June 25, 2019

167: Barbless.co – Chad, Nick And I Talk A bout How Barbless Came To Life, Fly Fishing, Podcasting And Plenty More

Show Notes

Rick Saez
167: Barbless.co - Chad, Nick And I Talk A bout How Barbless Came To Life, Fly Fishing, Podcasting And Plenty More

If you’re into fly fishing or want to get into it, you’ll love this episode with Chad Alderson and Nick Hanna, the guys over at Barbless.co. We talk about the great content they’re creating thru their podcast and web resources.

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Show Notes:

First Exposure to the Outdoors:

Nick: I feel like I’ve been living and breathing the outdoors since I could walk. My Dad was just super into it. I have pretty good memory and I can remember just being out on little creeks and stuff. One incident I was fishing for trout on this stream and hooking into some fish, and he’s always been kind of letting me, on my own. Since I was a little kid, man, we’ve been fishing, hiking, camping, going to Eagle Lake and camping out and fishing for rainbows. Outdoors have definitely been a big part of my life and always will be.

I just had a son. He’s six months old and I got a backpack for carrying him. I’m just waiting for his head to stop bobbing when I carry him so I can get him out.

Chad: I lived in the middle of a rice field for a long time. And so kind of by default I’d walk out my back door and there’s nothing but rice patties. So the outdoors was used as a form of punishment for me. I got in trouble a lot as a kid, so I had to do a lot of manual labor.

After living in the Bay Area for about 10 years, I got back up here and I was like, “What the heck am I going to do?” because I didn’t really have any hobbies or anything. So I started getting into fly fishing because my dad took me when I was a little kid. We’d camp once in a while. That was my exposure to it at first. I didn’t have a ton. It definitely wasn’t part of my life. Up until three and a half years ago, I hadn’t touched a fly rod in 20 plus years.

Things We Talked About:



Seth Blackamore


Kleen Kanteen


IFTD Trade Show

Pleasanton Fly Show

Why you need a podcast

10 Step Podcast Cheat Sheet

Cast for Hope

Hooked on Fishing

Other Outdoor Activities:



Advice, Tips:

Find what you like, find a way to get in, and then just go. It’s got to come from a place of passion. You can’t just go, “Hey, I want to go make boat loads of money and I’ll just pick something random,” when sailing is my thing. It doesn’t work that way. The core of it is you got to be nuts about the thing. If it happens to be in the outdoors and happens to be something you think you can make money out of, then go for it. Once you check all that stuff off in your head, then you need to figure out how to differentiate yourself.

With someone that’s already in the industry, build your network and don’t screw anybody over. Trust is huge. The outdoor industry is a very intimate thing. Everybody knows everybody. It’s like the town I grew up in of 450 people. You screw up and everybody’s going to know within a week.

Favorite Books:

Future State Podcast

Stillwater Fly Fishing Secrets by Hal Janssen

Favorite Piece of Gear under $100:

Fly Fishing kit

Xtratuf Ankle boots

Maybelline makeup remover (floatant)

Connect with Chad and Nick:

Chad Instagram

Nick Instagram

Barbless.co – Chad, Nick And I Talk About How Barbless Came To Life, Fly Fishing, Podcasting And Plenty More

If you’re into fly fishing or want to start, you’ll love Episode 167 with Chad Alderson and Nick Hanna, the guys over at Barbless.co. We talk about the great content they’re creating through their podcast and web resources. First, if you’re thinking about starting your own podcast for your brand or passion project, I’ve created a free cheat sheet outlining ten fundamental steps to create and launch your podcast. It has everything you need to know about planning, creating and launching. Head over to RickSaez.com and download this free resource.

Chad Alderson and Nick Hanna, the guys over at Barbless.co, have a great podcast to add to your list and are developing fantastic resources for new and veteran fly fishers alike. The Rigs section of their website is an encyclopedia. We also talked about their new app coming soon, which should be chock-full of flying and goodness. Enjoy.

Guys, welcome to the show.

Thanks for having us.

It’s great to catch up with fellow podcasters. I always like talking to fellow podcasters. It’s a blast.

We need to do more of it.

