COSMOLEDO, THE LAND OF GIANTS ANOTHER YEAR WITH GIANTS THE UPPER ZHUPONOVA #17
Photo by Keith Rose-Innes
Now that the season is in full swing, we’re relieved and happy to serve up yet another dish of extra-ordinary fly fishing photography and journalism. And then it’s time to head out for some well-earned fly fishing off-time. Having conjured another great mixture of destination articles, interviews, profiles and features, we’re now starving for some action - and we’re ready to throw anything random fly at any random fish. Hopefully, so will you after reading this Summer-edition. This issue boasts contributions from both well-known and underexposed fly fishing profiles such as April Vokey, Keith Rose-Innes, Ken Morrish, Jonatan Ternald, Ruth Sims, Camille Egdorf, Clare Carter, and Nils Folmer Jorgensen. Tight Lines// The In the Loop Crew
Photo by Clare Carter
LAND OF GIANTS
CRACKING THE CODE
The Land Of Giants by Keith Rose-Innes Another Year With The Giants by Nils Folmer Jorgensen Cracking The Code by Clare Carter The Upper Zhuponova by Camille Egdorf The Heart And Soul Of Patagonia by Ken Morrish Chase It by April Vokey And much much more...
Contributors KEITH ROSE-INNES
In the Loop Magazine C/O Cast Away Media Org no: 999 320 147 www.intheloopmag.com
By Kyle Kolodziejski
Keith Rose-Innes is an experienced globetrotting fly fisherman and photographer, who has fallen in love with saltwater game species such as milkfish, triggerfish, into-pacific permit, bonefish and not least giant trevally. He works as the Managing Director and guide of Alphonse Fishing Co, which has destinations like Alphonse Island, Cosmoledo Atoll, Astove Atoll and Poivre Atoll in the Seychelles, and throughout the years he has been involved in many exploratory fly fishing trips, cool film projects and contributed great material to magazines across the globe. www.alphonsefishingco.com
NILS FOLMER JORGENSEN
Nils Jorgensen is a graphics and product designer based in Iceland and running his own company, NFJdesign. He has designed rods, reels, lines, and clothing for several fly fishing brands, and in the summer, he fishes constantly and guides a bit. Since his grandfather gave him a splitcane fly rod at the age of 11, he has fished many species around the world. Now its mostly Atlantic salmon and trout in Iceland, and in the wintertime bonefish in the south.
We choose not to print this magazine and we are happy not to use paper and harmful inks as used in a conventional printing process. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher.
Clare started fishing for trout at the age of 5 - on the river Test with her father, and by 14, she was fly fishing for salmon in Scotland. Nowadays, Clare fly fishes all over the world: in Russia, Alaska, the Seychelles, Madagascar, Australia, Cuba, Oman, Abu Dhabi, the UAE etc. etc. She is living her dream, exploring new destinations and making fishing her work and life path. Besides traveling, fly rod in hand, she also spends lots of time educating and protecting local areas across the world, so that we will have beautiful and prolific places to fish for generations to come.
As if fly fishing wasn’t aesthetically pleasing enough to begin with, here comes the beautiful April Vokey – a fly fishing femme fatale from the Western corner of British Columbia. April works full time as an FFF Certified fly fishing instructor and has a flourishing guide company, Fly Gal Ventures, that operates in the Dean, Fraser and Skeena regions. April has written articles for fishing magazines throughout the world, and she has fiercely committed herself to promoting the sport of fly fishing through words, pictures, and action.
Jonatan ternald is born and bred on a small island on the Swedish west cost. Here, he fishes for sea-run brown trout and it’s here that he develops his incredible coastal flies. He is obsessed with imitating shrimps and small baitfish, and by now, his flies are catching fish all over the globe: bonefish and redfish in the U.S, browns in Norway and permit in Australia. You can follow Jonatan and his efforts at the fly tying vice here: https://www.instagram.com/jonatan_ternald/
A Montana resident currently residing in Bozeman, Camille Egdorf has made a life for herself in the fly fishing industry. She currently works for Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures where she manages their Christmas Island and Alaska programs and assists with Kamchatka. She is also a travel host and hosts a number of trips to various destinations including Alaska, Christmas Island, Brazil, Argentina, Kamchatka, Belize, Seychelles, Guyana and many more. Camille is always planning the next great adventure so if you’d like to join her on some of her exotic travels, please feel free to check the Yellow Dog website for more details!
