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Val Atkinson

How you got started fly fishing? What were/are your strongest fly fishing Influences? What was your most memorable or first fly fishing experience?

When I was very young I would ride my bike to local hardware store where they sold fly fishing gear. Somehow I just knew I wanted to learn to fly fish. I can remember taking the caps off the silicone bottles and thinking this smells good. But I had no one to teach me, so I had to learn it on my own. I finally was able to purchase some basic gear but I couldn't figure out how to get the thick fly line throughout the eye of the fly. No one had told me about leaders. Eventually I figured it out and caught some bluegills and bass.

What do you like to fish now? Explain How?

I like to fish for big Rainbows on Fall River with small dry flies.

What is your fantasy trip? What do you see in the future?

My current fantasy trips are pursuing what I call the exotic "grand slam" which is Tigerfish in Africa, Golden Dorado in South America and Masheer in India.

Gear. What is your next purchase and why?

My next purchases would be flies and more flies. You can't have enough flies. And Leland's has a fantastic supply. Almost endless.

What’s your favorite San Francisco spot? Why?
My favorite spot in San Francisco is carp in Golden Gate Park (don't tell anyone-it's illegal). This was an adventure some friends and I once planned and successfully accomplished. Seth Norman wrote about it in an earlier issue of California Fly fisher.

What music do you listen to when you hop in the truck and go fly fishing?

I'm an old hippie so I like rock and roll…Hendrix, Clapton, the Doors, etc.

What’s your ultimate fly fishing travel rig? A lifted van? A Range Rover? An F-350? Why?

My Toyota 4-runner serves me well. I can sleep in it if I fish late.

Anything else we should know about you? School? Hometown? Other projects, interests, etc.?

I studied art and photography at Columbus College of Art & Design for 5 years and came west to find something special. I found that special place in Fall River Valley where I've been photographing the fishing, nature and the old barns for many years.