I was talking to one of the guys I follow in the podcast world. He has done some advising for me. He says, “You need to get on ten more podcasts.” That’s my goal.

Im new to the podcast game, aside from hosting this or being on the show. When I started listening to all these other podcasts, it was amazing what content is out there.

Between YouTube and a podcast platform, you can learn anything. School is obsolete unless you’re doing heart surgery.

How did you guys get into the outdoors? What was your first exposure to the outdoor life or maybe fly fishing specifically?

I feel like I’ve been living and breathing the outdoors since I could walk. My dad was super into it. From a little tyke, I have a pretty good memory. I can remember being out on little creeks and, for one instance, fishing trout on the stream and hooking into some fish. He has always been letting me on my own. Since I was a little kid, we’ve been fishing, hiking, hunting, going to Eagle Lake, camping out and catching Eagle Lake rainbows. The outdoors has been a big part of my life and always will be. I had a son. I got a backpack. I’m waiting for his head to stop bottling when I carry him. I’m going to throw him right in that thing.

For me, my exposure to the outdoors is I lived in the middle of a rice field for a long time. By default, I would walk out my back door and there was nothing but rice paddies. The outdoors was used as a form of punishment for me. I got in trouble a lot as a kid so I had to do a lot of manual labor. I had to mentally overcome the baggage that I had associated with the outdoors.

I went to school and then went down into the city. I lived in the Bay Area for ten years, Sacramento for five years, Los Angeles for ten years and then moved back up to Chico, California. That’s where I’m from originally. I was playing video games. I podcast and I’m great at Battlefield. Those are two things that girls love. They’re attracted to that.

I got back up here and I was like, “What am I going to do?” I didn’t have any hobbies or anything. I started getting into fly fishing because my dad took me when I was a little kid in a camp once in a while. That was my exposure to it at first but I didn’t have a ton. It wasn’t a part of my life up until a few years ago. I hadn’t touched a fly rod for many years. Nick and I happened to meet at a party and had some common interests. The friendship sprouted from there. We started going fishing together and then one thing led to another. We’re in a business.

When Chad gets into something, he is all in at first.

You guys have been podcasting for how long?

We’re in our third season. We published our 86th episode.

You remember the fish you lose, not the fish you landed.

Do you do it once or twice a week?

It’s consistently once a week.

Do you guys remember your first fish on the fly?

Yes, I do. I remember a buddy of mine took me up to the high mountain spring creek. We were catching little tiny brookies and rainbows but before I could even get the fly out, he was running me through all the stuff. He is like, “See you later.” He takes off hiking down the creek. I’m like, “What am I supposed to do?” I jump trying to get this fly out. I’m like, “This is working. I’m getting it out there.” I started getting a good catch going. All of a sudden, it got stuck behind me. I turned around and got the guy’s dog by the side. The dog didn’t even yelp or anything. It’s just sitting there.

Your first fish on the fly was a dog?

Technically, yes.

What kind of dog was it?

It was a mutt. I was stealing my dad’s fly rod out of the garage for a long time. I was brought up to conventional fishing but I was always trying to grab that thing, go out and find some new water, not go to PE class, do something fun and different.

I have a legendary shit memory so I don’t remember my first fly. I don’t even know at eight, to be honest. A memorable fish would probably be one of my cloud when I started throwing streamers in 2020. One about as big as my forearm came up out of the depths out of nowhere. It was a brownie. It didn’t commit but I looked at it and that was enough. That’s the thing about fly fishing. There are these little moments in time that get frozen and then imprinted in your brain, technically.

We talked about this a lot. You remember the fish you lose. You don’t remember the tenth fish you landed but you remember the one that got away. It’s funny that way.

How about your most recent fish? Have you guys been out?

I took my kid out for the first time. It was his first experience in a boat and we went out. The rivers had been swollen with all the water that California has been getting. We finally got a chance and all our crazy stuff going on in life to get out there. We went fly fishing. It was slow because the river was muddy because the river did just come up. We ended up with a couple and enough to land into one. He got it in his face. He had this big frown going, not knowing what was happening. That was my last time-out. You went to Alaska.

You forgot about Alaska. How did you forget about Alaska?