Fourth generation fly fisher who has guided throughout Alaska, Oregon, and California. He has taught hundreds of students the fundamentals of the sport, managed fly shops, consulted with leading fly rod manufacturers and designed an extensive line of popular fly patterns produced by Umpqua Feather Merchants. Ken is Chief Operating Officer of the travel agency Flywatertravel, which is based in Ashland, Oregon/USA.
WANNA CONTRIBUTE? Do you have any great fly fishing photos, videos, or stories that you would like to share with our readers? If so, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We are always looking for quality material for In the Loop Magazine, and we look forward to reviewing your material.
THE LAND OF GIANTS
By KEITH ROSE-INNES
The Seychelles is home to some of the worldâ€™s best saltwater fly fishing. And with an abundant presence of some of the most exciting saltwater game fish around, the Seychelles atolls have fast gained worldwide recognition.
The atoll’s name is Cosmoledo, a stone’s throw away from the world heritage site of Aldabra, and in many respects resembles the latter. It is often referred to as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean. This huge atoll, almost three times the size of Farquhar, is planet earth’s giant trevally headquarters and home to outstanding double-digit bonefish. Not only that, but it is home to some of the biggest milkfish you’ll ever see! Cosmoledo consists of a coral ring about eight miles wide, with four major islands occupying the cardinal points of the compass. Menai and Wizard islands occupy the east and west points and were named after the two ships that explored the atoll on the Moresby Expedition in 1822. The south island sits near the main entrance to the inner lagoon, while the second smaller entrance is just south of Menai. The northern islands are interspersed with numerous islets and banks. Cosmoledo is a true example of nat-
ural regeneration. This atoll, along with Aldabra, Assumption, Astove, Marie Louise, Desnoeufs and Remire, was one of those rented by the government to produce commodities. In the nineteenth century, Cosmoledo produced tobacco, tomatoes, cotton and later copra, maize and gironom. Sea turtles were harvested on a large scale, along with hundreds of tons of the famous burgot (a big shellfish whose thick shell is used to make mother-of-pearl buttons). Until the 1970s the copra fields were worked, but when the costs of producing it exceeded its market value, production ceased. Left to itself for many decades, Cosmoledo is now simply the home to a rejuvenated ecosystem. Along with the abundance of all Seychelles sea life, which frequents this atoll is a legion of giants. Firstly, there is the lazy giant tortoise, some over a hundred years old, lounging in the shade of the palms. Then, in the shallows as far as the eye can see, giant sea turtles prepare to mate.
But, more importantly - the waters surrounding Cosmoledo are the domain of huge giant trevally (GT’s), the powerful milkfish, the finicky Indo-Pacific permit, big bonefish and a host of triggerfish species including moustache-, yellow margin-, and Picasso triggerfish. A visit to this Indian Ocean ShangriLa with Alphonse Fishing Company begins with a three-hour charter flight from Mahé to Astove, Cosmoledo’s closest island with an operational airstrip, which is where the 85ft sailing yacht Lonestar is waiting. This luxurious vessel features a host of facilities you wouldn’t normally expect on an outbound trip to Cosmoledo Atoll. The Lone Star caters to eight fly fishing guests with five en-suite guest cabins situated on either side of the saloon and relaxing area. All cabins and indoor areas are fully air conditioned, allowing guests a chance to relax in a comfortable environment after a long days fishing out on the flats. She is extremely stable, spacious and more importantly has a
1,85 meter draft that allows her to anchor inside the calm waters of Cosmoledo lagoon. This southern entrance - sometimes referred to as a roaring river, makes you quickly realize how large the tidal rise and fall are. The charts show a two-and-a-half meter shift, but the experience would make you think that it is in the region of three to four meters. The Seychelles’ sand flats are unlike most others in the world. The sand is white and hard, making wading easy and spotting fish even easier. And there is plenty to see! As the target species variety on this atoll is so wide, trying to cover all aspects by discussing habits, tackle and tactics for each would require articles in their own. But briefly... Anyone who’s read about catching milkfish on the fly will know Lefty Kreh’s famous words. Milkfish reach “40 lb or more, with bonefish speed and tarpon power... a better fighter than the bonefish and one of our greatest challenges in flyfishing”.
