We here at GiantMouse are always looking to explore the different relationships people have with their blades. For the first installment of our new Knifestyles series, we asked fly-fishing trailblazer April Vokey to shed some light on the role knives play in her life.
Meet April Vokey: Professional fly fisher, outdoor adventurist, and all-around globe-trotting badass. As an authority in the sport, her list of accomplishments is longer than a prize gamefish. April has been featured on the Outdoor Network, Discovery Channel, World Fishing Network, and countless other media outlets, while her writing has graced the pages of industry leading publications such as Fly Fisherman, Fly Rod & Reel, and Fly Fusion magazines.
In January, she heads out on an absolutely wild 10-day excursion deep into the rainforests of Guyana—the only female on the trip. Her group plans to sleep in hammocks as they fish jungle rivers in search of massive (up to 10-feet long!) Arapaima and other exotic species. April and crew will not have any food apart from what they catch or kill.
Needless to say, she puts her gear through some serious wear and tear. We had the chance to ask April a few questions about her tools of the trade, specifically what it takes to join her knife collection.
What originally got you into knives?
I grew up around filet knives, so I think I always associated “working knives” with long, fixed blades. I was in my late teens when I decided to invest in my very own quality piece—one that was suitable for fishing and hunting in British Columbia’s rugged forest. To be honest, I probably went a little overboard, purchasing a Buck hunting knife with a flashy black and silver handle.
At the time, I was not a hunter, but I was deeply engrossed in fishing and had just started processing my own pelts for fly tying. I mostly scavenged roadkill and carrion found while walking through the bush, so I needed a blade that I could keep clean and sharp for fishing leader, boat ropes, and lunch. Today I’m a little more hygienic and keep a knife specially for riverside lunches.
How do knives fit into your life?
Oh dear, how do they not? I use knives every day, whether I’m picnicking with the family or on a hardcore fishing trip in the jungle. I’m hard on my knives and expect a lot from them. From opening boxes to cutting kindling, making sashimi to field dressing deer… it’s the one tool I need to have in multiple locations or I feel completely lost.
You can find a designated knife in each of my most frequented work stations (truck included). When I’m home at camp in Canada, I just affix it to my hip to avoid the frustration of being empty-handed.
What's your go-to everyday carry gear?
I adore my Ace Nibbler, which fits perfectly in my pockets while hunting, fishing, rafting, etc. It’s also rare to find me without a pair of binoculars for spotting animals (and people in my fishing spots), shed antlers, and specific mushrooms and plants while foraging. I carry a GoalZero flashlight that acts as a spare charger and lantern if I need it.
What is your favorite GiantMouse knife and why?
I still enjoy a large, beefy knife that can be put through some tedious tasks. Because of that, I take my GMF4 with me as an all-round camp knife. As for the more intricate parts of my day, the Ace Clyde is what I use to gut fish and birds, slice cheese, prep dinner, etc.
How did I hear about GiantMouse? Through the GiantMouse Marketing Manager, who I believe has a fly-fishing relative. I’m so bloody thankful she reached out. I’m only upset that I didn’t hear about GiantMouse sooner!
Why is it so important to get outdoors?
In my opinion, our relationship with the outdoors is the oldest of bonds, so it’s no surprise to me that it heals those who feel lost or drained by all of the wonderful (yet exhausting) aspects of the more modern world. Being outside, even for a simple walk, can be grounding, humbling, and reflective.
I choose to take my relationship with the natural world one step further, getting my hands dirty to nourish my body and mind with its sustenance. My mental and physical health are a direct reflection of how much I rely on nature, so it’s impossible to take it for granted, knowing that one day I’ll be part of the same organic matter and cycle that has taken such good care of me.
What’s your life motto?
“Life is too short to be small.” Not my quote, but one I repeat to myself and family daily.
While I’m not one to offer unsolicited advice, I’ll happily share what I tell myself when I need to push through hard times. Again, it comes back to what I’ve learned with nature as my teacher. Whether it’s climbing a mountain, rafting a river, or working a run, I’ve learned that each step, stroke, and breath gets me one step closer to my goal. So when any journey feels physically, mentally, or emotionally impossible, I just put my head down, breathe slowly, and keep on trucking forward. Soon, there’s nothing but space between where I was and where I’m going.