Nick always reminds me of little life events that I forget. I went to Prince of Wales, Alaska, which is a small island Northwest of Ketchikan. It’s a twenty-minute puddle jumper. It’s a rainforest and it hadn’t rained three weeks before I got there. I forget how many rivers are in there but they’re fairly short. I think the longest one is 7 miles long. The Thorne, I believe they call it. It’s a cool river name. There was no water. Everything was stand still almost. There was current but it wasn’t enough to make a fish out of a bad decision. We had plenty of time to look at it.

We touched some fish. We got some steelhead. One was 26. The other one was almost 30. They were all downers, which means they’re pretty much spawned out already and they had been in the system for a while. I’m not a huge fan of pounding on downers all day. I spent a lot of time with the guide that I had. We saw the countryside to be honest and drove around. As soon as we figured out what the game was going to be, I lost interest in hammering downers for seven days straight and I wanted to explore. We saw a lot of the countryside and a ton of deer. There are so many deer up there. It’s insane. I saw a lot of different watersheds in there.

Was it your first time in Alaska?

No, I had been a couple of other times. I love it up there. It’s amazing. It’s like if you’ve seen Avatar. Cameron must have been to Alaska at least once because it visually smells like Alaska, the Avatar.

Rick, when was the last time you went fishing?

Fly Fishing: If you see the world through the lens of software as a solution, you have to apply that to solve the problems of what you love, like fly fishing.


I probably have not been fishing since 2020. It’s seasonal around here. There are a couple of places you would go in the wintertime. We had the winter from God or hell. I’m not sure how you want to put it but we had a hellacious winter here. I would be hard at it working. I’m going to go when it’s starting to loosen up. The water is high in a few places but there are places to go. I’m going to hit the Upper Owens or maybe the Hot Creek and see what’s going on there. We got unlimited places to fish. You just got to watch the water levels.

That’s true about California. It’s a couple of lifetimes of learning the systems and trying to cover it all. I even do it in a couple of lifetimes but it’s unique. Even though it’s seasonal, there are 365 days of fishing. You can’t say that about anywhere.

You include the ocean and it’s unbelievable. It’s surf fishing. Do you guys know Seth Blackamore? He is from around here. He is a big fly fisherman. You can follow him on Instagram.

I follow him.

He is a relentless and amazing guy. He fishes all the time.

There’s this dude up here. He is not a fly fisherman. He is a kid. He is probably eighteen. His handle is @PowerTrip. If you look at his Instagram, you’ll see it yourself. It’s 30-plus inches Cromer’s off the coast. He knows which way to go.

Wherever he goes, theres big fish. Even around here, if you look at his trout, its like, “Where are you getting those fish?”

He puts up some serious hours out on the water. He may take his birthday off.

How did you guys get inspired to start Barbless.co? You stumbled on each other at a party and decided, “Let’s do a podcast?”

It’s Chad’s little brainchild. He was all about it. I was like, “Podcast, what?” He is quick to answer this better. I’ve heard three answers at the end of it.

It evolves. It depends on who I’m talking to.

I’m sure that he has started a podcast so we can learn all the secret fishing spots in our area. We’ve been good about keeping that. Fishermen are, by nature, cagey. We’ve been careful about that and that has been helpful for us. Why did you start Barbless, Chad?

I would argue that I didn’t start Barbless. I would say that we started Barbless, first of all. When we met at the party, we started talking. I’m a software geek by nature. My tradecraft is product management and then interaction design. It’s a fancy word. I always like to use home-building analogies. If you had a home built, you need an architect. If you need somebody to build the home, you need a general contractor. I do that for software.

What kind of software?

It depends. It’s all work for hire. We build contact management platforms and a lot of different things. It’s all custom software apps. We can do websites but I typically don’t like to do websites because they’re not that challenging. I like original software problems to solve. When I got into the flyfishing thing, I saw the world through the lens of software and software as a solution to some problems that I see.

I applied that to the fishing industry in general and fly fishing because that’s what I was into at that point in time and still am. I saw some opportunities and started to think about them. He was on board and knew shitloads more than I do about the space. He is our expert user on the system. He rolls up as a product manager as well to make sure I stay in the rails in terms of my thinking when we talk about it strategically, where it’s heading and all that.

