Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
With Ryan Miller, Kieth Kaneko, and Adrian Psuty
If you do not own a two-handed rod, no problem, we will have multiple outfits available for you to use.
These techniques will also add another dimension to your single handed casting so feel free to bring along a single handed rod.
The class will feature local guide, travel agent and my good friend Keith Kaneko of Angling On The Fly and local guide and casting instructor Adrian Psuty of Anchor Point Fly Fishing. We will spill the beans about one of our passions and put all the pieces together about the spey game.
November 22: 10 anglers max, cost is $75 per person
Students will be taken on a first come, first serve basis and ability does not matter.
The class will start at 10am and end at 5pm.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
This one was born from the original intruders with an eggy twist.
This, like most other intruders I tie, is tied on a straightened 2/0 salmon hook. I rig a stinger hook using my tippet and a small piece of junction tubing with a non-slip loop. Rigging in this way has three major advantages over using just the long shank hook; the short shank of the stinger decreases the amount of leverage that the fish can apply, the stinger is free to move once a fish is hooked additionally decreasing the fish's leverage, and the hook can easily be replaced if it becomes dull or damaged.
I will be putting together some step by step picture instructions for tying and rigging intruder style flies (good motivation for getting a new tying area set up).
The tug is the drug
Monday, October 19, 2009
As my wife and I make plans for the addition to our family, close to the top of the list was the location of the nursery. I will soon be giving up my fly addict room to make way for the crib, changing table, and other required items. I began the process of moving out but had to spend one final evening at my tying bench before it was relocated (to where I am not yet sure but it is not staying where it is).
Fitting of the change in season I tied a few holiday flies. I am sure that both will go for a swim very soon.
Halloween (Orange Back Zombie)
Christmas (Green Tailed Bow)
Yes it is still a quite a ways off but it will be here before we know it.
One little piece of advice that has served me well for the past few years. Get your holiday shopping done before November 15th. It will win you huge points with your wife (if you have one), you will not have to listen to all that crappy holiday music while shopping, and you will free up some time down the road to spend on the river when the big boys are around.
The tug is the drug
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Even before they arrived my folks had requested a fly fishing lesson. So it was no surprise that when they touched down it was still high on their list of things to do.
We headed up to Big M Fishery in Lincoln. The guys at Big M took excellent care of us by providing shuttle service to and from the fishing area and even unloading our gear from the golf cart.
We spent the first hour or so going over casting instruction, as neither had ever fly fished. They both picked it up very rapidly and were soon out at the 30-40 ft range. Time for fishing with flies! A quick lesson on retrieving the fly and line control and they were off. Armed with their new casting skills and some buggers we started to probe the depths in search of some hungry fish.
Within minutes my Mom's line began to swim away and her voice cracked with excitement when she she yelled "Adrian, Adrian, what do I do?" Unfortunately not enough pressure was applied and the pull on the end of the line ceased. Another small explanation about fighting fish with barbless hooks and we were back to it. The first strip of the second cast resulted in another fish pulling on the end of the line. This time, determined to keep good tension during the fight, the fish arrived at the bank. This was my mother's first fish ever! Although not a monster by most measurements it was definitely huge for for the two of us and will be one that will not be forgotten. The look in her eyes as she touched its fins and then said 'thanks' as it swam away will stick with me forever.
As fatherhood aproaches me, I have spent even more time reflecting upon my past and things I would like to change for the future. I have a great appreciation for the sacrafices my parrents made, which have allowed me many great opportunities. Thanks for everthing Mom and Dad and for a great day out on the water. Looking forward to our next outing.
Also a special thanks to Shawn Pittard for his help throughout the day and for capturing some great pix.
The tug is the drug
Friday, September 18, 2009
Fish and Game has been out starting their Redd surveys. If you see bright orange rocks on the banks an in the stream bed please avoid walking in these areas. Additionally if you see areas where the rocks look bright white, these are also redds and should be avoided. I have yet to see any fish staging but it should begin soon.
