and on the brim a few too many times so it’s getting raggedy. That full brim hat looks comfy!! And shadey!! 🙂 ….pick me!! LOL!!” Well, OK, Shelby—since you begged, you win!  Kidding. Maybe. Maybe not.  


Adam Augustine, Summer hat

Adam Augustine, Winter hat

25. Adam Austine: “Dear Unaccomplished angler, My name is Adam Augustine and I live in Fort Collins, CO. I just saw your no shortage of good hats contest and thought it was brilliant. I have two hats that I go between mainly, since I live in fort collins I have a winter and a summer hat. My summer hat is a Salt Institute hat given to my by a good friend who works for the city of fort collins. My winter hat is an old stocking cap I found in a hat bin at my parents house. There is a winter park hat that holds a special place in my heart. My mother passed away in 2008 while I was working at Winter Park Resort so I have a good connection while I’m out fishing when I where that hat. Plus I caught that frog on a pike fly…. not bad! I hope you enjoy the pictures. I made sure to pick the good ones. Thank you, Adam”  Adamn fine couple of hats you got there, Adam. But let us not overlook the sunglasses in the first photo—if this were a sunglass contest you would walk away the winner.


Dean Claus

26. Dean Claus: “I live in Longmont, Colorado and consider the waters of the northern front range home territory. My favorite fishing hat and I have shared many adventures.  The bond we developed over the years is such that I don’t even own another fishing hat.  My hat and I have been together since the late 1980s.  If my memory is correct, I purchased it in Georgetown, Colorado for about $16.  It was made by the Henschel Hat Company.  According to their website they still make the model I wear.  It is an Aussie Brown from their Leather Walker Collection.There was I time when I had another hat that I bought from Cabelas.  But that one left me to find a new owner when I went for an unexpected dip in a local trout stream.  My current Henschel hat is of finer character.  With its draw cord it has always been faithful and stuck with me even when I lost my footing and drifted downstream without a raft.  Additionally, with its wide brim it has protected me from the sun, the rain, nasty willow branches, and possible “ear flossings.”  I cannot imagine a better, more loyal fishing hat. Another benefit of wearing this hat is, it covers my baldness and helps me to look like the dashing outdoors-man that I am.  With my hat on my head I could stand next to Teddy Roosevelt and not feel out of place.  I believe that a fly fisherman should look like a gentleman adventurer, not a manikin from the REI store.  And, my Henschel Aussie Brown does the trick for me. If I outlive my Henschel Aussie Brown, I suppose I would try to find another hat that shares its qualities.  Any fishing hat for me must be loyal, able to protect me from the sun, rain, rogue branches, out of control casts, and it needs to make me look like a the Indiana Jones of the angling world.” Dean, if I were you I wouldn’t plan on outliving that hat of yours—it looks like it’s built to stand the test of time. Not that you don’t appear well-suited to live another 120 years or so, but that hat is rugged. 


Jeff Holberg

27. Jeff Holberg: “I didn’t pick this hat, it picked me.  Early on, I spent a lot of time searching for the perfect hat… a Lefty Kreh up-downer that abandoned ship when I capsized on the Brazos River, a fluorescent lime green one that disappeared mysteriously, even a Filson Packer like the one Gierach uses to distinguish himself from the the homeless.  None worked for me. No, this hat,  given to me by the owner of the sadly now defunct Austin Angler, hitched a ride on a long ago trip to Montana and and stayed, ingraining itself into my being.I always thought sticking used flies onto a hat was lame, but it seems My Hat  yearned for adornment.  However My Hat is selective when it comes to which flies it keeps. While flies I like are promptly flung off to the great unknown, it appears My Hat has a thing for Bead-head nymphs. Fortunately My Hat has a penchant for keeping some: the Chernobyl Ant responsible for a butterball 20″ trout, the only fish from a long hot day on the Yellowstone, the Damsel Fly that out of season, provided a 50+ fish day, the yellow bream bug that hooked a 4 pound Largemouth; as a chronicle of good times. My Hat was never a looker, but hell, neither am I.  Time, sun, and sweat have given us both a patina reflecting lives well misspent.”  I get what you’re saying about the hat picking you, Jeff.  In that regard, hats are like dogs.  They’re also like dogs because over time they begin to smell. However, unlike dogs, hats should never be washed.