With the podcast, I threw him the idea because I knew that there was going to be a long roadmap to build this out. The platform itself is fairly complex in terms of what we’re trying to accomplish with it. I wanted to build a marketing base from day one and a podcast was the way to make that happen for the brand. It’s about establishing domain authority in the space that you’re trying to penetrate and trust in the brand.

You don’t get trust overnight. Trust is earned. We did the podcast to earn people’s trust and also establish credibility. It’s also to educate our listeners and ourselves. I’ve learned a ton of stuff from the people that we’ve had on the show. The type of guests that we have are fisheries biologists, fisheries management people, people in water law, other entrepreneurs and guides. It’s the whole gamut.

Fishermen, by nature, are very cagey.

That’s what separates us from a lot of the different fishing podcasts in general. We don’t just talk about fly fishing. We’ve had sushi chefs on. We talked to one of the co-owners of Klean Kanteen. That was about, “How did you build this brand? What did you guys do? How did you scale it?” We got into the production and operations management of the business, which I don’t think you’re going to find on a lot of fishing podcasts.

I love the biology part of it too. We have to educate everybody in the outdoors about that.

The reason we did that is that there’s a lot of, Nick likes to call them, armchair biologists that question all the policy decisions. I’m not saying every policy decision that’s out there live is a good thing but we wanted to build some empathy with the fishing community in terms of actual humans making these decisions. It’s coming from a good place to give them an idea of what their operational parameters or constraints are. That’s why we have those types of people on.

What are some of the other things you’re planning to do on the platform?

We’ve learned a ton. I got done telling somebody that I’ve been doing this my whole life. I’ve learned almost more in years than I have my entire life of surrounding myself with professionals. That’s cool to be able to say and do that. By far, to sum up what we’ve learned in all these episodes and knowledge, more than ever is that we have farmers, anglers, biologists, landowners and politicians. All these people are starting to work together.

There are still massive hurdles for us to take on. We’re working together to make a difference and make things better for not only people first but the fish. We’ve jacked up our state going back into the 1800s by creating canals and doing all these things. We can’t reverse but we can learn from it and do better things. It’s happening more than ever. It’s a long road.

Its one of those things. Its always something that pops up. There are some guys over here that are trying to do some hydroelectric power things in there. They want to start with storing water in the wilderness and it’s like, “Come on, hold them on it. We’ve already gone through this battle. Here’s how this works.” There’s always going to be something but it’s great that you guys are involving everybody. That’s the starting point. Everybody is going to have a voice.

We’re trying to host a platform that people can come in on, have respectable debates, let their listeners decide and give them an idea of how to form their opinion based on actual facts.

You’ve been to a couple of regional shows. Have you been to the National Trade Show also?

We did the one in Pleasanton Fly Fishing Show. We were there for 2 or 3 days. We interviewed a lot of people. They weren’t short interviews. It was 20 to 45-minute interviews. It was like speed dating. I’ve never speed-dated but it was exhausting. We were supposed to do the third day. We were so tired and Nick had to be home. I was happy because we were driving home and we could barely talk. I was like, “I’m tired.”

I miss my lady and kid.

What about the IFTD, the one that’s coming up in October 2021? Have you been to that one before or not?

No, we haven’t. We got invited to host a discussion and then also podcast it live off their convention floor somewhere. We’re still working out the details. It’s going to be like a podcasting 101 thing. If you’re reading and you have an outdoor brand, which I’m assuming you do, we are going to be giving people a tool kit that they can use to start a podcast from scratch and manage the entire thing soup to nuts, also the content strategy and the ethicacy for doing so, how to get guests, interview those guests and book them. It’s everything you need to do in order to run a tight ship.

I launched a cheat sheet on that, which I have sent everybody to the website to download the cheat sheet. Its the same thing. You guys probably agree with this. With some of these brands, retailers and businesses in both spaces, outdoor and fly fishing, podcasts are such a unique way to engage with your customer. It’s a big miss if you’re not doing it.

