Top Six Stupidest Fly Fishing Cars

Before we get too far into this and people begin to declare me some sort of vehicle snob, please remember who you’re dealing with here: The Unaccomplished Angler. Man of very little pride and/or self-respect when it comes to anything fishing related. That having been said, I do have my limits. Especially when it comes to cars.

But wait – what does this apparent rant about stupid cars have to do with fly fishing?  Well, last I checked, we angling types need a way to get to our fishing destinations, and barring a public transit system that will take us to our specific angling locales, most of us probably drive a car (for the purposes of this competition the term “car” is an all encompassing reference to any motorized vehicle be it a truck, SUV, van, coupe, sedan or other). The only criteria was that eligible vehicles had to be a 2010 model year or newer, therefore eliminating the Pontiac Aztec, AMC Pacer, and Isuzu VehiCross from eligibility. Performance, economy, comfort, build quality or other redeeming qualities were not considered in the selection process. This was a non-scientific, seat-of-the-pants compilation of worthy vehicles.

And now, the list of the Unaccomplished Angler’s Top Six Stupidest Fly Fishing Cars: vehicles in which I would not want to be seen passing through Idaho and Montana, or any other state:

#6 Stupid Fly Fishing Car: Nissan Quest

6. Nissan Quest. This one takes me beyond my general contempt for mini vans. I will admit that mini vans are in many ways versatile, practical cars. I even rode to and from Yellowstone in one, and cannot deny that it was a very comfortable way to travel. They may be fine for you. Just not for me. Years ago when we started our family, I breathed a sigh of relief when Mrs. UA declared that she did not want a mini van. I’ve never loved her more than at that very moment, nor have I ever met a mini van that I considered good looking. But thanks to Nissan you can now drive the stupidest looking one ever. It’s as if Nissan’s designers sat down and said, “Let’s really try to make this look cool and stylish.”  Well, it’s a mini van. They’re not supposed to look stylish or cool, because they’re not. If you’re looking for something stupid looking, look no further than the Quest. It’ll carry an army of anglers and all their gear, and look bad doing it.

#5 Stupid Fly Fishing Car: H2

5. Hummer H2. Now some of you may be thinking, “Wait just a minute! This doesn’t deserve to be on your stupid list–this thing is a rugged, manly beast!” True, it’s a beast. But if you’re going to make a bold statement, at least have the cajones to get a real, military-inspired H1 Hummer and not some watered-down, Chevy Tahoe on botox. These things clearly scream “I’m over-compensating!” and I’d be wrought with shame if I were seen in one. Yes, it may get you deep into the woods over washed-out roads where some other more civilized SUVs dare not go, but chances are if you’re driving a Hummer H2 it will have chrome wheels and low profile tires, making it better suited for trips to the hair salon, or the gym. In this day and age of heightened environmental sensitivity, the H2 is far from anything remotely green.

#4 Stupid Fly Fishing Car: Dodge Magnum

4. Dodge Magnum. I’m not sure what the folks at Chrysler were thinking when they designed this thing. I’m not sure that they were thinking.  It’s a station wagon, and an ugly one at that.  Putting a Hemi under the hood does not make it any less of a station wagon. Chopping the roof does nothing to increase its sporty factor. It’s still a station wagon: a station wagon that also looks like a hearse, and I wouldn’t be caught dead going on a fishing trip in the Dodge Magnum. They’ve been redesigned for 2011 and while they may be a bit better than their predecessors, they’re still stupid.

#3 Stupid Fly Fishing Cars: Nissan Juke

3. Nissan Juke. Stupid name for an odd looking car. What is it supposed to be anyway, an SUV or maybe a sports car—perhaps an awkward cross dressing crossover? I don’t know. It fails to successfully be anything other than stupid. In fact, it leaves me feeling juked and it would make a stupid fly fishing car. And don’t drive on the beach. That’s just not cool. If you’re gonna fish the beach, park on the shoulder of the road and walk down. Walk quickly and try not to let anyone see you get our of your car, if your car is the Nissan Juke.