Ryan Rahmiller

28. Ryan Rahmiller: After 3 trips/ 8 days of being steelhead-less, I changed up my mojo with this stunning /lucky stocking hat. 2 hours later, 2 steelies to my name. Now I’ll never be Great Lakes steelheading without it. Pretty sure it’s the manly pom that sets it apart. It’s a fine looking hat, Ryan, and without question it seems to have good mojo. If you’re at all like me with regard to superstitions, you’ll not want to go fishing without that hat, ever. To that end, please send another photo in late July. 


Jason Tucker

29. Jason Tucker: My hat will probably be the ugliest entered in your contest, reason enough to allow me to win. There is one reason I wear it- sheer utility. I bought this while on vacation in the Dominican Republic. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but rum can be a mean trickster. This hat has several things going for it none of which are cosmetic.

a. The broad brim helps keep the sun off of me and my sunglasses, protecting my delicate complexion and allowing me to see the fish that are refusing to bite.
b. Mosquitoes and deer flies can’t seem to figure this thing out. The floppy brim works like a set of elephant ears, fanning mosquitoes away. Deer flies are stupidly programmed to attack from above and don’t seem to understand that if they just flew under the brim they could make me feel like someone is using a dull paper punch on my neck.
c. It has a really cool strap. This is the only thing that makes the hat look cool- when I let it hang down behind me by the strap. Once I place the hat back on my head all coolness evaporates.
d. Even I have been unable to destroy or lose it. This speaks volumes about its value as a fishing hat.
I humbly submit my entry.  JT, don’t be too quick to assume that your hat is the ugliest, or even ugly at all. Remember—beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or the in the eye of the person judging the beholder. 

Andrew Roth, Hat #1

Andrew Roth, Hat #2

Andrew Roth, Hat #3

Andrew Roth, Hat #4

Andrew Roth, Hat #5

30. Andrew Roth: “First and foremost thanks for the Blog(suck-up move that every blogger extends to one another early in the communication)Your whit is off the chart, and I read a few all of your posts that come across my inbox. I have worn hats all of my life. This may account for my twisted personality disorder and intermittent brain function. I can directly trace most of my neurological problem to the constant wearing of hats. Excessive heat build-up, hat band blood vessel constriction etc. The other possibility is the fact that I am a trout guide with a botany degree. The extensive testing of wrongly Identified herbaceous plants, fungi and tree bark may have some effect as well, but I digress.I am in this contest to win it, I must say though there is a special attraction to the PBR hat. Growing up in the late 60’s, 70′, 80’s, 90’s 00’s,,,,,OK, OK I am a trout guide and have not grown up yet. Anyhow, growing up in Milwaukee when the city was the “Beer Capital Of the World” still means the world to me. Many brands were King but Pabst Blue Ribbon was my Fathers brand. They say that we are products of our environment and I know they are right. My father was a smart, tough, hard working middle America tradesmen. He worked hard and played hard. He always got up for work the next morning.Tending to run with a younger crowd these days I am constantly astounded by selections from the craft beer market. Quite frankly it is both confusing and frightening. The artwork on the labels is fantastic but I’m never sure of what is in the bottle. With names like Zombie Dust, Dead Guy Ale, Ruthless Rye and Darkness I am sure I am going straight to Hell(oh, thats another one). Most of the time I do end up feeling like hell considering the hang over that follows a cooler full of beers ranging from 7.5 to 11.9% alcohol content. Consequently I mostly go old school and show up with a 6-pac of 16 oz. PBR’s. I know what’s in the can.  With a slogan like “Natures choicest products provide its prized flavor” it would seem like I would surely survive a night of drinking it. History says a bunch of guys showed up in 1893 to drink a bunch of beer, and this one got the blue ribbon. Sorry, I just realized that beer may have something to do with my problem. Maybe it was the rugby. A solid plug for Pabst anyhow. Hats yes hats! Here are a couple of photos that were taken of me. They are embarrassing and would tarnish my Linked-In reputation if they ever got onto social media my favorites, you choose.”  Well, Andrew, you certainly are a man of many hats: some cool, some whimsical, and one in particular just a bit disturbing. I appreciate your generous offer to join you for some Wisconsin angling, but after seeing the photo of Hat #4 I think I may have to pass. However, if anyone else wants to spend a day with you I’ll post your website here:


Mark Kelly

31. Mark Kelly: “This is my “handicap” fishing hat. It was awarded by my fishing buddies. You are supposed to wear it fishing & other fishing club functions until it is awarded to the next “lucky” angler. Interestingly it is up to the owners discretion as to which criteria (if any) they should apply to award the hat…” Unfortunately, Mark, you did not identify which of the gentleman in the photo is you, so we can only speculate. Left side, in the camo hat, correct?


Art Kaemmer

32. Art Kaemmer: Worn only by the proud, the few: members if the Hoover Institute for Piscatorial Excellence (HIPE). A hat reserved for only a very elite group, eh Art?  Only the few, the proud— can get away with wearing a pink hat.


Freddy Clayton

33. Freddy Clayton: Dear Mr. Angler, I have attached a photo of my awesomely spectacular fishing hat and me. The picture was taken on the last day of a 5-day kayak and fishing excursion a friend and I took in the backcountry of the Everglades in January 2013. My hat is spectacularly awesome not (sadly) because I look so dang good in it, but rather because it makes me look as if I catch fish. I love to fly fish, and most of my efforts occur around Florida, hunting in-shore saltwater prey – primarily redfish, snook, and sea trout. I am notorious among my friends for two elements of my interest: my obsession with fly fishing, and my consistent lack of success. My hat, however, is so fishy-looking that folks who see me flailing with my fly rod presume, with no justification, that I must know what I am doing. Additionally, I have attached to the hat a roseate spoonbill feather. I received the feather as a prize for catching the largest snook among eight of us who fished in the Everglades for four days three years ago. Our adventure occurred immediately after a major freeze that killed tens of thousands of fish, depleting the snook population drastically; it has not recovered yet. Because of the paucity of fish, however, I was able to win the largest-snook contest with a puny, 17-inch juvenile. It was the only snook anyone caught. So my hat not only creates the misimpression that I am a competent fly fisherman, but it also displays the only fishing award I will ever receive absent divine intervention.

I love your blog. I found on your site a kindred spirit. I love to fly fish, I do so as inexpensively as possible, and I fish often without much success (at least as measured by the fish I land). I also do not go to remote, exotic locations or have trophy fish to describe. I do almost all my fishing from my kayak, and I often fish alone. One of the blessings I enjoy is living in Florida, so I can fish in the flats and shallow lagoons on our coasts, especially the Everglades in Southwest Florida and the Mosquito Lagoon area in eastern Florida. I have spent hundreds of hours sight-casting to fish in those areas as well as blind casting to fishy-looking spots; my inability to hook and catch my targets is remarkably consistent. The failure to land fish, however, does not detract substantially from the joy I get from the activity. I love being on the water, constantly trying to improve and refine my casts, and determining where the fish are likely to be. It is always a glorious experience. And I have become a very avid tie flier; catching the occasional fish on a fly I have tied is a special treat. As with my fishing, however, my tying is not very skilled, but it sure is fun.

I have ordered your three books for my next-door neighbor’s son, who needs an early introduction to the ineffable joy of fly fishing. And I can’t wait for one of our sons to give us a grandchild – we’ll be ordering more books and showing them that fly fishing is one of life’s great pleasures. Well done, Freddy—now you are showing everyone else how to suck-up to the judges, sir! Oh, and thank you.