When you’re typically doing a media interview, you’re at their mercy in terms of how they want to spin it editorially. You’re getting snippets of quotes or audio sound bites with this particular medium. The great thing about it is there are no established rules on how long it is. Therefore, you don’t have any time constraints, which obviates the need for editing.

People don’t always have time to read your 1,600-word blog post but they can listen to your podcast and always watch a video.

You haven’t seen me in person but nobody wants to see me on video. It’s a great and amazing medium. Ironically, it’s the first medium that started in communications in the country. Other than the Morse code, it was like, “Radio was it,” so everybody got their info. It works so well and people are drawn to it because, evolutionarily, we’ve been around campfires telling stories and taking down knowledge for eons.

I was reading something. It was produced by Spotify that was talking about the intimacy of audio. Podcasts are one of the more intimate forms of audio because you feel like you engage with whoever is telling the story, whatever they’re telling the story about. If you’re interested, the reason you got there in the first place is that you wanted to listen to the story.

Fly Fishing: You have to build a marketing base from day one. A podcast is one of the ways to do that. It’s about establishing domain authority in the space that you’re trying to penetrate.


Storytelling is part of our shared culture and humanity.

It makes me think about my lady. When she was getting ready for work, all she was doing was listening to pregnancy podcasts and learning about what was about to happen in giving birth to a child. I’ve never seen her so engaged in something but it was a big deal for her.

The other cool thing about it, if you’re a brand reading and thinking about doing this, another reason podcast as a medium is doing so well is because you’ve got a lot of people that are being able to reclaim time that they would normally consider some time. My example would be a commute. If you got an hour commute, you could listen to 10 or15 songs. It’s a nice passive way to enjoy it but you don’t get much value out of it.

Your brain goes on autopilot when you’re listening.

If that same commute you’re doing every day is one hour in the East direction, I don’t know what the math is on that. Let’s call it ten hours. That’s ten hours of time that you can learn. If you’re in their loop in terms of what they consider part of their curriculum for that month, week or whatever it is, it’s a good spot to be. You’ve got a captive audience and the most susceptible time for them to be given new ideas in terms of product or whatever it is you’re trying to sell.

Everybody is into something. There are so many podcasts out there. There is a podcast on everything. If you’re into something, you’re going to tune into that podcast to learn more and then you start to engage with that community. It’s huge.

That’s another reason advertising on this medium does so well too. It’s very segmented.

What has been your most fun episode? Was it the Pleasanton who sound like they beat you up? Theres got to be a part of it that was fun.

It was totally fun. What was your most favorite or fun?

I’ve had a couple. I liked the interview with Dec Hogan when he was going on. Mike Mercer was my favorite. I vitalize over him. He has traveled. He has got his fly tying. He is such a nice guy. He originated from our hometown. We were lucky that he had his parents that still live here. I was like, “Mike, you got to come into the studio.” I want to have him back. A lot of people enjoyed it too as well. He talked about triggers. That’s one of the things I think about every time I sit down.

What’s a trigger, Nick? It’s a little technique we use in the profession.

A trigger is something that the trout sees as it’s coming down the river. It triggers a strike for it to eat. He applies that to his fly time. We pick up doing these podcasts. There were a lot of memorable ones. We had a lot of great guests on our show.

What was the most challenging? These other podcasts are tough.

Define challenging.

Something that has been technically challenging or some, where you get a guest that you got to pull in front of them.

For me, personally, it’s the ones where we have someone in that’s coming from the state or federal agencies that we have to prep for. We do this because it’s a disarming tactic. This gets back down to guests and how to manage guests. This is something we would cover on the one-on-one stuff in Denver. We provide the questions upfront to these federal and state people because they’re coming in in a highly professional manner.

These people are doctors, professors and published PhD people. They don’t want to look like idiots when they come on the show. Those types of guests are challenging in terms of the prep time it takes to get ready for them. We need to keep the flow going with these guests. This isn’t our profession so we have to appear on audio smarter than we are.

I’m a big fan of doing it from the hip. I like that style and the way some of them come out. Chad is so good at putting these questions together and organizing them to a place where we have an intro, body and outro. We can keep it smooth too. Between the two of us podcasting, that helps a lot. We were able to keep that momentum going in the podcast.

You don’t get trust overnight; it’s earned.