He went on to say: “Someone in the future will work out a formula for catching milkfish. When he does, we will be able to fish for one of the greatest inshore trophies in all of saltwater.” Arno Matthee, one of South Africa’s most respected flyfishing guides, is credited with deciphering the code for catching milkfish, a fish that was always thought to have been almost uncatchable on a rod and reel, let alone a fly-rod. The secret is to use special flies that imitate lush green algae and to target the milkfish when they school up and feed. Indeed, one’s mouth waters at the sight of huge shoals of milkfish frequenting the channels, flats and offshore areas of Cosmoledo, and knowing they can be caught will simply leave you breathless. The best bone fishing is on Menai and Wizard islands where a huge populations of fish feed to the rhythm of the tides. They move to the shoreline on the ebb, and spread out onto the far reaches of the flats on the flood. On Wizard Island fish of up to 10 lb congregate in large schools very close to shore where they wait out the predator’s hour. Walking this edge will often produce a trophy fish.
The permit and the triggerfish comprise a chapter of their own, but what most people travel to Cosmoledo for is GT’s: The ravenous gangsters of the flats that have become notorious for their gory nonchalance and explosive temper. Even the name sends shivers down my spine and conjures up memories of true mayhem and epicness. Among them is a GT session a while back, where we waited out the last bit of the ebb at Cosmoledo and positioned ourselves for the incoming tide. It’s all about positioning yourself on an access point and if you hit it right the GT’s will come on rays, sharks and in packs. Suddenly, there were the fish! With my rod firmly locked under my arm, I stripped off as much line as possible and tightened the drag. With the thought “make them chase something” firmly ingrained into my subconscious, I made a cast and lead the fish by a couple of meters. As the fly landed there was instant interest and I clearly saw how their pectorals extended as they turned. I stripped as fast as humanly possible... the fish followed, jostling
for the fly and creating a submarine-like bow wave in the transparent water. Then, with big, black dilated eyes firmly locked on the fly, one fish took the lead. The eyes came straight towards me, and then - at the right time - I missed a strip. Instantaneously, the GT’s mouth opened to engulf the fly, the water exploded - and with three short, sharp movements I drove the hook home. In a split second the line cleared through my fingers and onto the reel. In a bid for freedom the fish headed for deeper water with fluorescent backing trailing behind it. Turning to see what my partner was up to, I saw him casting at three other large fish. In a smooth movement he’s also hooked up. As I followed the fish I realized that once again we were in for a hell of an afternoon. With the tidal flood came waves of GT’s, sometimes more than ten strong in a group – and my pre-trip intention of casting the fly to as many GT’s as possible somehow fell away.
The action was continuous throughout the day as I pulled the fly away from the smaller fish and cast it to larger GT’s. The saying: “time flies when you’re having fun” seemed to be an understatement as, an hour or so later we were battling to even stand. The tide had pushed in so high that it was around our waists. With the count being six apiece, we were picked up by the tender and moved closer to the island. In an almost exact replica of the earlier action, the mayhem continued and time seemed to stand still with the excitement. For more info, please check: www.alphonsefishingco.com
Another Year With The Giants
By NILS FOLMER JORGENSEN
Fishing in Iceland has a reputation of being extremely expensive, and many people have gotten the impression that you can catch endless amounts of trout and salmon. While there is certainly some truth in that, there are also numerous fisheries where hard work is required. But then the rewards are usually bigger!
My season is typically very hectic and stressful, since the winters here in Iceland are long and bitterly cold. I start out in April targeting seatrout and move on to brown trout, arctic char and – not least – salmon. 2016, was no different. But I will remember it for it’s massive amount of huge fish. I started off in Huseyjarkvisl where the fishing was red hot, and I managed to land three sea trout topped off by an 82 cm specimen, followed by a quick session on the Vididalsá, where 7 salmon (kelt) between 82 and 92cm came to the fly.
provided great fishing. Especially the Blanda provided me with some great memories. Here I picked up a few salmon on traditional downstream fishing with a Jock Scott tube, but I then decided to fish the more intense and challenging riffling hitch. I had never tried that on the Blanda but it made the fishing far more interesting. The Salmon went absolutely nuts for a mediums sized Kolskeggur hitch tube skated crosscurrent, and I ended up with 26 Salmon up to 96 cm.
Then came the season opening on Thingvallavatn – Iceland’s biggest lake, which once again proved to boast some of the best brown trout fishing on the face of the planet. Here, I warmed up with several fish – including an immaculate 74cm brute, and it was just the beginning. In May, when I returned with a good friend, I landed 66 Trout with 4 over 20lbs in a week! The fishing was off the charts.