Ross Slayton

34. Ross Slayton: No big if’n I dont win, but I do like sharing off the way my hat and ‘stache compliment and camoflage my ugly mug. Ross, if I could grow handlebars like yours I might be able to get away with wearing a hat like yours as well. Unfortunately, I am capable of neither.  


  1. Owl Jones

    I’d love to vote for Ross Slayton’s hat, but I can’t get over the “man of many hats” Andrew Roth. If I had a vote ( I don’t ) he’d get my vote. You can’t beat an assortment of hats for every occasion. Well played, Mr. Roth.

    • Kirk Werner

      The judging is not going to be easy, that’s for sure…I may end up having to throw names into a hat.

  2. Derek Young

    Hoochie Mama? You owe me that PBR hat just to stay in good graces with my beautiful wife in the photo.

    • Kirk Werner

      Merely a term of adoration and endearment, sir. Besides, I didn’t realize that was your wife—she’s obviously much younger than you. Any excuse to drink a (cold) PBR with you…

  3. Jeff Pierce

    While there are many great hats in this contest, it is very hard not love Andy Roth’s hat lifestyle. He even has a PBR attached to his lanyard! I will give you that # 4 makes me very uncomfortable. Nibbling on his mom’s old shower cap seemed like a good idea at the time.

  4. Chuck Atkins

    Ed Meyer…is the winner….no question!

    • Ed Meyer

      Thanks for your vote of confidence, and I must say I have to agree.

  5. Howard Levett

    Some great hats here but I think I win just on lack of style points and being totally pathetic looking. You told me I needed to post something stupid and to get drunk. Last time I listen to you Kurt!

    • Shelby Sim

      OMG Howard!! I know we’re not on “friends” terms but please!!! Don’t play the pathetic card!!! I am just as capable as you of posting something stupid and being drunk when I do it…snerksnerksnerk….LOL!!! Good try 🙂

  6. Brian Koz

    Great bunch of folks in here. From Ross, Derek and Aileen, to Jason Tucker and Mr Sepelak. I have never been in a finer League of Gentlemen(used loosely) since I did that flick with Sean Connery as my father…
    Oh, wait, that wasn’t me. darn. Good Luck~
    Tight Lines!

  7. josh n

    Andy “the reverend goat herder” Roth gets my vote. But I also gotta like Al Gustavson’s too.

  8. Les Booth

    Well.. there are some seriously … um … maybe not too seriously … but a little seriously … interesting entries. A whole lotta love bein’ showed for cranial covers. That’s for sure. As for a favorite of those present ‘n accounting to … well since I own nothing connected – and I do mean NOTHING is connected! – to this contest, will posit forth my choices of (a)-(d) .. the rest will have to languish amid the pergatory of unaccomplished and unannounced: Dolorosum realitatem sugit!

    Are as follows:
    >> (a) Beard+hat Combo: Ed Meyer
    >> (b) Hot’n’Hatted (a TIE! shared equally; too-close-to-call!) : Aileen Ellis & Derek DeYoung’s Smokin-Blond-In (not Derek! .. !! eeewwwwww!!)
    >> (c) Verbacious Etymology+hat: Andrew Roth
    >> (d) Eternal Titfer Effection: Jeff Holberg
    >> (e) Obvolute’n’Unconcealed Suck-Up w/Style: Freddy Clayton


    The hole left by the “Phantom Hat”. You know, the one that’s there but … not. The one that should’a been here. But ain’t.
    The one whose owner is a retarded clock/calendar/sun-dial/moss-on-tree reader. Yeah. That one! The One that would’a swept the judges and all viewers ‘off’a’their feats! That inexplicable titualary teasment of tidal waviation. The ONE that would have set the standards so low and yet caused eveyone else to look so high – that anything else: and I do mean ANYTHING ELSE: wouldn’t have – couldn’t have! – looked … any worse. Yes! THAT ONE.


    May its tardiness – not billeted to the cranial coverance – but to the owner of the cranial ineptidness – be forever understood as a miscue – and not a dodge.