#2 Stupid Fishing Car: Smart Car

2. Smart Car. I know what you’re thinking: this should be the #1 Stupidest Fly Fishing Car. While that may have been an obvious choice, it would have also been too easy. If ever there were a vehicle inappropriately named, it’s the Smart Car. I understand that if you live in Manhattan and need a car to scoot around the city, where parking is nonexistent, this might be something that would appeal to you. But why not just get a scooter instead? Aside from resembling something a toddler would play with, I doubt there’s room for a pair of waders and a fly box in one of these. Aesthetics aside, they sure look like a death-trap to me and I wouldn’t be caught alive in one. Just for giggles I would like to see a rod carrier mounted on this thing with a couple of 14 foot Spey rods attached: you’d have to affix red flags to the rod tips as they would extend 8 feet past the rear of the car. Make sure if you do this your rods have good warranties. Thank you, Daimler, for the smart car: it’s stupid. Almost stupid enough to be #1.

1. Nissan Cube. The top honor goes to Nissan. Mrs. UA and myself were recently driving down the freeway, minding our own business when one of these caught our attention violated our tranquility. We’d never seen one before and it caused us to simultaneously blurt out, “That’s stupid!” In fact the Nissan Cube was the sole inspiration behind this list. It really bothered me. These things are just plain wrong on so many levels that I won’t even listen to anyone who tries to tell me that the Nissan Cube has any redeeming qualities. What’s with the stupid, asymetrical, wraparound, one corner rear glass, anyway? It’s out of balance and would look horrible slathered with fly fishing stickers. I’m sorry, but if you own one of these you’ll eventually come to your senses and realize the stupidity of your ways. Congratulations to the designers at Nissan: you’ve produced three of the Top Six Stupidest Fly Fishing Cars.

So, what do YOU drive? I hope it’s not one of the stupid fly fishing cars from this list. If it is, I’ll send you a sticker:


  1. Patrick

    As an un-affluent angler, back in the day (when the kids were younger) I did take advantage of the lay-flat seats in our old Toyota Sienna…slept through a few Eastern Sierra rainstorms during inadequately planned impromptu trips. And rigging a tarp between the tailgate and nearby trees created a dry outdoor kitchen. As for the other choices…I agree with the Hummer…it has to be an unadulterated mil-spec H1 or nothing; as for the Magnum, when did gangsters take up fly fishing? The Juke’s a great driving car I hear…and the best thing about that is when you’re driving you don’t have to look at the exterior. The Smart and Cube are just stupid…small cars should get better mpg, regardless of ugliness…

    As for what I drive, it’s a gracefully aging Midnight Blue (nearly black) 2003 Honda Accord Sedan…yeah, a suburban father’s commute car. (The gas bill for my 54-mile commute in truck on would eat me alive.) While I’ll defend my Accord with comments such as “It’s got a five-speed stick, dude!” or the fact that I regularly see 32 to 34 mpg on fly fishing trips over the Sierra Nevadas, it has delivered me to some nice fishing via some not-so-nice forest service roads. It even carries some memories, in the form of a few scratches from those trips; as well as Emerging Rivers Guide Services decal.

    • Kirk Werner

      Pat, you’re clearly a man who is ultimately more secure in your masculinity than I am, which is why I’ve never owned a mini van. I salute you for your undaunted courage and self confidence. And your practical choice for your current service vehicle is to be commended as well. If it could be lifted and fitted with a 4wd transfer case I could see myself driving something just like it.

      • Patrick

        Speaking of retrofitting vehicles, remember the trend, back in the day, to lift and fit 4×4 mechanicals to the bellies of full-size vans? Add a wet bar and you’ve got a full-on fly-fishing machine!

        • Kirk Werner

          These days you can buy one already set up from Sportsmobile, although I don’t know if you can get the half moon bubble windows and shag carpeting as an option.

  2. cofisher

    Kirk, every time I reach out to grab your leg to pull myself within spitting distance, you set the bar higher and climb out of reach. I know you don’t like to hear that, that’s why I said it.

    I recently got a Mercury Mariner after my very fishable Chevy Blazer was murdered. Charges are still pending, but I hope the bastage gets the chair. I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like the Mariner as a fishing car, but it has turned out to be great.

    • Kirk Werner

      Stop it, Howard. I know what you’re trying to do, and I will now allow you to drive me back into retirement 😉
      Glad you’re liking the Mariner. Seems like a nice sized rig, and one day we may replace Mrs. UA’s Ford Exploder with the Escape, which is the same as the Mariner if I am not mistook.

  3. David G

    Finally! Someone feels the same about the “cube” that I do! I think the worst part about the “cube” is the commercials. They frighten me a little bit because chances are that the driver is quite busy texting away as they drive. According to Nissan, it is a “mobile device”. If this post extended past 6, my vote would be for the entire line-up of Scion.

    It’s good to read another blog from you Kirk!