I like to send the guests the questions ahead of time too but that doesn’t preclude me from having a couple of questions written down. Depending on how the conversation goes, you can always balance some stuff.

Even though we have a script, we don’t stick to the script per se. It’s more of a guidepost for the interview. It’s mostly a disarming tactic. We’re smart enough. We’ve done enough of these interviews to know what potentially a hot button or a non-starter conversation thread we would get in. We avoid those.

Have you guys had any mentors that have helped you along the way, either podcasting or fishing?

We didn’t think about audio engineering when we started. It was literally nothing. We got on YouTube in our original skit.

Did you take a course of some sort? Did you learn it all on YouTube?

We learned it on YouTube. We’re self-taught. We’ve stumbled along the way but one thing from day one, what we wanted to do was to make sure the audio quality was the best it could possibly be. That’s so important. You got to get the technical stuff nailed. When you do, the hard stuff starts. You have to have good audio.

Everything starts with good content. Once you have good content and you push it out there, someone is going to pick it up and that’s how it grows. Tell us about some nonprofits that you guys work with. I saw a couple on your website.

I wish I did more of that. What do you mean by nonprofits? Donating our time to outside organizations?

It’s giving back like Cast Hope.

Cast Hope is a great organization that we bring up a lot. We’ve interviewed a lot of those guys and they do a fantastic job. We don’t work with them directly. We promote it big time because this industry is going to die if we don’t get kids into the sport. They’re picking up tablets and iPhones. It’s important to get kids back outside.

We need little conservationists too because they grew up in a big conservationist.

I had a good buddy of mine who is into the fly fishing space. He has a group that he works with in the Bay Area. They use the Oakland casting ponds and the San Francisco casting ponds. He said he had 30 5th or 6th graders out there.

It’s funny you bring that up. I was on the radio twice. I was in our local Action News. It was all to promote Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs, which is a nonprofit that some guys started here many years ago. It’s going strong. It’s one of the largest kids’ fish out in the nation. We plant 8,000 pounds of catfish with the help of all these business owners throughout town. They donate up to $25,000 every year for us to be able to buy these catfish. We have a cleaning station provided that day.

A lot of single moms, grandparents, parents and families come out and get a chance. It’s almost a guaranteed catch. It’s what I call catching, not fishing. We even have a Huck Finn Pond that’s set up for the 1 to 5-year-olds. They walk open, grab a rod and there’s a fish in the lineup. It’s a weird thing going from fly fishing to this to that. There are multiple generations that keep coming back. They’re excited about it.

Once they get fished, you never know where they’re going to go. I started that with bait fishermen before I got into fly fishing.

The biggest fish gets to take home a pound of wheat. It works out pretty well. Most of what we said has been true.

What other outdoor activities do you guys participate in? Do you hike or backpack?

I don’t. I wish I had more time to do that stuff. I love golf. I just don’t have enough time for it.

Fly Fishing: Differentiate yourself from the competition. If you’re running a fishing podcast, don’t just talk about fishing. You can talk about sushi or business planning.


You have a son so you’ll be out there all the time doing that stuff.

I love to hunt. I love duck hunting big game, one game or whatever it is.

I go fishing a lot. I haven’t been lately because the weather has been so screwed. I put 100 days on the water in 2020 without a guide.

Chad and I have a unique ability to get away from our daily jobs. That’s what’s made us successful too as well. I’ve been in the financial planning industry and Chad runs his own business. We have the ability and free time to escape, build content and go do these things. It’s a great balance in life. To take in the outdoors, still make a living and provide for your family is the only way to live life.

I’m with you. That’s the way I’ve done it all my life. I wouldn’t change it. It has been great. Do you guys have any suggestions or advice for people either wanting to get into the outdoor biz, grow their career if they’re already in or get into fishing?

Find what you like, find a way to get in and go for it.

With these types of companies, it has got to come from a place of passion. You can’t just go, “I want to go make shitloads of money. Wind-sailing is my thing.” It doesn’t work that way. The core of it is you got to be nuts about the thing. If it happens to be in the outdoors and something that you think you can make money out of then go for it. Let’s say that you can check all that stuff off in your head then you need to figure out how to differentiate yourself. That’s the key.