The tug is the drug.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
We were hurried into a shuttle to head off to the place we would call home for the next few days. Before we even departed from the airport we were questioned by one of our shuttle-mates repeatedly about our plans. You know the type, the ones who can't stop talking. This guy had a very close vocal resemblance to Zed (Bobcat Goldthwait) from Police Academy. His voice almost cracking as he released his excited words in an not quite yelling but not quite talking voice. He even pulled out a bank wrapped wad of 100 one dollar bills, explaining that " this is the only way to go in Mexico....tip with lots of singles and you can get anything you want here!" I would have paid at least and extra $20 to be the next ones off the shuttle but our fate was sealed. We got to spend the following half-hour hearing about all his previous travels and his plans while in Cancun.
Once we arrived at our abode (The Blue Bay Club), checked in, cranked the AC, and got our first cervasa we were finally at ease. Now only a single res less night lay between us and some stalking on the flats (a few more cervasa and a good Cuban cigar made quick work of the evening).
The first morning started off with a short boat ride from the marina. The channel inlet into the lagoon area was like something out of a movie. Apocalypse Now flashed through my mind as we turned the first corner and got a view of the thick green vegetation surrounding the channel and lagoon. I was even so in ah that I didn't even reach for the camera.
We began by casting into the numerous holes along the edges of the mangroves. Because the water in this lagoon was quite deep we were pretty much blind casting to areas that looked good or to the rings left by a fish that had rolled. The entire time that we were back in this area fish were rolling back up in the mangroves and along their edges. The casting was somewhat tight and the gaps we were aiming for were sometimes only a foot or two wide with overhanging branches! We jumped a number of fish but most made one jump and then headed straight for the mangroves which caused one of two outcomes; a break-off or the fish coming unbuttoned. We did land one nice Snook.
The balance of the first day we spent outside of the mangroves on the flats. We had a few shots at some Bones and Permit but no fish to hand. A front also moved in and brought with it a good dose of wind and some heavy chop.
Day 2 was a complete bust as the winds were very high. In addition to the heavy chop it also caused very significant changes to the tides. The areas we attempted to fish for tarpon were quite high and it was our guides thought that most of the fish were back up in the groves instead of cruising on the edges.
The third day began with a beautiful sunrise and very light winds. 'Time to make up for yesterday' was running through my head as we tootled out through the marina. And it just so happened that was exactly what lay ahead of us.
We covered a few flats searching for the Bones and Permit. We did see three or four schools of bones but they were all on the move. We also came across a few Permit but just like the bones they were completely on the move. The next few hours we spend back up in a series of lagoons and channels sight casting to Tarpon and the action was unbelievable and almost non stop. This is what we had come for and we got our fair share. There is something sweet about spotting, casting to, and leading a fish until your fly disappears into the mouth of a crazy, pissed off Tarpon. A millisecond later the fish 5 feet out of the water thrashing. I have yet to experience anything else like it.
This trip was put together by Keith Kaneko of Angling On The Fly. Kieth has numerous destinations around the world that are all top notch. If you are considering a destination please give Keith a call as I am sure he will have something that will far exceed your expectations.
Once you hook a summer steelhead on the Trinity River, you’ll be coming back every year to view the beauty of the river and the possibility of hooking another feisty sea-run rainbow. The Trinity is one of the top steelhead fisheries on the west coast and continues to produce some of the largest runs in North America. During this informative spey casting and fishing class, you’ll be exposed to everything needed to make your time on the river more productive. We will float and stop at designated locations, both river left and river right, to work on spey casting and fishing methods. Learn how to become a better spey caster while increasing your knowledge about equipment and fishing a spey rod. Topics will include, but are not limited to, equipment , casting styles , spey casting techniques from both sides of the river, casting and fishing sinktips, distance casting, and fishing methods. This school includes a river-side lunch, scenic float and casting and fishing instruction. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover one of California’s finest “steelhead-spey” rivers. Class size is limited to 6 people. October 10th-11th from 8am to 4pm. Recommended lodging near the Willow Creek area : The Bigfoot Motel (530) 629-2142, Gambi Hill Motel/Cottages (530) 629-2701, Coho Cottages 800 722-2223, Campgrounds: Camp Kimtu
Cost per person: $350.00
Date: October 10th and 11th 2009
-Spey Rod Oufit (Rod, Reel and Line, if you do not have an outfit we can provide one)
-Valid California Fishing License with Steelhead Report Card
-Leaders: 9’ – 15’ Tapered Leaders 3x-0x, Tippet-0X-3X
-Summer Steelhead Flies: #8-#6- Green Butt Silver Hilton, October Caddis, Muddler Minnow, Sculpin,
Green Butt Skunk
-Camera w/ Batteries and Memory Card
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Steelhead Spey Special: $250
8-10 Hours for 1 or 2 Anglers
Expert instruction coupled with a full day on the water at a special rate-
who could ask for more?
