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Posts Tagged ‘Fly Fishing’

You often here people talk about fishing destinations and how they are “bucket list”.  These are places people dream about fishing and hope they will make it too before they die. Many times they plan to go when they retire, when the kids move out of the house, child support payments end, and so on and so on.   I have a big problem with this.

First off you don’t know how long you are going to live.  You could die tomorrow, year or in 50 years.  No one knows how long they will live.  If you put a trip on your bucket list and then kick the bucket before you get to go what was the point.  No one shows pictures of places people wanted to visit at their funeral.  They do however often show pictures of extravagant places people visited while they were alive doing things they loved.  Think about when you have seen these pictures. Chances are you thought about how they may not be with us anymore but at least they were able to do things they loved in cool places. This likely brought a bit of a smile or a bit of relief to you during a sad time.

The second problem I have with bucket lists is you don’t know what kind of shape you will be in when your retire or whatever excuse you are using to delay trip of life time happens.  You might not be physically able to make the trip or may experience an unexpected financial hardship at a time in your life you aren’t able to make that money back up. So here you sit wishing you had taken the trip when you were younger. Again you never run into an old man in the fly shop talking about the trips he thought about going on. You will often see that old man telling you all about the places he fished when he was younger though. He will smile the entire time too.

This is why I say take that bucket list and turn it into a F it list.  Go now while you can. This doesn’t just include fishing trips. This is anything you have wanted to do. Find a way and do it.  Don’t have the money?  Find it. Sell some stuff you haven’t used and no longer need.  Get a side job. Take a loan if you have to. That is as long as it wont take food out of your families mouth that is. Now if you are single and it means box mac and cheese dinners for a few months I say go for it.

Now what I mean by a F it list is take that list of places you want to go and prioritize it. Now figure out a way to check one spot off each year.  My personal list has places that are expensive and places that won’t take much money they just require actually going.  My plan is to do an expensive one followed by a year or two of less expensive trips so I can recoup from the big trip. This spring I am going to Argentina to fish for Golden Dorado. To be honest I had no idea what a golden dorado was until I heard about this trip.  I found out a details from my friend Mark and said F it I want to go and I am going to go.  Fly fishing in South America is something I have always wanted to do. I had just planned on going for trout but only because I didn’t know about golden dorado.

I am also going with my family this winter to Mississippi to visit my brother in-law. This will mostly be a family trip but will include fishing for red fish and sea trout. Something I have also always wanted to do.  My wife has wanted to go visit her brother for a long time as well so we are saying F it and going this year while we can.

Many of us has places or types of trips we have wanted to take that are close by we just don’t take the time to do it.  It is time to change that.  Go do what is is you have dreamed about. As my boss always says this isn’t a dress rehearsal, if there is something you want to do you need to do it.  So many people die at young age before getting to do the things they dream about. Don’ t let it happen to you. Turn that bucket list into a F it list today.

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As I look back on this years salmon season I can’t help but think about how blessed I am to have such great customers.  This year was with out a doubt my best year as far as guests go.  I sent out a few messages to past customers in August and filled most of my open dates in just a few days. It is a great feeling to have people come back year after year.  The remaining dates were filled by September by new customers some of which are now repeat customers as they have already booked future dates.  In this business you never know who you are going to get. Every guide has stories of people they couldn’t wait to get off the boat.  This year I never had a trip where I felt that way and it was great.

We spent the season casting or trolling lures and baits even when others said it was to warm to get them to snap. Day after day we proved them wrong taking plug bites on 70 plus degree days with water temps in the high 60’s.  When we got to the ramp we may not have had as many fish on ropes as others but we didn’t snag ours.  The only way the snagging mentality is going to change is if it starts with the guides.  I know for a fact I changed a few peoples outlook on salmon fishing this season and I am happy I could do that.

Overall the Salmon River was crowded most of the season but 99% off the people were friendly and moved out of the way of the boat. There are always going to be the guys who hate the drift boats but I think the number of them is getting smaller.  Most people are realizing that it’s not that big of a deal to wait or take a few steps back while the drift boat goes through. They are also realizing that many times the boat gets fish moving around and they hook up right after the boat passes.

2017 Salmon Season was my most fun season by far.  The only problem I had was that my son is now old enough to realize that dad is gone all the time.  This really hit me hard when he told my mom that dad couldn’t play with him because he works all the time.  There will be some changes next fall continuing until the boys are old enough to understand why dad is working 7 days a week for 2 months.  I will be running less trips and spending a few more days with family.   That being said I have already been booking 2018 salmon trips so if you have dates you want to fish with me I would recommend getting them booked soon.  I will be blocking off dates on my calendar on http://www.fisherguiding.com as they are booked if you want to see what is available. This should be done by the end of the week.