With someone that’s already in the industry, it’s like building your network. Don’t fuck anybody over. Trust is huge in the outdoor industry. When you start to look at it in segments, it’s a very intimate thing. Everybody knows everybody. It’s like the town I grew up in with 450 people. If you screw up, everybody is going to know within a week.

Do you guys have any daily routines you use to keep your sanity? Do you meditate, exercise or fish?

For me, a part of fly fishing is about mindfulness and meditation. I say it’s meditation without meditating.

Who is that guy that you were talking to in the Pleasanton Show? You guys were talking and getting into the mindfulness part of fishing and all that. I listened to that. That was a great episode.

We’ve interviewed a lot of different people there.

Was it George Revel with Lost Coast?

I don’t think so.

Was it a guy? We talked to some gals too.

It was a guy.

It’s funny. I never thought of it that way. When Chad brings up his form of meditation in fishing, it’s mine as well. I don’t think about it. Even my lady is like, “You need to get out of here. You need to go to the coast. I can see it in your eyes. It’s driving you crazy and you need to get out.” I want to get into doing more stuff like running and working out. The body fuels the mind. That’s super important.

Do you have any favorite books? Do you guys give books as gifts?

To take in the outdoors and still make a living and provide for your family is the only way to live life.

I grew up on a rice farm so we had three channels.

You must have read a lot.

I read a ton. It depends on what genre we’re talking about. I’m into science fiction. I like classics. Because of where we’re at as a society with technology, what’s happening on biotech and all the other techs that are out there in AI and everything, I feel that reading near-future sci-fi is the best canary in the coal mine thing. Things are moving so quickly. It’s very hard to connect the dots in real terms. Sci-fi is a good thing to look forward to. If you’re going to do sci-fi, that’s 5, 10, 20 or 50 years out. There’s a lot of stuff happening that sci-fi is predicting.

There are podcasts around that stuff. There’s one called Future State. That’s awesome. It talks about the intersection of national security, technology and there was one other thing. It’s a great one. Go check it out. It’s cool. eBook in particular, if it’s fly fishing, I like Hal Janssen’s Stillwater Fly-Fishing Secrets book. It’s awesome. The guy is a G. He lives up in Chico. He’s a super-smart dude. Do we give them away as gifts? No but we could. Contests or something like that is a good idea.

Sometimes I run into people and we get to talk about some subjects. I’m a huge reader. I’m like, “Did you check out this book?” I’ll send it to them.

How about you, Rick?

I’ve read so many books. I feel like, for me, it’s always the last book I’ve read. I’m reading some books. Kristin Hostetter gave it to me. It’s Shantaram. It’s about India. This guy was a fugitive on the run from Australia and all his shenanigans in India. It’s a great book, a pass the time, lose your mind book. There are many good ones. Start with Why by Simon Sinek is a great one. I could go on and on.

Are you a Kindle or a paper guy?

They were both Kindle, paper and Audible. I listen to books as well, podcasts and books.

I like Kindle. It’s clean. It doesn’t take up room.

Im old-school. I like the feel of a book in my hand sometimes. I use Kindle on planes. I use it all. How about a favorite outdoor gear purchase under $100?

Nick asked me that one. What did I say, Nick?

It’s a pair of nippers.

It’s not even a pair of nippers but I’m talking like CVS.

If you can think of it, Chad’s got it.

I’ve tried everything.

He is one of those. This is still one of the greatest gifts you can give somebody is a fly fishing kit that has the reel, line, rod and everything. You can get them for under $100. The ones I like are around $125 or $175. The only thing you need to upgrade in those things is the reel. The rods are great. Even the reel is good. They’re $100 to get a decent fly line. Even myself, when I go buy a new fly line and put it on the rod that I’ve been using for twenty years, it’s like a whole new setup. A kit is one of the best things you can get.

What about XTRATUF, midsole, mid-height and mid-ankle boots? Those things are awesome. They’re the best.

Who makes those?

Fly Fishing: The great thing about podcasts is that there are no established rules on how long they should be. Also, you’re not at the mercy of how they want to spin your interview editorially.


