Author: Will Rice
This Week's Gear Head: Tucker Ladd
Born and raised: Denver, CO
Q: Tell us about your first day running a fly shop back in 2005?
A: I had worked in a fly shop for a few years prior, so I had a good idea as to what I was getting myself into. I had been in the process of buying the business for about a month straight, so my mind had been so focused on getting the deal closed that I was totally unprepared the first day. With no cash in the drawer, and a credit card machine that worked about half the time, it was a rough day to say the least. I think I did about $100 in sales that day, so it had me a bit concerned.
Q: Running a fly shop seems like quite a dream job, but how often do you actually get to go fishing?
A: When I got into this business I told myself that my work would by no means affect my fishing. That lasted for about a week. I get this question a lot, and my simplest answer is that while the quantity of fishing has gone down, the quality of my outings has improved dramatically. Last June I made a trip down to Bolivia for Golden Dorado, I’ve got a trip to BC planned for this October, I’ll be heading to Ascension Bay with my wife for a week this winter followed by a week in the Keys to hunt permit in the spring. I also get out to chase trout around the High Country whenever I get a chance. Trust me, I’m not complaining.
Q: You take all the guys from the Trout’s on a pretty bad ass excursion every year. Any high lights from Louisiana and the red fishing this past go-round?
A: Having Cody our resident trout expert land the biggest redfish of the trip (26+ lbs) was pretty sweet. I’ve always been a firm believer that we can’t sell it unless we’ve done it, and I want to make sure my staff is as experienced as possible. We’ve gone for winter redfish the last two years, so I’m hoping to change things up a bit this year and head somewhere else. Right now I’m leaning toward the OP for winter run steelhead.
Q: You are known around the shop as always fishing different types of rods and models and new gear. Do you just like trying out different new stuff or is this a business strategy? What happens when you demo a piece of gear and you just don’t like it?
A: As the Owner of Trout's, I feel it is important to not align myself with any particular brand. I want to make sure I am as impartial as possible, in addition to trying everything we sell in the shop. Last season I fished a number of Winston rods, and the summer before that is was a collections of Scott's. Right now I'm in the process of testing out the new Sage ONE and Circa to see how their new rod building method (Konnetic Technology) enhances the performance of these rods. When I'm done with a rod or reel, I'll usually pass it along to my shop staff to try so they can speak knowledgeably about the products they are selling. If I come across a product that I don't like, I will always get the rest of the staff thoughts on it before making any final assumptions about it. If we all agree that something is a lemon, we'll stop carrying it. But seeing that there is so much personal preference in fly fishing gear, this rarely happens.
Q: Closing question - can you tell us about the last fish that just thoroughly kicked your ass?
A: It was during my first trip to Ascension Bay. On day two I had a permit eat my fly, but of course I used a trout set as soon as I saw the fly disappear in the fish’s mouth. While fairly upsetting at the time, the situation got worse by the end of the day when I had landed both a bonefish and a tarpon. Having a grand slam slip through my fingers is something I will never forget.
Photo: Mark Lance
And there you have it... another installment of Gear Head.