    • Kirk Werner

      I have not seen the commercials, but if what you describe is the truth, then it just serves to further bolster the Cube as the Stupidest Fly Fishing Car. Ever. It may never be unseated.

  4. Lori Spears

    Kirk, I really need one of those stickers. I think it might help me. My stupid fly fishing car is sadly not on your list and I just don’t know why. I have a Jetta with a lift kit and a metal skid plate. I have these add ons because the chick mobile is forced to go where no car should ever be. I have left pieces of this car all over Alberta. I love duct tape and Volkswagen loves me and now they have all my money…
    I was thinking if I had one of those stickers someone might take pity on me and buy me an Audi Quatro with an all road package. Just a thought. Lori
    I do love your blog 🙂

    • Kirk Werner

      Lori, if you’re serious I need you to send me a photo of your mondo-Jetta. It sounds too good to be true! And thanks for the good word 😉

  5. mia sheppard

    Kirk, you crack me up!! Keep it up, I love reading the light hearted, fun stories you write. PS.. I might need a sticker for my wanta-be stupid sport truck. Cheers, Mia

    • Kirk Werner

      Mia, I’ve seen you cast. With your skills, you can drive whatever you want and I’ll not mutter a slanderous comment with regard to that. No sticker for you!

  6. Jason

    You’re going to force me to post a response- one that I was contemplating all day anyways, but now I’ll have to with a twist. Next weeks pipeline is fixed. I had a Chevy S-10 extended cab that was perfect for the solo angler- enough room in the cab for gear, and small and light wt and 4wd to get you in and out of the worst. What did I do? Trade it in for a 3/4 ton ext cab long bed beast that is too big to get down access roads, has a bad turning radius, and is worse to drive on slick roads even in 4wd. I broke the tail-pipe off this monster my first fall backing up in the woods. Don’t bother sending a sticker- I have it up for sale. FR

    • Kirk Werner

      Been there, done that with the full size trucks. My biggest was an F350 Crew Cab 4×4 dually. Admittedly it was a tool for hauling a big, heavy camper, but occasionally it had to be driven into suburban settings. With the wide hips and turning radius of a semi tractor, well, let’s just say I appreciate driving around a much smaller truck these days.

  7. Harry

    Another nice post Kirk. Working in the auto repair field I have to pretty much agree with your findings although there are others that deserve consideration. As to what I drive, I am still nursing the 02 Envoy along. 4WD, decent gas mileage for a truck, handles the boat well and has been relatively cost effective to drive-so far.

    A number of my customers have been giving good reviews of the Subaru Outback and the Chevy Equinox AWD V6 and GMC Terrain platforms as a very versitile option for those that need a good everyday family driver as well as something they can use for weekend outdoor activities. Perhaps you should do a follow up post on the best vehicle ?

    • Kirk Werner

      Harry, I think you may be on to something with your suggestion to provide a list of the “Top 6 Not Stupidest Fly Fishing Cars”. The problem is that I have set a precedent with my current list by limiting vehicles to the last 2 model years, and in my opinion, the #1 Not Stupidest Fly Fishing Car is my 04 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4WD, aka the “Fish Taco”. Based on year of manufacture it would not be eligible.

      • Harry

        Hell, throw out the precedent! It’s your survey and your blog! Nobody is gonna take your blog away just because you make up the rules as you go along.

        • Kirk Werner

          You raise a good point, Harry. I am judge, jury and executioner here. All too often I forget that this is my property and I can do whatever I want on it. I need to develop more self confidence.

  8. Matt

    Thanks for leaving my rice burner off the list!

    • Kirk Werner

      Matt, as you know I have a vested interest in your rice burner. I would never criticize something that is a piece of me…

  9. Dave

    Let’s just say that I almost totally agree with you on this one. Except for the Magnum. They’re about as fun to drive and comfortable as they get, even if it’s a station wagon. But that is a story for another time.
    However, my current fish-mobile is a 2003 Ford Focs ZTS 4 dr sedan. I must say ‘Ol Bessie has gotten me in and out of places that few would dare to go. She has enough room that I only have to break my rods in half to get them in and out (even my spey rod). There’s even enough trunk room that I can keep most of my back ups broken in half as well. We’ve traveled many mile up and down the rivers chasing everything from 3″ wild brookies and bows to 16+ lb wild steelhead (yes, I got that one last Sunday)
    She may not be all that, she may not be able to pull a boat (which I don’t have anyway), she may not be 4WD, but she gets me pretty much wherever I want to go, and she handles curves pretty damn well.


