Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Flashback: Friends who don't fly fish edition

Phil, almost too drunk to set the hook.
When I was going to school at CWU, I had a lot of friend who were interested in fly fishing, and if I had the time I would try to take them.  This weeks flashback includes Phil, an old dorm buddy and friend from my time living on "Creekside" street.  It also includes Ian and Jared, my neighbors from the creekside days.  These pics were all from their first day ever fly fishing, and a beer or two may have been involved.
Jared showing off the one hand "hold it like a hot dog" pose.
It doesn't look like it, but I remember Ian having pants on.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Salmon fishing in the sound

Gary getting after it

A little over a week ago Ke'lah and I hopped on a plane and flew to Seattle for a wedding of a long time friend.  Excited about the party that would take place, and a weekend in the city, I had absolutely no plans of even thinking about fishing.  These plans were interrupted during the wedding reception when my buddy Brian asked if I would like to go salmon fishing the following morning at 5:30 a.m.  A quick glance for approval from the wife, and plans were made.

Growing up a true eastsider (509 not 425) it is still amazing to me that you can hop in a boat and run 10 minutes into the sound and catch salmon, but this is exactly what we did.  Brian picked me and Gary (another wedding guest, good friend and unplanned angler) up at Bell Harbor and 10 minutes later we were in the middle of the glassy puget sound, rigging up down riggers and hearing other boats troll by.

Brian left me the job of rigging up the downriggers while he assembled some other gear.  It has been no less than a dozen years since I had assembled this type of gear, but after a few helpful pointers we were ready to troll.  Because of the unplanned nature of this trip we had about 2.5 hours to capitalize on the Coho's that were milling around our down rigger ball.    About half way through our allotted time one of the rods sprang to life, and Garey jumped up and reeled in a nice 5lbs hatchery silver.  We quickly dispatched of the fish, and dropped the rigs again.

Our second fish was not quite as efficient as the first.  While sitting in the boat bullshitting as friends who haven't seen eachother in a while do, it took a nearby boat hollering over at us "you got one" for us to notice the rod shaking with life.  This time it was my turn, and I brought in a fish that could have been the twin sister of Gary's fish.

After dispatching of our second fish we finished out our time with a few more passes over the "kill zone" and then reeled everything in and sped back to the dock.  A quick goodbye and many thank you's and Gary and I arrived back at our hotels, coffee in hand, ahead of schedule.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pacific Fly Fishers Wheel of Backing

Ben Zander showing off the backing color wheel
One of my favorite fly shops is Pacific Fly Fishers in Mill Creek, Wa.  Located withing a mile of the inlaws is certainly a bonus.  They have an awesome selection of spey materials, great employees and are more creative than your average shop.  This creativity shows through in the backing color selector that is nailed to the wall behind the counter.  The wheel of backing color gives customers who can't chose what color to get on their new reel an easy way to select as well as a couple of different options.  Next time you're in the north sound, stop by PFF and give the wheel a spin!
Close up of the wheel

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Flashback

5 pounder in the net.

This weeks friday flashback is one of my favorite pictures from my time in Montana.  This day a pile of good friends and I went to the upper Yellowstone to go catch cutties on dries.  I don't remember why we were passing Ruby between Modobi's boat and Brazda's, but ringo snapped this shot, and it always cracks me up.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Catchin' Hawgs!

Bob picking out the right bug.
Earlier this summer an old friend and client invited me to attend the 9th annual Catching Hawgs tournament that took place last week in Missoula.  The tournament consisted of 9 teams of 2 anglers fishing two days with the guides of the Kingfisher Fly Shop, one of the many great fly shops that Missoula has to offer.  I got up early on the first day and cruised I-90 for two days of fishing west of the divide, something I hadn't done in the state of Montana for 5 years.
That morning at the fly shop each guide drew a number for their team, and we were drawn by bitteroot guide Bob De Jong.  The guides then drew for their chance to choose where we floated, and Bob got to pick the float he liked, Tucker to Bell on the Bitteroot.  After a short amount of trash talking to the other teams, we loaded into the trucks and headed south to the Root.
Close up Westslope
The tournament rules called for every trout under 16" counting for 3 points, and 16" counting for 6 points, 17" for 7 points and so on.  This was a very fun twist to a guide trip, because it motivated us to land the "3 pointers" that one might normally try to let go without much effort.  This was also good because although our guide Bob absolutely worked his ass off dragging us around the Bitteroot and changing flies continuously, 3 pointers were the name of the game with a few exceptions.
Getting measured in the "Trough"
Each fish over 16" got to be put into "The Hawg Trough" a plastic slot that allowed for quick, safe measuring.  After our two days, both of which saw us put a lot of 3 pointers in the boat along with a couple of fish in the trough, we were out of contention for the championship.
Although the championship was not brought home, the amount of fun had in our raft was next level.  It was was great catching up with an old friend, and incredibly fun to fish on a guide trip rather than pull on the oars all day.  A HUGE thanks goes out to my buddy Ric for organizing this event, inviting me along and being a great partner.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Smokey Skies

