Braedon's Big Adventure and NY Porn

So here is the highlight reel and a few stats.

Fish camp day 1

Steelhead alley and a nice view of Lake Erie

2nd double in 5 minutes

Braedon 's smile may be permanent 

I had an awesome time watching Braedon get his Ninja Card. It was a pleasure getting to know you better bud, your part of the family now.

Almost gets boring doesn't it. We hit it right for the Browns and got extremely lucky, everything worked out. Special thanks to Mark Lagana for the access trick, Ford Focus (survived us for 41 hours, 1600 miles, and a lot of abuse), my family for feeding us, Joe Olivero, Delerium Tremons beer and my hometown.

 Before I started editing I had over 400 exposures from 7 days of this adventure, but Porn, no matter how colorful can get old, so enough of the Browns....have some Steel. 

These guys were around with the Browns and became a bonus.

We went looking for this guy, congrats Scotty 
So there it is, at least the highlights. Want in on the fun next year? 

We will be offering this trip for 2 weeks next November.
The trip price will include 2 Days chasing Brown Trout, a day of Pheasant Hunting and 2 days chasing Steelhead. Each week will be limited to 4 anglers, details and prices coming soon, don't miss out.

Fish of a lifetime

Seven days of some of the most consistently ape shit Trib Fishing is hard to write about. There were so many incredible moments during this trip that I may need a few weeks to actually wrap my mind around what just happened back in NY. While editing pictures I realized there were a few compelling story lines that my camera captured, but the one it didn't, is on my mind.

Breadon Martinson will never be the same
 After 6 days of hardcore Brown Trout fishing we decided to take our game further East and target some Steel. After a three doughnut drive, we eventually lumbered our way (long after daybreak) to a very popular stretch of a very popular river. Paradise was what we hoped for, filled with giant fish and a light crowd of post holiday swing junkies, nice hats and cigars included.

We happened across a couple of guys with room next to them and decided to strike up a conversation before we started crushing the beat next to them.

Shack, Slim and Smiles were just like us, a group of three buddies finishing up a great week of fishing together. Things had been amazing for them also and they seemed genuinely happy to share some space with us.

It pays to be agile, hostile and mobile

As we were game planning in the bushes for the probable ass whooping we were about to apply, the huddle upstream of us blew up. Shack had hooked into his fish of a lifetime and everyone in earshot now knew. It was pure gorgeousness as everyone dropped what they were doing to join in the party. It took a friend or 2 to handle these fish all week long, add a camera man and all of a sudden there are 3 guys sharing in the joy every time a fish was landed. The love from total strangers for a dude with bent graphite almost brought a tear to my eye as we all anxiously awaited the beasts arrival at our feet.

I snapped a quick pic of Braedon shortly after he helped Shack tail his fish of a lifetime.

 It is an incredible experience to be truly present and genuinely happy for a buddy, let alone a total stranger, in a moment he will never forget. Everyone in that pool had been chasing that same euphoria and knew the significance of what had just happened to one of our brothers. Slim's very expensive camera was documenting the chaos and the photo shoot looked like something out of a fly fishing magazine, we were as high as you can get.

And then it happened. With out a word or warning, Shack turned, grabbed his rod and stepped back into the hole. Having shared everything for a week of hard fishing Slim and Smiles were expecting a shot at the glory hole and a chance at a beast of their own. It was uncomfortable to watch. If the seven deadly sins of fishing had been elves, Greed, Gluttony and Selfishness were hiding in the bushes of the Paradise Hole that morning. Kind of made us sick.

Only needed a shoe horn, no Vaseline 

So later in the day as Breadon and I were taking a skunking and enjoying it, ol Slim and Smiles appear in the bushes behind us. They left Shack alone after the incident to land fish and take pictures on his own for the day. They were all smiles which surprised me after finding out they had not had any success or even fished much at all. We were all pretty well spent from a hard week and our dials were set at chit chat instead of cast endlessly to finish the day. They explained to us that Shack was Shack and he may have shown that side before, but he was a good friend and added greatly to the life of any trip and would always be welcome.

 "To good to leave home" said Slim as he winked and explained how they got him back.

Seems before the lads split up that day, Slim told Shack his camera malfunctioned and the pictures of his fish of a lifetime had been lost. They stayed long enough to watch him squirm and panic then wandered away to a hole on the river where numbers and ego don't matter as much as friendships.

Not sure how long he held out on that picture.