If you were a guest of mine for the 2017 Salmon Season thank you for making it awesome and I hope to see you again in 2018.

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You have just landed the fish of a lifetime and you want more than just a picture to remember it by. Taxidermy is the first thing that comes to mind. You would love to see a mount of the fish on the wall.  The question is who do you take it to.  This is where it can get complicated.

If you already know someone who does taxidermy and you like the work they do then your choice is easy. However, if you are out of town or don’t know any taxidermists then you need to make a decision.  The first decision is do you want a skin mount or a reproduction. The big plus to the reproduction is with a few good pictures and measurements you can release or eat the fish and still put it on the wall.  Once that is decided now where do you go.

If you are fishing with a guide there is a good chance they will have someone they recommend. Personally I recommend people to Anglers Choice Fish Mounts as he does excellent work. I have not seen a fish he has done that didn’t look good.  His prices aren’t the cheapest but also not the most expensive and you get what you pay for. Actually sometimes you don’t get what you paid for and that will leave you with an ugly fish on the wall ruining the whole memory of the catch.  The last thing you want is to pay top dollar for a mount and be unhappy with it. This brings me to my next point.

If you aren’t with a guide ask your fishing friends or a local tackle shop for a recommendation. Many tackle shops are drop off locations for taxidermist.

Even if you have been recommended to someone look at their work first.  Make sure the fish they do look good. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to fish mounts. Make sure the work they do matches what you like. If possible go to the shop in person and look at the fish they have there.  DO NOT just agree to have your fish mounted with out seeing work first. I know of multiple people who have had fish mounted and were unhappy with the results. You want the fish to look like it did when it was caught.

Price is normally a concern when it comes to taxidermy. I am all about shopping around and comparing prices but only if you are happy with the quality of multiple peoples work. DO NOT compromise quality to save a couple bucks an inch.  Remember most likely you aren’t getting fish mounted that often and it is going to be hanging on your wall. You want to be proud to show it off to your friends.

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Everyone has different levels of experience and abilities.  There is no getting around that. When planning an outdoor adventure you need to remember this and be honest about it.  You also need to remember you might not be as good as you once were.  This is true for many aspects of your trip.

When you set up a trip with a guide they may ask you questions trying to judge your abilities. Based on the answers you give them they then plan out said trip.  This is why honesty is important.  Any good guide is going to have a plan b and probably a plan c. However, if you weren’t honest on the phone plan b and c might not be any better than the original plan.

This is especially important if your trip includes fishing back country out of the way waters and you have to hike to get to them.  You might have had no problem hiking for miles fishing in your younger or lighter years.  If those days have gone by and you don’t have time to get back into shape be honest. Tell your guide if you have trouble getting around or if you have knee problems.  Ask them if they can still put you on fish with out long walks to the water. If you don’t you may arrive and quickly find out you are not up for what the guide has planned.

This recently happened to me. I was told by a gentleman that him and his sons were used to hiking 3 to 6 miles in search of wild trout.  They wanted to fish somewhat remote areas where they wouldn’t see many people if any at all.  I was excited to book this trip as it is one of my favorites.  I started planning months before they trip and had 4 streams mapped out for the two days they would be fishing with me.  One of these streams required some bushwacking as there are no worn down trails and the other included a half mile walk from the truck followed by multiple waterfall climbs.  After fishing these two spots on day one I knew that my plans for day two were out the window and it was time to scramble and come up with a plan d.

The original stream for day two involved a few miles of step grade and big boulders.  This left me scratching my head as I needed easy walking wilderness fishing.  As you probably already know those don’t go together that often.  I scraped together a plan and we did our best on day 2 actually landing the biggest wild brook trout and wild brown trout of the weekend.  At the end of the day I was left feeling like two of my four guests weren’t happy with the results of the day.  I don’t like that feeling at all and of course went home and tried to figure out what I could have done different.

The answer was nothing. If had taken them any where that was easier walking it would have involved stocked fish and/or an urban environment.  Two things they didn’t want. In the end given correct knowledge of their ability I could have planned out the days a bit different as to not beat them up so much on the first day. I could have also explained ahead of time that I could put them on some big fish with easy walking on day two but we would be fishing in the middle of town. If they were honest with themselves that might have been alright with the idea.

Here is a list of some of things you should be upfront about when talking to your guide before the trip.

  1. What time you are willing to get out of bed. – Many guides want to be on the water before sun up.
  2. Your physical ability – Can you hike all day or would a boat be a better option.
  3. Your fishing ability – Don’t say you can cast an indicator rig 70 feet unless you can. This will come out very quickly.  A good guide will put you within your casting range of the fish.
  4. What you are expecting to catch. Make sure your expectations align with what the guide is planning to fish for. If you want 20 inch wild brook trout in a small stream it’s probably not going to happen.
  5. Any food allergies. Especially if the guide is providing food.

