I HOPE I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO FEELS THIS WAY.
Everybody gets their ass handed to them once in a while and I’m certainly no exception. The latest installment came just last week. I was in Colorado and mentioned to a friend that I’d never fished Cheeseman Canyon, and away we went. If you were to do a quick Google search for Cheeseman Canyon you might click the first link and read this description on Colorado Fishing Reports.
“The drainage is one of the most pristine and technical in the world; if you can catch trout here you can catch them anywhere.”
That reads like some good old Colorado bravado but on closer inspection, at least the day I was there, it could be true. At least the last part. I don’t know that it’s the most pristine place I’ve ever fished but it was certainly a challenge. For six hours of fishing, I enjoyed three hookups and unbuttoned two of them for a total of one fish. It was the smallest of the three and I was happy to have him.
It’s easy to see why this place is so hard on anglers. The pressure is ridiculous. Literally, three guys fishing every run. Anglers on Colorado’s front range are used to that kind of pressure and to their credit, everyone was super polite and practiced great stream etiquette. If not for that it would have been miserable. Still, the pressure makes it very tough in a couple of ways.
It’s all but impossible to move around on the river, unless you’re just out for a good hike. You wind up camped in a couple of spots working a pod of fish who watch you like the Ferguson P.D. To its credit, the South Platte is full of fish. Quality fish at that. Pods of them in every run but it’s kind of a Mexican stand off.
The fish are as much traumatized as educated.
They have adapted to the the pressure in some interesting ways. To start with, they just don’t eat flies. That’s obvious. Many of them seem to be night feeders. I found a lot of fish sleeping during the day. Fish sleep behavior is fascinating and
SOME OF MY MOST MEMORABLE DAYS CHASING BASS ON THE FLY HAVE COME FROM ME SPENDING THE DAY POPPING AND WAKING FROG PATTERNS ALONG THE SURFACE.
I grew up fishing for bass, and although trout fishing has stolen the majority of my fly fishing attention over the years, I’ve always held a special place in my heart for catching bass on the fly. I’ve got friends that don’t see the coolness in fly fishing for bass, but that’s because most of them haven’t put in enough time on the water to experience perfect fishing conditions, and witness the thrill of bass smashing their fly cast after cast. Bass are amazingly acrobatic fish, and they provide more than enough pull and rod bend to justify fly fishing for them. If you haven’t explored this area of fly fishing, I highly recommend it.
The other day, Louis and I left our houses at 2:45 in the morning to drive across the Georgia State line, and fly fish for bass on Lake Guntersville. Louis was doing a shoot for a new bass lure company, and I was lucky enough to get invited to tag along. Normally, it would be a real challenge to drag me out of bed at this hour, but Lake Guntersville is considered one of the top bass fishing lakes in the entire country. More importantly, the lake is famous for its unbelievable frog fishing that generally starts in June, and runs through the summer months. Lake Guntersville hosts several professional bass tournaments throughout the year, and in 2014, it will host the most famous of all tournaments, The Bassmaster Classic.
During the tournaments on Lake Guntersville, it’s not uncommon for bass anglers to weigh-in five fish sacs, well over 35 pounds.
That’s right, we’re talking about an average fish weight of over seven pounds. If that doesn’t get you excited about visiting Lake Guntersville, I suggest you get someone to make sure you have a pulse. The reason this lake can grow and sustain such large
THIS MAY BE THE SINGLE GREATEST PIECE OF GEAR A FLY ANGLER CAN OWN.
As I have said on many occasions, it’s called Gink and GASOLINE for a reason. I live in my truck. Last week alone I drove over 5000 miles with my Adipose skiff in tow. This year I have driven from Atlanta, GA to Idaho, twice! I camp, I fish, I float and most of all I drive.
I’m not complaining. It’s a hell of a lot of fun, but take a minute and think about the logistics of it. A single road trip may last two or three weeks away from home. It’s going to involve photography, video, writing, online publishing, camping, cooking, boating and fishing of every imaginable type. It requires a mountain of gear.
Much of this gear is really expensive. Cameras, microphones, lights, computer, iPad, not to mention better than a dozen fly rods and reels and, of course, I have to have a guitar. All of that expensive, and fragile, gear rolling around in the back of my truck for weeks on end. Baking in the sun. Sitting in plain view at put ins and sketchy roadside pull offs. My life savings in an unlocked truck waiting for a shuttle driver. It has been a nightmare for years.
Well, not any longer. I recently upgraded from a ’98 Subaru Forester to a 2002 Toyota Sequoia. When I did, I knew it was time to get a Truckvault. I have wanted one since I saw my buddy Michael White’s Truckvault, which I wrote about last year. I had spent plenty of time drooling over the Truckvault site and knew that they made custom units for SUVs as well as pickups. I knew the time had come.