The salmon, however, got bigger as the season progressed. On the Laxa in Adalsals Nes, I caught 19 salmon with many in the late 90s and one breaking the 100cm mark and later on returned to get a 104cm salmon. In September, while fishing the Laxa in Adaldal on my birthday, I was blessed with an unforgettable session, which started off with a 101cm salmon and continued with two aggressive male salmon that measured 102 and 105cm, respectively.
June had me visit the Blanda, Nordura, and Laxa in Adaldal – and they all
All of it was topped off with a 108cm salmon.
And then there was all the good company! For instance, I had the pleasure of hosting Jim Bartschi from Scott and Jarle Kristiansen from Flyfish Europe in September. Jim was keen on catching a big brown trout, so we tried something I had never tried before: Thingvallavatn’s ION beat in the autumn. Normally, the fishing gets slower during the summer months, so it was exciting to see how it would be just one month ahead of the spawning. We also planned a day for sea trout in the little Varma River close to Reykjavik. And finally we were to end the trip on the salmon river, Vididalsá. We started our trip on River Varma. Of course, the weather was bad: Heavy winds and heavy rain, so we didn’t head out until later in the evening. Jim and Jarle went to upper part of the river, Ryan and I to the lower. Right away, I heard news from Jarle that Jim had already nailed a 70cm+ seatrout under a waterfall. What a great start!
I was helping Ryan get into some action in the famous pool, Stodvarhylur, which usually holds char in addition to brown trout and seatrout. And would you believe it, he got them all: a veritable Iceland grand slam. We then split out on the river and picked up smaller seatrout here and there. I saw some big ones on the upper river, which in my opinion is the most interesting part of the river. The big ones, however were easily spooked! The next two days we dedicated to IONâ€™s monsters. Would the fish be in the area this time of year? Would the tributary on Beat II attract the trout? Yes! The fish were there, jumping like mad - and behaving unusually. During springtime, the trout feed actively and are often seen head and tailing. Now, they were jumping all out of the water like salmon: big coloured males showing off.
The only problem was that heavy amount of rain had flooded the small tributary and pushed the fish far into the lake - so far, that we could not reach them. We could see them all the time, but only on a few occasions did the fish come within reach. It was all very annoying! We cast and cast and almost gave up. But then it happened: Ryan hooked a fat 74cm trout on a nymph and his trip was saved. Whiskey time! The next evening, I got some action: a 62cm hen and a big coloured male that measured 82cm. All in all, this wasn’t exactly the fishing we had hoped for, but I’m sure things would have been better, if the tributary hadn’t been flooded. The fish were in the area after all! The next three days we spent up north on the River Vidisalsá targeting its challenging salmon. The weather was better here but the story, unfortunately, was the same as on the neighbouring river, Vatnsdalsa: slow fishing. I was splitting Beat III with Jim and Jarle and I went to the upper area and started scouting for salmon in the pool Snagshylur.
I could see at least 4 salmon and a bunch of char standing in the tail, so I went down and cast a 0,5” Autumn Hooker tube fly upstream, stripped it in and bang! First cast: a 78cm female. A smaller one followed down in the pool Upper Valhylur, but that was it for me that evening. My friends Sturli, Teitur and Birgir had done great on beat II with 5 Salmon up to 90 cm landed! So things weren’t altogether impossible. Next morning we were on Beat II. Jim had been out of luck on Thingvallavatn but his stint of bad luck, apparently, wasn’t over. He was trying out a new reel he’d been given as a present, and it almost exploded into pieces when he hooked a huge salmon. Jarle filmed part of the ordeal, and it was a truly messy situation with a huge salmon running and jumping and loads of line flapping about. No wonder, the big salmon eventually broke the line… That day was my first ever on Vididalsa without a salmon. I had one on for a few seconds in the famous Dalsaros pool, but that was it. The Fishing was slow!