Smoke screened sunrise
Lots of fires around SWMT these days, which is creating some great sunrises and sunsets.  The smoke also creates some artificial could cover that keeps the trout rising longer than they should.  The photo above is a sunrise over the Tobacco Roots taken by my good friend Paul Ishii.  It is one of only a few pictures we had from this past weekend, because we were way to busy catching fish.  Only a few more weeks of hopper fishing, probably a good time to hit the vise before you hit the water, because they have all seen a golden chubby 100 times.
Ok, we did get some trout pics.  By P. Ishii.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Flashback

It's all about the shirt
Dave, tired of not catching anything on dries
This weeks flashback is a two-pack from a trip Dave and I made to Missoula years ago, trying to hit the salmonfly hatch.  We didn't get anything going with the big bugs, but we smashed a bunch of them on nymphs (thanks to Dave) and had a great time.  I get to head over to grizz country next week and be a part of a fishing derby and ride in the back of a guide boat as the client (gasp!).  Really looking forward to seeing some of the water that Dave and I used to terrorize.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Gear Review: Redington Sonic Pro Rain Jacket

Dad, modeling.
Note:  I wrote this review this spring, and didn't feel right posting a jacket review when it was 90 degrees out.  I just wore this jacket two mornings ago, and thought it appropriate to throw it up now.

I got the opportunity to use some new Redington Sonic Pro equipment this winter during our steelhead season, and here is the first of a series of reviews.  This first review is on the Sonic Pro Jacket, a heavy duty rain jacket designed to keep you dry in those storms that one might refer to as "The Darkness".  Living in Forks, WA for the winter gave me a prime opportunity to test out the Sonic Pro, and give it a lot of use in true rain jacket test conditions.  If there is one thing you want your gear to do in the rainforest is to keep you dry, and this jacket did that and more.

There are a lot of great features in this Jacket, especially since the price tag reads $299.99.  As a guide, one feature I can't do without is good cuffs.  Rowing with your hands towards the sky just invites rain down your arm and soaked sleeves.  The sonic pro has a very comfortable cuffs that tighten down and have a soft rubber feel to them which keeps water out.  Another feature that I really like was the pockets.  The chest has two sets of pockets on each side, and the inside has a zippered pocket as well as a large mesh pocket for easier access.

Ron Sr. modeling, Ron Jr. crushing!
The fit and cut of this jacket was good, and the sleeve length fit, which is unusual for me.  At 6'5" 235lbs this jacket was cut just about perfect.  My Dad (6'1")  also wore the jacket for a couple of days and it fit him great as well.  My only complaint about this jacket was the hood was larger than I prefer, but after speaking with Redington about the issue, I found that it had already been resolved.  After about 40 days of use there were no signs of wear or tear, and everything, including the waterproof zippers, worked as well as they did on day one.

Overall, if I were in the market for a rain jacket, I would certainly check out the Redington Sonic Pro.  I really dug the pocket layout, cuff style, sleeves, and of course the price.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Reason #17 Montana is the Greatest State in the Union

Ruby wondering when she's getting here gin and tonic.

When you get out into small town Montana, a dog in a bar is more of a necessity than a nuisance.  In fact, there are times when there are more dogs than people in our local watering hole.  If you are in a trout town in the 406 and you don't see a dog in it on your first couple visits, you might reconsider your location.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Congratulations to good friends Andrew and Lisa for their recent marriage!  For their honeymoon they took a trip to B.C. for a some steelhead fishing and Lisa managed to find this incredibly bright and beautiful fish.  Here's to many years of great marriage and equally awesome steelhead.  And thanks for repping EvoAnglers Andrew!