This program is designed provide you with the skills and information you need to chase fall and winter steelhead with two handed rods. If you've already got the skills, no problem, we will skip the instruction and get right to chasing steelies on the swing for the entire day.
Walk and wade or float depending upon river flows and season. All gear (rods, lines, leaders, flies, tippet...) will be provided. If you have your own outfit, bring it and we will provide the flies, leaders, and tippet.
Instructional topics to be covered as needed and personalized to your needs:
· Gear (rods, lines, flies)
· Casting tune-up (river right and river left)
· Presentation techniques for floating and sink tip lines
We will show you where the great swinging water can be found right here on the American!
What's the catch?
-This program is only availble for two handed rods (spey or switch) - swing only.
-We will not be providing a full lunch for these days (we will have a cooler with ice, drinks, and snacks). Please bring your own lunch if you like.
The tug is the drugAdrian
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
It's a little early for numbers of fish we have been seeing/hooking. The higher flows are probably playing a part in keeping the American temps slightly below those of the Sac (lets just hope that they have enough water to keep us going thorough the winter). Most of the fish we have been getting are in the 18-22' range and a mixture of wild and hatchery.
We will soon be launching a Fall and Winter Swing Special for the American River. Details in the next post.
The tug is the drug
Monday, August 10, 2009
The final consensus, lets just go but keep a backup plan. The backup plan entailed hauling the drift boat up to Medford and dropping it off so we could, if needed, float a few days on the Rogue. As it turned out there would be no drifts on the Rogue during this trip.
We hit the road at O-dark-thirty, dropped the boat boat before noon, and after a quick stop at the grocery arrived at Island campground by 4pm. We scurried to set up knowing full well that it would be dark by the time we got off the water.
The road closure began just down river from Mott Bridge, allowing access to the camp water stretch. As we pulled into the parking area, to our great surprise, we had it all to ourselves. Half-way through the first run I knew that it was going to be an epic trip. I rose two fish to a dry and was able to follow up and hook one on a wet! The first fish of the trip came unbuttoned but the story had just begun.
A few nips of Scotch and a beer with dinner were all we could handle before our heads hit the pillows and it seemed only minutes later the alarm going off at 4:30. A pot of coffee into the mugs and back to the river we went to sip our coffee and wait for day to break. A front had moved in over night bringing with in much cooler temperatures and a thick cloud layer. The steam rising from my mug of hot 'Joe' told me that it should be a fall morning but a steelhead morning it was none the less. Before even stepping foot in the water fish were rolling everywhere! Standing on shore sipping our coffee we looked on in amazement that we still had the place to ourselves.
We rose a few fish in our first runs and set off to explore some upstream water. A quick break for lunch and back to the water. The smoke mixed with the clouds kept the sun at bay for the entire day and aided in bringing numerous fish to the surface after our dry flies with two fish to hand by late afternoon. By all accounts this was already a completely successful trip and anything more would be 'gravy.' I remember thinking "I want to get as much as I can, cuz this just doesn't happen very often!"
The above would be the plan for the following two days and it paid huge dividends. We had a second full day of cloud and smoke to keep the sun off the water entirely. The third day was split by 3 hours of sun in the afternoon but the shady spots still produced. After three and a half days on the river we were 7 for 17 with 10 to the dry fly. All seven fish were wild and totally full of fight. All were pretty typical summer fish in the 5-8lb range except for one lunker that was well over 10lb. It came unbuttoned at the bank during the landing process so no physical evidence but it will not soon be forgotten by either Mike nor I.
