2015 Photo Dump- Flies and Fish

Continuing to dig through lucky shots for 2015. This time featuring the true stars of the show, Fish and the Flies we use to fool them. There is a ton of scrutiny out there at the moment regarding grip and grins and fish mortality. There is even some finger pointing at the guide community claiming our cameras are some sort of weapon of mass extinction all of a sudden. I can only speak for myself and the guides I work very closely with daily in saying all the fish I trip on are treated with a great deal of respect. They feed my family and I truly hope a strain  of these wonderful creatures survive for countless generations in these world class waters. Truth be told most fish people land are not picture takers and they are not even touched. Grip and grins are well thought out, talked about and done very quickly with wet hands over a good rubber net. A wet fish at water level is even better.

That's all I got on that, seems like a trendy perennial topic for people who never catch fish and just assume they must have been killed by some dude who caught too many.

Respect Eagle River Wild Trout

Yeah, Le Squirm makes the "best of" cut

Barn Hole Cuttbow

Winter Caddis Magic

Spring Sipper

Cha Ching

All Muscle Eagle River Rainbow

White Beads, not just a lake pattern anymore.
Get your self some Acne today, whiteheads are all the rage.

Brad Gamble and my Client Fish of the Year

I've always said "If I ever grow up and get a real job, what little vacation time I got I would use right here on THE Eagle River." Prettiest damn fish on the planet.

Carry On, 

West Slope Jig Rig

I've been around my share of comp flies in the past several years. To be honest with you I never found the need to REALLY look at them until a year or so ago. These guys catch a shit ton of fish but in most cases I looked at patterns that made me giggle a little, but facts are facts and they were always railing fish. So recipes aside I logically decided to put my bugs where these knuckleheads were putting them and it all starts with the hook. The jig hook itself makes gin clear sense to all of us dirty nymphers and especially so once the weeds start taking over the bottom of trout town. Sure Frenchies, Walts Worm, Valdi's Boo Boo and those Hot Spot La La La's work but my wheel was already round. So onto the old Jig Hook goes some of my proven poop and boom.....I'm hooked on the jig baby.

After jamming my nonsense on jig hooks I had to tweek the traditional rig and get them to where they do the most damage. My normal nymph rig, like most peoples, puts the attractor pattern and the weight at the top of the system with smaller flies  dropped below and of course Mr Bobber pulls the train.The New Zealand lads taught me it's called "Truck and Trailer". The jig will work there, as the first fly in the rig, just make sure there is a barb or a pinched one there if you tie droppers to the bend of the fly (I lost a half dozen bugs from the tippet sliding off barbless hooks before the light came on). An eye to eye connection works well also.

Truly getting Jiggy would mean I would eventually have to drop the goodness to the bottom of the system. Don't worry, the bobber remains, I can'y try out for Team USA, I don't own a blazer. Jig on the bottom means small flies above it on tags, which can complicate things for 74% of my clients, but I'm having fun with it.

Love to lead with little Stones and this small #12 Golden Stone has an even nastier bite with it's hook riding up. I jam 18-20 wraps of .030 Lead Free Wire on the shank and then flatten it with pliers so the gap isnt compromised. The wing case is coated with Fluorescing UV Clear Coat just cuz I'm tricky. 

Jig that Caddis. The Fall Caddis Color rocked it o the Upper Colorado and the Eagle August- September.

Originally used for the a late Summer PMD pattern but the touch of yellow
helps this little booger work all year

Flip that shit over.
Carry On

2015 Photo Dump- Ankle Biters

So I sat down to try and pile up the best images the ol Nikon captured this year and like every year, I realized I pushed the button a few times. Too much to choose from so it's categories this year starting with everyone's favorite, children, ankle biters, spawn, your freaking pride and joy.......OMG get a picture of my kid please!!

No fish were harmed in the process of collecting these memories and possibly creating a new steward of our dying sport, just saying.

Kid proved youngsters can do it from the boat......sweet glasses too.

White bead and a small clown.

These 2 little demons set the skittle record this season.

Great Father-Son double for the Knights. Not really an ankle biter anymore.

Spent a few lovely days with a couple of lads from Team New Zealand. They clobbered it.

One of my favorite families to fish with and one of my favorite guides to work with. This shot and coined phrase "hardest working guides on the planet" is one of the best moments I have managed to luck into.

Again, I'm pretty sure no body was hurt in the creation of this image.

Time flies by, it won't be long before he is rowing for reel....

I'll be honest, I don't always enjoy guiding youngsters (say under 8) but when the stars align and the kid has some patience, focus and likes to learn they become the most memorable of days. Thanks to everybody who has let me baby sit your kidos with a fly rod, now keep them the hell out of my boat until they are old enough to pay for your trip.

Carry On  

Gen 2

Lost an old friend a few weeks ago, one that has been by my side for literally thousands of fish.
I had a chance to look back and see just how many pictures that net was photo bombing, I remember every moment. Here's a few high lights from over the last 8 years or so with the money stick..

Spock and Fiver, upper Roaring Fork

Sam's first look at a trout,
I miss the Valley Pond.