 

Just be honest with yourself and your guide. It will make for a much more enjoyable trip.

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Most years I hope for a wet spring. A wet spring normally extends the good fishing by a few weeks or more. However, this is getting ridiculous. 

The lake is flooding and people are losing lots of money. Businesses that habe been waiting all winter to start making money are under water. Even worse are the memories lost when a family camp or home is washed into the lake or flooded beyond repair. My heart goes out to these people.  

Enough with the doom and gloom. Let’s get to the good points of all this rain

  1. Trout were stocked in many places just before it started. This means those fish were able to spread out in the streams before the poachers got them.
  2. We will have good flows and cool water through June and maybe into July for the Tug Hill trout streams. Trout fishing on Tug Hill is going to be good this year. 
  3. Steelhead fishing on the Salmon River will extend well into mid May. 
  4. Back country bass ponds should remain full of water and fish we’ll through the entire summer this year. 

Now let’s all just hope the rain stops soon. While you are sitting at home hoping make sure your gear is ready. When the water receeds it’s going to be on in a big way. 

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I am going to start off by saying if you like reading fishing stories just scroll right to the bottom of this post click on one of the links and buy the book. I’d say that sums up how I feel about this book and I probably could end the review right now but i’ll dig a little deeper.

For years I have enjoyed the writings of John Gierach. I own almost all of his books and at one time did own all of them. Now I am not going to say Mark is the next John Gierach, He would have to get a lot better at fly fishing to do that.  What I will say is that if you enjoy John’s work you will definitely enjoy this book.  Mark doesn’t an excellent job of telling the stories of his fishing adventures along with adding in a little hidden message here and there.  Somehow he can even take a bad day fishing and turn it into a great story. Well there is no such thing as a bad day of fishing but you know what I mean.

Someone told Mark that he enjoyed his stories because they were just the right length to read in the bathroom each morning. I am going to disagree with this book being brought into the bathroom. My reason why is that you will likely find yourself sitting there on an uncomfortable seat surrounded by a less than pleasant smell much longer that you need too be. I also would not try to read one of the chapters of the book quick while you have your coffee before work. More that one morning I was late leaving the house because one quick chapter turned into three.  For those of you that might not be good at picking up on subtle hints this book is very hard to put down once your start.

The stories are very easy to relate to on many levels. If you are from New York or fish in New York you will likely enjoy the fact that most of the stories take place on New York waters.  Unlike many fly fishing books that the author only focuses on fishing for trout Mark chases anything that swims.

Now for the bad parts. After reading this book I really want to quit my job, buy JP Ross out of fly rods, and just fish.  I can’t remember why any of that was bad. Oh yeah I have a family to take care of and if I quit my job I won’t be able to afford JP Ross rods. If you don’t already own a JP Ross rod you might after reading this book. I have one being delivered this week and I have a feeling it will not be the last. All kidding aside there was not one part of this book I didn’t enjoy reading. If you have a fishing book collection this is a must add.

I have a feeling there will be more great books in the future from Mark and I am looking forward to adding them to my collection.

Here are some places you can buy Reflections of a Fly Rod by Mark Usyk. Now click one of the links and spend the $15 bucks. You will be glad you did.

https://www.createspace.com/6680094

Reflections of a fly rod by Mark Usyk

https://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Fly-Rod-Mark-Usyk/dp/1540779289

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/reflections-of-a-fly-rod-mark-j-usyk/1125422100?ean=9781540779281&st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_Core+Shopping+Books_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP62465

 

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Today I finally was able to fish one of the Echo rods I purchased a couple months ago. The rod has been fished by multiple customers and I have made some demonstration casts with it but never had time to fish it myself. 

This morning that changed when I decided to head to the river for a couple hours. As I hiked to a couple holes that I have only fished by drift boat I imeaditly noticed how light it felt to carry. I have it paired with an Echo Ion reel and Airflo line.

The rod fished very well. I was casting a 1″ Air Lock indicator four size b split shot and an egg pattern with no problem. I was able to cast overhand, roll cast, and single hand spey cast this rod with no issues. The 10 foot rod makes mending line a breeze. It was a typical steelhead day so I was fishing in rain, sleet, and snow all just two hours. Oh and add wind gusts of 20 mph which made casting tough but the Ion got the job done. 

Unfortunately I didn’t find a steelhead that wanted what I had to offer so I still haven’t fought a fish on it. However, my customers tell me it handles fish very well. At around $160 I think it’s a top choice for someone who wants a high end performing rod without the high end price tag. Pair it with an Ion reel for another $100 and you have a killer combo for under $300. 

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