    Just sayin’… B|

    • Ross aka the flytyinfreak Slayton

      Dude! The obfuscation you parlay upon my visual acuity is indubitably a farce beyond all reconoitering and doth heretofore make me think that a plaid tuke would be that answer to Kirks Queery, “SO who’s the winner?”

      • Shelby Sim

        Toque! Man…Toque!! Hahahaha..hey, we were toques up here. When I’m down there I just wear a tuke. 🙂

        • Shelby Sim

          Wear…we WEAR toques…too much jeezly wine!! Hahahah!!

    • Shelby Sim

      Ummm…Ya. What you said. OK!

  9. Shelby Sim

    There sure are a lotta nice hats here..but I’m thinking the winner of the new hat should maybe not already have a selection of hats to choose from. Myself for example. Maybe the that fact alone is why I’m continuously skunked..the fish are sick of looking at it!! 🙂 Then again maybe I enjoy the fishing far more than the catching….but I do need a new hat!

  10. Nate

    Oh damn, I forgot to enter. I don’t think i’d have been much competition though.

  11. Blackdog

    It’s been my good fortune to fish with Andy Roth on couple of occasions, and he’s always been wearing hat #5. Whenever I’ve seen him – on the stream, around the campfire, working at the sorely missed Bentley’s Outfitters – he’s had on hat #5. If I saw him with hat #4, like Mr. Werner, I would also move a few pools upstream.

    Having been personally involved in a vociferous campfire conversation about the merits, or lack thereof, of Pabst Blue Ribbon; and witnessing the depth of Andy’s loyalty to that great Milwaukee brand; I know it would warm his heart to win that PBR hat. It would give him the strength to persevere when someone drunkenly shouts “PBR f**king sucks!”

    • Mrs Roth

      Hey, his momma knit hat #4 just for him. And yes, he is married, quit snickering.

      • Kirk Werner

        We’re not snickering , ma’am.

        (we’re actually LOL-ing)

      • Blackdog

        Oh gosh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize her disability was that severe.

  12. D.A.

    Andy wins, hands down. Goat herding or not. He can actually fish, too.

  13. Cory

    Great competition, I think since my wife likes my hat so much I need to win so she can have a hat of her own so she doesn’t feel left out from fine haberdashery we in the Fly Fishing world have become accustom too.

  14. Owl Jones

    How about next you have a contest for funky pants? Or hair? Or dogs? Yes, funky dogs? Seriously, this contest and post was a huge amount of fun and obviously took alot of work. Kudos on what I believe is “Post of the Year” so far for 2013. It is 2013, isn’t it? Whatever…

  15. Ross aka the flytyinfreak Slayton

    Dogs! Do awesome fishing dogs. My cow, er bear, er canine is a lock!

    • Shelby Sim

      MY duck…er, dog, can beat yours any day!! LOL!!!

  16. Man That Fishes

    Jeff Holberg can’t beat a hat that makes your fly fishing changes selection easier 😉

  17. Diane lupo

    Ed Meyer’s hat is the best among all the nice entries. It’s a hard choice but since I chose it for my brother, and I’m a self proclaimed fashionista when it comes to giving people hats. He should win. It was a tough decision button had to be made.

  18. Patrick

    Cheap? Me? I don’t just enter silly contests for the free prizes…I enter them for…um…well…

    • Shelby Sim

      ….the um….best darned hat being offered on the internet!!! 🙂

  19. Jennie Stark

    It is easy to see that Edward Meyer is the clear winner!

  20. Diane lupo

    Vote for ed, vote for each, d vote for ed, what you don’t know is hat is covering the shape of his head that’s why it fits so well. His is the most normal looking head in our family were so proud of his head and the hat thatcovers it vote for ed vote for ed please vote for ed

  21. Dave Gunzenhauser

    Hands down, number 8 Mike Lenetsky stands out in the crowd. This picture clearly shows a man who loves his hat and his fish!

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