Brian Styskal

I was exposed to flyfishing at the early age of five, my family owned a ranch in Ellensburg Washington within a short walk of the Yakima river. My grandfather was a very keen trout fisherman and would always take me with him, most of those trips were done off of horse back, that is fishing off of horse back! When I look back on it now it was his way of containing a five year old, the plan worked. I caught my first trout while on horse back while casting an old cane rod with two hands because I wasn’t strong enough yet to hold it with one. Since that day fly fishing has always been a part of my life.

Thirty five plus years later trout are fun but steelhead are what I spend the majority of my fishing time chasing. And the funny thing is I am still using two hands when casting flies for them. Yep, the two handed rod revolution took off back in 1990 for me and I guess you could say I never looked back. I was obsessed from the moment I cast one and still am to this day. I teach others to cast the two handed rod, its something I enjoy doing and always will. It has given me unique opportunities to guide in Alaska and host trips into the remote rivers of BC where you wont see another human foot print. in 2003, I joined on with C.F Burkheimer rods as a member of the pro-staff, I might have been the first official member? All I know is I am extremely proud to be a part of Burkheimer rods and working with Kerry Burkheimer and the staff on rod design. I also work with Nextcast Fly Lines, an innovative line company specializing in spey.

My affiliation with Hatch Reels started in 2007 at the Golden Gate casting ponds, it was SPEYORAMA time and I met my new friend Bruce Barry, a Hatch Reels rep. I loved the reels, and the rest you could say is history. My 7 plus and 9 plus have taken quite a beating through the years, from tarpon in the Keys, bonefish in Belize, to king salmon on the Kenectok in Alaska as well as rainbows. And when I’m not fishing them they are client reels; they have been dropped on rocks, dropped out of the boat, stepped on, not rinsed after use in saltwater for weeks and still they function perfectly. These reels are pretty much bullet proof as far as I am concerned.

My new favorite is the Hatch eleven. I enjoy casting and fishing long rods in the 15 to 18ft range on big rivers such as the Clearwater in Idaho or the Thompson in British Columbia. The ‘Eleven” balances those rods perfectly and is my go to reel. I am proud to be part of the Hatch pro-staff, I like the man who runs the company and I like the fact they are made right here in the USA. As far as a fishing reel goes I couldn’t ask for more.