I logged on and started the process of designing my own Truckvault. The site makes it easy and some of the options are mind blowing. Anything is possible. Mine is a two drawer unit ten inches deep and fifty inches long. It spans the width of the vehicle and is covered in carpet which matches the truck. When you look in the window, you don’t even know it’s there. It has combination locks with key backups. The drawers pull out to full extension and are lined with foam and have customizable dividers. The unit is rated to hold three-thousand pounds on top and is fire safe.Read More »
IF YOU FLY FISH LONG ENOUGH AND PAY YOUR DUES, IT’S JUST A MATTER OF TIME UNTIL YOU HOOK INTO A GIANT FISH AND EXPERIENCE DEFEAT.
I’ve always loved the saying, “It’s always the big ones that get away”, like it provides anglers a viable excuse for losing battles with big fish. I’ll admit there are times when we’re at complete mercy of big fish, and defeat is 99% inevitable, but most battles are lost due to angler error, specifically by fighting big fish incorrectly with the fly rod.
For many anglers, every time they lose a big fish, a portion of their fish-fighting confidence disappears with it, and they become more paranoid with each unsuccessful encounter. Overtime, this paranoia and lack of confidence distorts their fish fighting instincts, and they begin to play big fish too conservatively, thinking if they put more pressure on the fish, the tippet will break or the hook will pull free. What they end up doing most of the time is fighting the fish with their rod tip instead of fighting the fish with the mid-section and butt section of the rod. This seriously limits an anglers ability to apply power and steer the fish during a fight, because all the power comes from the butt and mid-section of the rod, not the tip. It also will keep the leverage in the fish’s court, which will take it far longer for you to tire out a big fish. Fight times can be doubled, sometimes even tripled, and that’s bad news for a trophy specimen if the battle is taking place during the year when oxygen levels are low (you can play a fish to death). Furthermore, the longer the fight is prolonged, the better the chance something could go wrong, resulting in a fish being lost during the fight (teeth wearing through tippet, fish raking you across rocks and breaking line, fish snapping you off in a snag, ect).
Fight a big fish the right wayRead More »
WILD REVERENCE “THE PLIGHT OF THE AMERICAN WILD STEELHEAD”
This film by Shane Anderson chronicles one of the most sought after fish on the planet and the severe decline of wild populations with hope and solutions for a wild future.
If chasing wild steelhead is not your passion, it may be once you’ve seen this film. It’s hard to not get swept away by the powerful feelings surrounding this amazing fish and it’s perilous circumstances. If you are a devotee, this film is a must see.
Shane’s film is not only beautiful and moving, it’s important in its efforts to raise awareness of the steelhead dilemma. It has it’s heart in the right place, but it’s pockets too. Proceeds from the film go to help preserve wild steelhead.
Check out the trailer. You might learn a thing or two about wild steelhead. You might find yourself loving them.Read More »
THE GUYS AT THE ORVIS ROD SHOP HAVE BEEN ON A ROLL FOR THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS.
Some of my favorite rods of late have come out of that shop, including the Helios 2 and the Superfine Glass. For 2015 Orvis has a couple of new offerings that caught my eye. The new Recon and the H2 One Piece both look very promising. I haven’t fished these rods yet, but I will be very soon so stay tuned for full reviews on each.
The Recon is Orvis’s new mid-priced offering. Retailing for under $500 this rod is a great value. I honestly can’t see it as a compromise. It’s a beautifully made rod with a light, crisp action. The hardware is excellent and whole rod, even the tube, is made in the USA.
The Helios 2 One Piece is the next evolutionary step for the award winning H2. It combines the thermo-plastic design of the H2 with the accuracy, cast-ability and strength of a one piece rod. It feels amazing in the hand. Extremely light and lively. I’m really looking forward to trying this rod out.
Tom Rosenbauer took some time to talk about the new rods with me at IFTD. Check out the video.Read More »
By Kent Klewien
The other day I had the opportunity to guide a client who previously had put down his fly rod for many years. As he put on his waders and boots, and I began rigging the rods, he told me that many of his good friends were avid fly fisherman. Problem was, they had made it clear to him that they preferred he didn’t tag along with them, because they didn’t want to waste their precious fly fishing time teaching a beginner. I felt bad for the guy. He had been painted an outcast by his own buddies, and every year that went by, it made it harder and harder for him to pick up his fly rod. With a comforting grin on my face, I replied, “Man, I really wish you would have called me sooner. We could have nipped that in the butt a long time ago.”
During our hike in to the river, I decided my mission for the day was going to be getting my client back up to speed. I was going to teach him everything he needed to know, so that the next time his buddies went fly fishing, he could surprise them with his presence, and put on a clinic. I had a silent laugh going on inside me throughout the day, as I pictured the looks on his buddies faces as they watched their outcast friend out fish them. I used this to fuel my guiding efforts, and it kept me focused during the slow learning process.
Teaching someone to fly fish from square oneRead More »