They opened the road on Friday afternoon but all of the parking for the first 10 miles down from Steamboat was still closed for fire-crew access. A few more folks showed up on Saturday but for a typical August weekend on the North it was deserted.
Next time you are on the fence about making a trip just go for it, as it may turn out to be a trip of a lifetime.
The tug is the drug
Friday, July 24, 2009
As for Steelhead, there are some fish scattered throughout the American system. I got ripped one morning this week and I saw a pod of fish move through Grissmill on Wednesday that were as bright as could be and in the 5-7lb range. I am hopeful that this is a sign of good things to come.
I also had the opportunity to spend a day over in Truckee with Brian Slusser. Brian is a local guide to the Truckee area. He owns and operates Four Seasons Fly Fishing.
We spent half of the day out on Stampede Reservoir and the evening on the Truckee. We got into lots bass throughout the morning. No monsters but plenty of action to keep up occupied. After a few hours we ventured back into one of the inlets only to find a huge swarm of hoppers throughout the tree lined shores and when the wind would blow they ended up on the water. I have never seen such a thing on still water. Even the Geese were excited and chasing the water trapped hoppers so it would only make sense that the trout would also be keyed in. We made a dozen or so drifts with fish on every one, even a few doubles and a few multiple fish drifts. Again no monsters but still pretty cool to catch fish on the surface, in high sun, with large dry flies. The evening ended on the moving water of the Truckee with lots of fish chasing bugs to the surface.
If you are planning a trip to the Truckee area please don't hesitate to look Brian up. He is a great guide, knows the area well, and can customize a trip that will far exceed your expectations.
I will be launching a some special programs for the fall and winter, details coming soon.
The tug is the drug
Monday, July 6, 2009
I had the opportunity to attend Sandy River Spey Clave. It was awesome to be around so many talented casters and have the option to cast just about any rod out there. Even got to fish a few days on the Sandy and Clack.
Back up to memorial day (I know 4th of July has just past but I want to recap). Teresa and I spent the weekend on the North Fork of the Feather with some friends. It was our first time up there and what a gem we had been ignoring. Tough to wade, lots of scrambling up and down the rocky banks, and no other fishermen in sight. I could not believe that for a holiday weekend we did not seen another fly fisherman and only two or three gear guys. Bonus for us!!! The highlight of the weekend was spotting a riser from a high rocky bank and stocking my way down into position and putting a caddis right into his zone while the rest of the group cheered from above.
I am finally into my new place in Rancho and the projects around here have been taking a good portion of my time.
I am happy to announce that we (Teresa and I) have a new addition to the family. We have a house why not get a dog?? Riley is a 5 year old retriever mix but he is not your ordinary retriever. He is about 85 pounds of red fur and a face that has the innocence of a 2 month old puppy. His former owners were moving back to England and did not want to put him through the 6 month quarantine process. So Teresa went over to look at a couch they were selling and came back with Riley (well not exactly but you get the general idea).
I guided a few days the following week on the Yuba with the flows rippin. We managed a few fish each day with the bonus of three nice steelies out of the lower river (below Sycamore). The high flows did move some of the structure around and opened up a new piece of water down low that I am excited to swing when the flows come down.
I guided three days on the American for shad and strippers. Only a few small schoolie strippers but we did have a blast with some shad and the two handed rods. This is a great way to get repeated hookups on the swing which doesn't happen too often with steelhead.
The guys from Outdoor Specialty Products put together a vendor spey day on the American River which featured the complete line of Sage, Redington, and Rio spey products. Simon Gawesworth gave a few demos and presentations. I was fortunate to spend multiple hours with Simon one on one working on and discussing two handed instruction. I gleamed a few nuggets that will help me out when working with clients and with the two handed instructor certification exam.
I passed my single hand casting certification exam. This was the culmination of two months of focused work and many times of going through the demonstration questions with Teresa (secretly she is happier than I am as she does not have to listen to them anymore).
I have begun working more with Jeff Putnam on his fly fishing schools. I will have another post outlining what we are working on for the balance of the summer and the fall.