Pipeline with Brooks and Eddie the day
Sam netted 30 and got his first tip

I talked so much with that net in hand
it understood bad north eastern english

Doubled as a wading staf for
lots of important crossings

One of THE best days I ever spent with that
net. 9 doubles with John Muir and Lew

Fishbus weekend with the big Zim

Multiple pre season runs with

Doc and the only place we were allowed to
float with Sam back when

THE G and a blonde on
the Fork one fine fall day

Got to be 70 pounds ago. That net many have landed 70 pounds
of fish for mr Thompson over the years.I remember this day, 
with Scott and his dog George, I believe there was a
razorback chub involved.

So let me introduce Generation 2...

So it begins fresh. Hopefully that old wand is in a good place, holding a shit ton of fish....like it's used to.

Carry On

The Long and the Short of it

NEW TOYS for Fall have arrived.

You may not know it by the slow leak in my boat, but I am always trying to keep things fresh and new. Understand clearly that I am not a product pitcher. I like Pepsi but will drink a Coke. Could care less about the car your driving, Ford-Chevy, V6-V8 blah, blah, blah. Tippet, fly line, leaders just need to be affordable, I could care less what name is on them. I also pledge allegiance to no one rod manufacturer but trust me I know what I like and lately I like em long.

Just injected my new Sage One 10' 5wt and a Reddington Hydrogen 10' 4wt into the program and wow what a difference a foot makes.

"Teaching Euro nymphing now too?"
Nope, just a bigger lever

One of the biggest hurdles for most guides who teach is getting the rod tip up in critical situations like say mending, roll casting or most importantly the hook set. It is a daily struggle that the rod manufactures have tried for a few decades to solve with lighter rods. Don't matter, they are still to heavy for most humans to lift so I just bought a foot.

The One is going to cost you, but during the brief time we have spent together I can say this is the finest stick I have held in a long long time. I own a few 9' 5 wt Ones also but they just became dry fly rods, The 10' is definitely heavier in hand but so are most of the rigs it's shoving around, big deal, man up and be an athlete.

The Hydrogen is lighter in hand and on the wallet. This is a great rod for the price point and will let people dabble without going broke. The 4wt has a much slower action than the One but I really have grown to like that in a nymph stick. The skeleton reel seat is kind of a cool feature if you are into bling and I like the mat finish a lot.

the boy's eyes were cross eyed after I made him pose for this picture

I have also been working on the short game. I broke down and bought my first pair of cheaters after 3 years of being blind on the close side. I gave in after spending an evening with Ed Nicholson, the founder of  Project Healing Waters, who I guess got sick of watching me fumble.

Very high honor floating around with this great man. Humbled

"Give in already and join the club" says Ed as he hands me a pair of cheaters just before dark.

I'm in. Best investment I have made in years.

Carry On.

Hitting for average

Lately I've felt the need to set different expectations with my clients. Most everybody comes blasting into the shop thinking they are going to set records on their first few swings because it's "just fishing". Used to be I would wander out and just let it be, just let them shoot what ever score they shot and try and put the day in perspective on the way home.

we began battling the weeds on the Upper Colorado

Ultimately clients say or do something very early on in the day to express their expectations. The smart ones ask what they might expect to accomplish seeing as they only do this once a year. The naive ones assume they are about to shoot 2 or 3 birdies cuz they paid for a good caddy. Truth be told this game called fly fishing is a sport. It requires coordination, focus and some concentration. If things are are not clicking the fly rod tends to have a mind of it's own and it's devilish if you don't take control of the pesky thing.

"Sort Of" for Trico Time
Extended Body Chocolate Thunder
PMD Version

So lately when peeps start discussing the potential success ratio I simply bring up of all things, baseball. Day in, day out I have been keeping track of all the stupid things that go on around rivers and fly rods and I have become very aware that nobody bats a thousand. A good hitter in the major leagues hits somewhere around 300, that's a 30% success rate. Now win, loose, success and failure are big words and ones I try and leave out of my language during my day but the fact is you are going to put a few shots in the bunker and strike out now and then, we all do, it's a sport.

Duane Redford at work

So explaining to my new friends very early in the day that there are going to be struggles, natural ones that just come along as baggage with this silly sport, can set a positive mood for all the shit that is about to hit the fan. I've seen all different reactions from people once they understand that they just plunked a whole bunch of jingle down and they realize their day is going to include struggling 70% of the time. But at the end of the day when everything is added up like most people do, if they went 3 for 10 on landing hooked fish, making good drifts or hitting spots, it was a good average, they hit par...Good job.

Like a man. 
The accounting dept down the hall from my boat does the numbers, and hopefully people are hitting more like four or five hundred but there will always be hic ups or hurdles. For the first hour of most trips, guides watch 1 in 10 casts go where they should. Most presentations are terrible and most everybody only understands 10% of whats being said. If people treat the process like a sport and try hard to get better, the percentages go way up and they begin to understand the rhythm of the sport. But if somebody takes the first 3 hours of a 4 hour trip to get things on par that doesn't leave much time to catch fish, especially if the fishing is tough, just sayin.

One grip and grin can't hurt

I'm not making excuses here, I am always rooting for the fish to cooperate, but sometimes they don't. But I would rather pick a guy up by telling him he did a great job even though it was only 30% of the time. Dude just went out and put up Jeter numbers, he hit for average and should be happy with himself. Earthlings need to know that's how it goes and they should come and give this fly fishing stuff a try again.

It's been a busy time around me this summer, sorry for the lack of work on this blog thing