They call them the Kenai sneakers originally. If you look at Alaska and all the dock boats, the guys were wearing those brown rubber boots that’s folded down. That was the original XTRATUF boot. They came out with a half-cut version of that that you can slip on and off like slippers but they’re fully waterproof.

They’re super comfortable. It’s like wearing Chuck Taylor’s that are fully enclosed in rubber.

They’ve come out with some cool designs. They have some boat shoes and water shoes.

Their deck shoes are a killer with a little pair of cords. They instant drain and dry. Do you want to talk about floating quickly?

Yes. Whats your favorite floating?

Nick and I were on this trip to the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. It’s a 100-mile float. It took five days to do in wooden drift boats in Class 3 water. It was awesome. The guides there were greasing on flies with Maybelline. It’s a makeup remover. A tube of that is $10. You could probably fit 100 little dry fly shakers and stuff inside of it. No joke, it’s more like a three-generation lifetime supply of floating.

Our next Instagram Story is going to be a poll. We’re going to use your Maybelline versus some other brand to see how long that thing floats in the water.

I’m going to look for that stuff and try that out.

I’ve been plugging that stuff based on a very small sample size of one myself.

It sounds like that’s all you need, one.

You can use ChapStick or anything you want. It’s cool and a good hack.

Anything else you want to say or ask of our readers as we wrap up here?

Try to get out and fly-fish as much as you can, even if you’re not good at it. Go to a local shop, learn as much as you can and get your kids out.

If you see trash, you’ve got your net on your ass. Why don’t you throw some trash in the back of that net on your way out?

How can people find you? What’s the best way to reach out to you guys? Email or website?

We’re online at Barbless.co. That’s the main website. On that website, there are a few different things. You can sign up for an email list that will put you on a beta invite list for a few different apps we’re working on. I’ll give you a quick overview of those. One is for flows. If you’re in the CFS, even if you white-water, this is something you would probably be interested in. You can follow different rivers and streams like you would follow a friend. You can get CFS, projections and also push notifications. They give you the information in terms of if the water got into a certain range that you want to pin. Rather than having to go to the Sea-Tac website and refresh, you get a push notification.

The other one we’re working on that isn’t live yet but is pretty promising is we’re trying to do automated fish ID for anglers. You upload a photo to the cloud. We’re going to unpack it, tell you what species it is and start to quantify your fishing experience. That’s all we’re going to say about that one. There are a lot of other stuff coming on online. If you’re into tying your own leader formulas for fly fishing or you want to learn how, we have a whole section of the site on that at Rigs.Barbless.co. It says Rigs in the header. Click there. You can look at different leader formulas, much like you would look at Google Maps where you can scale in, scale out, pan, zoom the camera and all that stuff.

For people that don’t know a rig, it’s like your leader system. From the tip of your rod to the end of your lure or fly is your rig. It’s a leader that could involve swivels or different-sized tippets. There are lots of different applications. Chad has created an encyclopedia to hold, store and share.

Everything’s got to come from a place of passion. Don’t do something just to make money.

You can create your own and get tools. You can share them.

It has been modified and improved upon.

We’re making incremental changes.

It’s pretty cool. If you want some secretive stuff that guys have worked twenty years implementing and trying, it’s a good place to go.

We have a lot of guides that have graciously donated their IP for the endeavor to get it. The purpose is to onboard more and more anglers.

People could reach out to you on the website. There’s the contact page there.

On Instagram, it’s @Barbless.co. You can follow Nick @NorCalFlyGuy. You can follow me @ChadAlderson. We have a very small Facebook group. We purposely keep it small. It’s a lot of guides and then people that are fanatic about the brand. They’re our focus group, steering committee almost, for what we’re doing.

You guys are killing it. I look forward to meeting you at the show and maybe we’ll get to fish at some point. Come on down to the Eastside.

Rick, I appreciate you having us on as guests. If you guys are reading, you want to check us out, give us a shot, maybe one date and see how it goes.

Let’s do a couple of episodes so tune into the Barbless.co Podcast.

We’ll be talking to you soon too, Rick. I appreciate the opportunity to be on your show.

Same here. I appreciate it. We’ll do it again. Thanks.

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