I took a client over to the Truckee for a day two weeks ago. I was hoping to catch the tail end of the Green Drakes but I think we were a few days too late in the sections we fished. But that did not mean we were out of luck with the surface action. There were Yellow Sallies and Caddis everywhere and we had a nice mayfly hatch in the evening. No monsters but lots eager fish.
I got out with my buddy Shawn last week on the Yuba. We only had about 5 hours to spend but we made the best of it. We swung through a few runs with no grabs. We did find a pod of risers in the lower river and were able to raise a half dozen or so. This was also Riley's maiden trip in the boat and he did very well. I think he is gonna make for a great fishing dog.
I have a list of at least 6 topics for posts that I have been working on so there will not be as much of a lapse between posts from now on.
The tug is the drug
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I spent the following week on the Big Horn River with a group of guides from Sweetwater Travel and I can not say enough good things about the experience. I learned a lot of new tips/tricks and definitely expanded my list of fishing destinations.
The weather held nicely and we even got into some surface fish during the early stages of the olive hatch. The most productive techniques were stripping streamers and dead drifted nymphs but I did find a few good stretches of swing water in the lower river.
The grab and first run of these fish were as good as most of the valley halfpounders, they just didn't make multiple runs and put of a fuss when being landed.
The average fish was 15-16 in with a few fish in the 20+ range.
This is a great place and I am sure that I will return. I would love to see this place when the dry flies are going strong during the summer.
The tug is the drug
I did check out the the spring creek area outside of Livingston. There are actually three private areas along this stretch of water. I fished the lowest piece, DePuy's. They have about three miles of water on the property with a mixture of riffles, runs, and pools. This area is a trib of the Yellowstone river and boasts a healthy population of bows, browns, and cuts.
The weather did break on the day I fished and temps edged up into the mid 40's.
I fished hard through two stretches of the lower river in the morning and got two nice fish on small PT's. After lunch I moved up stream to check out some new water and spent at least an hour just watching three pairs of fish spawn in the section of creek that was off limits. It was good to see that they closed these sections down to keep folks off the reds and let the fish do their business.
I managed to get into a few more fish before stopping into the shop on the property. I picked up a few of the "hot local flies" and headed back down to the lower section for the evening.
I did see a few midges popping and some fish had their eyes focused toward the surface but all of the flies I picked up were nymphs so I decided to rig a dry dropper and try to sight cast to some working fish in the lower pools. My first few attempts were met with refusal so I switched up my dropper and the game turned in my favor. It was really cool to see the fish move a good three or four feet from behind a rock and have my dry dunk under.
It was a great day on a great piece of water.
The tug is the drug
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I have totally become spoiled by the weather in California over the past few years. It was 13 degrees when I jumped out of the truck and got suited up. A quick nip form the flask seemed to dull the sting in my fingers before getting into the water.
The water did not provide much in the way of relief and was actually my demise. As there was very little activity on the water (not even any midges flying about) I decided to swing some big ugly sculpin patterns. The below pattern is one of my favorites but a piece of rabbit with some flash would probalby work just as well (this one just has a little more soul).
About half way down the run I had a hard grab and my rod tip dipped deep into the water but no line peeled off the reel and the fish jerked to freedom. "What the hell?" ran quickly through my mind but upon closer inspection my reel had completely frozen and required a few hard pulls of the running line to free things up. I should have known as I was required to chip the ice out of my guides two times prior to the reel disaster.
The last picture is just in case you were unsure if there was any ice along the river.
Well I have another week and a half out here and things are looking up. The weather is about to break and they are expecting temps in the 40's and maybe even the 50's by mid week!!!
I also bumped into a Missoula local and he recommended checking out a spring creek on private ranch over near Livingston. It is Rainbow spawning season and the ranch has a good stretch of water they must travel through to get up to there gravel. So here I am held up in a motel in Livingston eagerly awaiting tomorrow.
The tug is the drug.
I am on the road in Montana for rest of this week and all of the following. I will be attending a guide school run through Sweetwater Travel and Fly Shop. I am very excited to spend a week out with a group of high class guides to learn some new skills, fish some new water, and hear some very big fish tales.
I will be putting posts up periodically throughout the week with updates.
