Dedicated to the relentless pursuit of fish on the fly. Welcome to the obsession, I hope you enjoy the pics and ramblings. If you like what you see (or really don't), feel free to drop me an email at And when you're done, get your waders on and get out there, cause the only way to catch 'em is with your bug in the water.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ririe Bass Tournament and The Ranch

Idaho again, this time it was the Ririe Bass Tournament. Andrew D. and I met up with Mark Bromley to lay the hurt on some smallmouth. 13 teams showed up in what must be the silliest looking bass tournament ever. Did I mention it's fly only? So picture a bunch of drifboats with little outboards on them buzzing from place to place on a lake, then stopping and rowing around casting at smallies. The "real" bass guys would probably just scratch their heads and wonder what's wrong with us.

The fishing wasn't exactly on fire all day, but we did pull several smallfaces and had a good time of it. Of course, true to form, none of our fish met the minimum length requirement for submission and the Pinedale boys sat out another weigh in.

All in all, there was great weather, cold beer, and plenty of laughs. After weigh-in, most folks packed up and headed north to the Trouthunter at Last Chance on the Henry's Fork. The Ranch was set to open the next morning and the Trouthunter held its annual opener bash. A veritable who's who of rogues and ruffians of the WY/ID/MT fishing community showed up for live music, a big 'ol pig roast, and a party that lasted well into the morning hours.

Opening morning brought people staggering zombie-like out of their trucks and into the trouthunter for a killer breakfast before wandering down the banks of the fabled Harriman Ranch. Bluebird skies and plenty of bug activity greeted us as we walked downstream, vigilantly watching the water for any sign of a feeding fish. For those unfamiliar, the Ranch is the epitome of technical dry fly fishing. You spot a feeding fish, stalk up to within position, and make the best presentation you've got. And most of the time you're going to get shut down. But if you do manage to make a perfect presentation and achieve a perfect drift with just the right fly, you may just have that tank rainbow come up and slurp it in. This was not the case on this day. The wind steadily increased all day, knocking the bugs down and making casting difficult at best. After watching water for most of the day without seeing more than a couple rises, we finally decided to pack it in. Prime time it's not, and so once again, we have to wait.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Runoff. Ick.

Dude, this runoff totally sucks. In fact, we knew heading out that it would "suck balls." Everything from Idaho to Utah to Colorado is blown out due to the huge snowpack in the mountains. Today's excursion was full of loathing at the horrible conditions that always accompany this time of year. He he he.
Oh yeah, there's some language in the videos. This tends to happen a lot around runoff time. So don't say you weren't warned.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Blackfoot. Again.

A few thousand miles away, somewhere in southeast Idaho's high country, they began gathering. Fish bums. And not your ordinary fish bums. Messed up fish bums. The kind that will endure shitty weather and raging hangovers in the pursuit of...ok, that all sounds pretty standard, really. What else could it be, if not the Fin Chasers Carp Classic 7? The bums started showing up two days before the tournament and were well entrenched by the time I rolled in with Andrew D. and Kit P. the night before the thing officially kicked off.

There's gold at the end of that rainbow...

The tournament commenced as usual, with a furious dust cloud departing camp as soon as the morning meeting concluded. In keeping with tradition, the weather on friday was pretty lousy. Overcast, scattered showers, and heavy wind. With no prospect of finding fish on the horizon, some folks found sleeping on the back of their team's boat more productive...

Despite conditions being pretty nasty, the party got going friday night and eventually the wind died down, the rain stopped, and the fires burned bright until early the next morning. Upon daybreak, we were greeted by two glorious things, Gary the lifesaver cooking breakfast as he always does during the event, and a dead calm, bluebird day.

The fishing that followed on that saturday can only be described as legendary. The weigh in at the end of the day resulted in the largest tally ever recorded in the history of the tournament. Of course, my team contributed approximately nothing to that tally. We did, however, set a new team best of hooking a half dozen fish during the course of the day. Maybe next year we'll actually land something...

Time for an update

Ok, where to begin? I suppose I'll have to go back to the end of April, with a week bouncing around Florida with Stuart Bradow. We started near Orlando on some very fishy bass water. Stuart's daughter Sarah met up with us for some bigmouth action and proceeded to show the boys how it's done.

Poppers and big hairy topwater bugs were the order of the day, with angry greenfish exploding through the roof to destroy whatever made a lot of noise.
As the sun set, Stuart and I hit the road to the Keys, driving overnight and finally getting in to Big Pine just in time to drop the boat in and cruise the flats in search of whatever we could find.

I'd heard it had been a tough spring, with water temps over the winter being a bit colder than usual. Well, we found out the hard way just how true that was. With three long days spent prowling between Big Pine and Key West, we only spotted a handful of bones and permit, only one of which was even remotely interested in having a look at a fly. Ouch. We did manage a few mangrove snappers around some wrecks, but the big boys just didn't want to play. It was time to change it up. Hitting the road again, we cruised up to the Tampa Bay area and met up with Stuart's brother to chase speckled trout and redfish. At this point the Florida boys were resorting to bait, but I just had to throw flies.

We got into the trout pretty heavy, with some big schools working in the bay. I also managed to pick up a lizardfish and a wee baby jack crevalle for good measure. And by wee, I mean wee.

At this point, you may be asking yourself "Really? That's it?" Well, yeah. That's it. We didn't see a lot of fish. And that's just fine with me. We fished hard and did everything right, and for the most part, the fish just weren't there. What was there was great weather, good friends, cold beers, and a lot of laughs. And that's every bit as important. Which brings us to the next thing....
Quit reading this now and go fishing