Planning a destination trip (or 3 knuckleheads go to NY)

Planning, prepping and packing for a destination expedition with fly gear can be the most important process of your trip; it can also be a giant waste of time. Often times we are faced with an abundance of questions about flies, timing, tactics, weather and such that we as type A (anal), fly fishing types will almost always over prepare.  Phone calls, intranet research, fishing reports and he said she said bullshit about flows, temperature and the probable “run” can lead to some sleepless ness when you are going into the unknown with fly rods. This trip has been different for me, I’m going home; home to the tribs of Lake Ontario and her Migratory fish that originally got me into this fur and feather bullshit. Not fishing my home waters on the great north coast for several years has not made my prep any easier.

EQUIPMENT: Be prepared to break shit. I have four rods, multiple reels, extra fly line, more than enough flies, leaders, floro tippet 1x-4x and enough weight to sink a boat. Sacrifice the underwear and goggle map the nearest laundry mat  to make room for more fishing stuff, you won’t be sorry. This trip is all about research for 2 weeks of client trips next year and the data we collect will help the trips sell or not, so the pile of camera junk becomes just as important as the rods.

FLY TYING: This step in your prep can be one of those big wastes of time. 99% of the time you spend weeks trying to wear your bobbin out only to arrive and find your money patterns are two shades to dark and local knowledge says don’t play them. Flies for Great Lakes Tributaries are not the techy patterns my vise is used to seeing and it was a great time getting back to my roots of tying. Large blue and black Prince’s, Soft hackles in in every crayon color I could think up and of course egg imitations. This trip’s whole sale fly would be something we have coined the Bead Bug or the beaded soft hackle. There are over 100 of them jammed in my egg box so based on the moon phase and my over whelming confidence in the way they look I am relatively positive they won’t work. If you don’t tie flies this is the type of trip to start. Migratory fish don’t seem to care as much about how ugly your head is finished or if you splayed your Coc De Leon tails. Dig out a bunch of large hooks, some thread that won’t break and as much of that chenille that came in your original starter kit as you can recover. Sucker spawn, egg flies, small buggers, stones, comets, nuclear roe bugs and soft hackles with whatever twist you can dream up works just fine if you are on fish.

Softhackle Bead Bugs

PACKING: Clothing can make or break a trip comfort wise. Being prepared for wet and cold weather that the north coast very often throws at you can be the difference in finding a little solitude in one of the busiest combat fishing zones on the planet. On days when the weather is shit those who are not comfortable in the elements stay home, giving the river to those who know how to spend money on good gear. Good waders and boots, under layers of fleece and poly, good socks and a worthy rain jacket all make the trip no matter what, everything else becomes expendable as the majority of my fifty pound checked bag is equipment. I can buy a tee shirt if it’s too warm, I don’t want to buy gear. Buy a nice carry on bag that meets your airlines regs and  will fit your rods and reels. For this trip its in charge of getting 4 rods, 4 reels, camera equipment and some tying stuff there safely; things I can’t afford to have lost for the first 3 days of a trip. I would also highly suggest shipping stuff to your destination in advance. This comes in handy when you want to use longer Switch and Spey rods that you can’t always pack or carry on.

PLANNING: I will start by saying the websites, updated material and the poor response to phone calls has me a touch let down heading into this. Being in the guide game in someplace like Colorado has taught me the importance of good information on a unique website that is updated responsibly, NY doesn’t have a clue. Being from the area helped as I still have a few contacts on the ground but we are going places I haven’t been in years so a chit chat with someone who you have some confidence in goes along way. It took a contact in Colorado (Jmac) to ultimately make a connection with an outfitter who will be floating us on our last day. It’s all about who you know.

PERSONNEL: Have a good team, guys who all bring something to the table that will add to the success rate. It can be at the tying table at night, the willingness to contribute without fishing (camera time, exploring, cooking), netting ability or a positive, patient attitude when things are tough. One sour apple makes for bad applesauce.

TIMING: Chasing Migratory fish is a tricky business, if they aint there, you aint going to catch them. No water, no fish, bad water temps, no fish are things you will need to be prepared for.  Going in historically prime times can help but that’s what everyone else is thinking too. Don’t get stuck in one place when you are chasing Lake Runs, have an open mind and the ability to change locations to find the fish. For this trip that may mean going away from our primary target of Big Brown Trouts and may put us in a Steelhead mode(we’ll deal with it).

So blog season begins again for me, this year I kick it off with some nonsense from a destination home with old friends, family  and Scott Thompson and Braeden of Minturn Anglers fame.  I hope to check in with some updates and of course some pictures as this debacle unfolds, it's going to be interesteing.