The tug is the drug.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
I fished the American yesterday morning with Shawn Pittard. There seems to have been another push of fresh fish with last week's rain. Shawn connected with this dandy hen using his switch rod and a Goblin on the business end.
Still eagerly awaiting the arrival of the "springers."
Thanks for a great morning Shawn.
The tug is the drug.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
We spent the day on the American River. Although we were unable to bring any fish to hand Michael did get one grab and we had an enjoyable time covering the water, exchanging ideas, and casting different rod/line combos. The heavy rains by mid morning brought with them a large amount of debris and the water turned slightly dirty. I will blame the weather conditions for the lack of fish activity as it was certainly not for casting ability.
Michael is one of the most consistent casters I have ever fished with. He spent part of the day with a 10 foot single-hander with a sinking shooting head. The head was more like a Scandinavian than our typical Teeny heads. To see him make his spey style change of direction casts and then over head cast this setup was something of a site. 100' bombs were well with in his reach and seemed to be made with grace and ease.
We also cast a full level sinking head designed for a two hander. Michael explained that this type of head is very common for his home waters of Europe while chasing the sea run trout and Atlantic Salmon. Casting this setup is slightly more difficult than our traditional heads with only sink tips. The timing of your setup is even more critical as the entire head sinks and it is very easy to get too much line stick which kills the forward cast. If you thought that Michale's single handed casting was impressive his two handed casts were unbelievable. Even with 20 mph gusts of wind he could present this setup at will.
You should check out Michale's site at www.mauri-flyfishing.de.
I will be looking forward to seeing Michael next year when he returns.
The tug it the drug.
Friday, February 13, 2009
I had the opportunity to fish the American with Ryan Miller and Jason Hartwick this week.
Since the American is an urban fishery, some strange things can happen from time to time. If you have spent any time out on the water during the summer, you know exactly what I am talking about (there is nothing like a 60 year old dude in a thong with huge beer belly swimming around while you are fishing). But if you can look past some of the short-comings, you will find a local area with plenty of opportunity to catch some fish and hone your skills.
There are still still some winter steelhead around and I am anticipating that the blue backs should be arriving soon. We did end up with a few good pulls and I was able to land the above fish. Nothing special but he put on a pretty good acrobatic show and pulled out some line.
I often take a few different approaches when it comes to swinging flies for winter fish. The approach used is dependent upon factors such as water speed/depth, water clarity, and my position when fishing with others just to name a few.
As my title depicts, getting deeper can sometimes increase you chances at enticing a grab from a fish that may be unwilling to move far for a fly. The above fish was caught in 4+ feet of water on a rig I would consider to be fairly heavy (heavy tip and moderately weighted fly) . Would that fish have taken an unweighted fly presented on a lighter sink tip? No one can say for sure.
So how do we get our presentations deeper? Sink tips, weighted flies, casting angle, and line manipulation (after the cast) all play a role in the depth and presentation of your fly. Balancing these factors correctly will result in a slow presentation at the desired depth but get one or more of these factors out of line and you will be tying on a new fly, presenting the fly at Daytona 500 speeds, or not achieve the desired depth to entice the fish.
I will be adding a series of posts that will put all these techniques together and give some clarity into attaining the desired depth.
The tug is the drug.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
In addition to enjoying some quality family time I had multiple evenings to spend with some tying materials, hooks, and a vise. I am pretty sure that I will be ready for my next coastal adventure as my boxes will be stocked with plenty of new patterns.
I wanted to highlight one of the flies that I have been working on. It is pretty much my interpretation of an Akroyd.
Hook: AJ 1.5 or 3/0
Thread: black 6/0
Tip: round or oval silver
Tag: orange silk
Top Tail: golden pheasant crest
Side Tails: golden pheasant tippets
Body: rear 2/3 orange seal or sub, front black silk, separated by orange ostrich
Rib: medium oval rear, medium pearl Mylar with small round silver front
Hackle: orange schlappen over the rear and blue eared pheasant over the front
Wing: orange goose shoulder with center strip of peacock secondary
Cheeks: jungle cock
I have been working on this one in multiple color combos.
More posts are on the way.
The tug is the drug.