    • Kirk Werner

      As I stated in my article, Dave, I did not base my assessment on any redeeming qualities other than my own knee-jerk reaction to the appearance of the cars. I’m sure the Magnum is fun to drive and comfortable. Probably a lot nicer than any car in my garage. Just sayin.

  10. chuck

    just a plain old Jeep Cherokee Sport is all I will ever need! It has served me well! It is modest and reliable.

    • Kirk Werner

      All hail the Jeep Cherokee. I had a 2000 Sport and it was a plain Jane, reliable, do anything rig. Wish now that I’d kept it. The old 4.0 liter was bulletproof and I still like the old school boxy exterior that never evolved since they first made the Cherokee.

  11. Bailey

    Glad to see the Pathfinder dodged the list.

    • Kirk Werner

      Nissan makes some good looking vehicles- the Pathfinder is one of them. But boy, they sure have some other models that make you roll your eyes!

  12. Joe Iannazzone

    My current car is a 2004 Jetta sedan, sporting a bike rack and kayak saddles on the roof. It’s not as nice for fishing trips as the 1994 S-10 Blazer it replaced but more fun around town. When this one goes to the graveyard I’ll be looking at a Subaru Outback or another small sport wagon.

    • Kirk Werner

      We’ve got an ’03 Jetta in our collection. It’s not my fishmobile, rather the escape pod driven by my kids because it costs a lot less to keep in fuel than our other two rigs. But I like driving it because it has that German Road Car feel to it. If it only had a little more ground clearance and 4wd I’d never let anyone else drive it but me…

  13. Fred Telleen

    Breaking News: Nissan mourns as three leading design engineers die in gruesome suicide. They were last seen quaffing copious quantities of Sapporo and muttering something about being unaccomplished engineers. Then they loaded into a Cube and while screaming curses, drove head on into an F350. The driver of the Ford was not injured but was disgusted by the “Cube” marks on his grill guard.

    • Kirk Werner

      Fred, thanks for bringing this to my attention- I missed that AP wires.

      Exceptional work, brother…

  14. The River Damsel

    Ok….so, I am sitting here laughing at these stupid looking Nissan’s and I am the proud owner of a Nissan…Murano. All I can say, is it’s a 2005 and has 125K miles on it and most of that is from fly fishing journeys…so, it can’t be all that bad. : )

    • Kirk Werner

      As you know, Ms. Damsel- the Murano did not make the list. And also as I noted in the article, I based my assessment on nothing intelligent such as reliability. So, may your Murano serve you well for many more miles and take you on countless more journeys. When you replace it just don’t buy one of those other cars on the list.

  15. Steve Gawler

    The best fishing car is one that gets you, your companion(s), and your stuff to where you want to wet a line and gets you back. Add a roof rack for your canoe, kayak, or float boat, and you’re golden. Mine is a ’97 GMC Jimmy 2wd with the moniker ‘Gumby’…

    • Kirk Werner

      Agreed, Steve. As long as it’s not from the list of the top six stupidest cars and gets the job done, it’s all good. Thanks for chiming in.
      Gumby is better than Pokey, any day.

  16. dave hylton

    In Idaho we like to sat that in Afghanistan a Hummer is a tool to be driven. In Idaho a Hummer is driven by a tool.

    • Kirk Werner

      I approve of this message.

  17. Evan F.

    I completely agree with Dave Hylton! Being an Idahoan myself have seen and know a couple of the tools he speaks of! I have to say and mostly because none of the other forums of info sites mention and that is the Nissan Xterra!! I have had an 05 Xterra for 7 years now and on top of all of the camping accessories they have for it if you need a rig that can tow, you can sleep in and can haul a crap load of gear, look no further! ( No I am not a Nissan salesperson!) I am just over 6′ tall and with the back seat folded down, which fold flat to match the cargo area height, I put a full sized air mattress in the back and had no problems stretching out!! The back cargo area and back of the second row seats are all covered in molded plastics for easy cleaning and no moldy carpet issues! 4.0 V6 265 hp and optional rear locker for those sticky areas! I absolutely love my Xterra!!

    But that is just my opinion!


  18. al

    I drive a 2002 subaru wrx. A lot of people say its ugly but its a great car.

    • Kirk Werner

      Aside from Subarus being chick cars, I’ll not criticize you for driving a WRX. Those motors kick ass. Great website, BTW.

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