The next morning I visited the tributary, Fitja - a small river with great sight fishing possibilities. There were fish in more or less every little pocket in the upper part of the river where I started, but it was very difficult to get to them without spooking them. The first pool I went to was the Bjarnafoss pool close to the uppermost waterfall. I literally just put my head out over the cliff and all the salmon spooked - about 50 of them. I then walked the river and cast to all the fish I saw landing 6 salmon up to 92 cm. (It might seem like a lot, but I spooked way more). Even in faster water, the shadow cast by the fly line oftentimes spooked the fish way before the line landed on the water. The last morning resulted in two very nice salmon in the Dalsaros and Hardeyjarstrengur pools. They measured 81 and 95 cm, and they both came to a small size 14 Autumn Hooker fly. The rain and cold had now hit the north with a vengeance, and I was actually glad that the salmon season was drawing to an end. However, on the last day of September, I got a call from Thorir who invited me to fish Beat IV of the Stora Laxa’s in southern Iceland. I had heard it’s one of the most beautiful plac-
es to fish: A rather inexpensive river with extremely rough terrain but a feeling of raw beauty that you don’t experience anywhere else. It was an offer I couldn’t resist! I got out of town very late and ended up having only a few hours to fish in the evening. Thorir did not make it. Tómas Sigurðsson and Johann Gunn did: two gentlemen I met for the first time and very experienced anglers on this river. They turned out to be really nice guys and very helpful. They were definitely not the kind of people who took the best pools themselves. We drove all the way up through the rough landscape, crossed the river and continued till we could get no further. I walked 20 minutes further up to the most upper pool of the river called Armot. The river was nice indeed: A medium sized river, long classic pools, and gin clear water. It was quite easy to read but still, you wonder where the fish are when you’re visiting the first time. A big male revealed himself in the middle of the pool, while I was scouting from the cliffs. I ran over the upper part fast and landed a smaller salmon close to where I saw the big male.
I was now down by the spot where the big fish had shown, and nothing happened so I did something I don’t normally do. I went through many flies and presentations. In smaller rivers, you normally only get one chance before the fish is spooked. On bigger rivers with fast water, you get more unless you unsettle them wading. I tried changing into a weighted black fly, which was taken on the first cast while sinking. The fish went deep, back and forth, over and over again. I had no doubt it was a big fish over 90cm. I put maximum pressure on the fish until it came to the surface, but then it got stuck on a rock out in the middle of the river. Now, we could see it, but the line was wrapped around rocks - and it was
to deep to wade out. After almost giving up, the fish suddenly came free. With the risk of a damaged leader, I took it easy until Tómas finally got it in the net – a 98cm male salmon. Oh, joy! This was one of my biggest moments this season since I came with no expectations. That was the last fishing day for me in Iceland in 2016. It was a fantastic season where the salmon came very early and big. In my time on Laxa i Adaldal, I have never seen anything like it. On Laxa i Adaldal alone, I landed 7 Salmon over 100 cm! Even rivers that don’t normally produce 1m+ salmon produced giants in 2016: Vatnsdalsa yielded a giant of 110 cm and 3 over 110cm were caught in Adaldal.
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CRACKING THE CODE:
Fly Fishing for Omanâ€™s Elusive Permit
By CLARE CARTER
If you have even the slightest case of permit fever STOP reading this now as it will only exacerbate your symptoms!
We knew they were out there, taunting us, watching us from a safe distance, slowly daisy chaining in the crystal blue depths of the Arabian Ocean or ferociously attacking shallow muscle beds like a pack of hungry wolves. When spooked these behemoths can catapult their giant silver and gold bodies over 4 feet out of the water in all directions, rigid as if paralysed they sail through the air before returning sulkily to the depths…. It’s a sight to be seen! I’m talking about Trachinotus Africanus, or to the avid fly angler… (African) permit! Known to grow to over 20 kilos this beast is one of the larger of the permit species. Ginormous silver bodies, accented with bright yellow/gold fins and a set of somewhat extraordinary plump pink lips (my type of fish!). Found in the Gulf of Aden and Oman, Mozambique and South Africa to Western Indonesia. These brutes were causing us no end of sleepless nights trying to figure out how to actually land one on fly.
With no known records of fly caught Africanus we had to start at the beginning and figure out what made them tick, from feeding patterns, food preference, behaviour, habitat and body language…. this was not going to be an easy task by any means, but having hooked and lost a few we knew it was possible so we set to work. Our off-season was spent researching, discussing, tying all manner of fly patterns from the well known to the rather obscure and planning our attack. Watching, as the last of the Khareef (monsoon) rains rolled back out to sea, taking with it the low lying grey clouds and large murky swell yet leaving us with a rather nasty red tide, all we could do was wait some more. But with blue skies on the horizon the sea slowly started to clear up and come alive with huge schools of sardines and bonito. The word from the locals was that this would be a great fishing season due to the substantial rains that had fallen over the summer months so we were quietly optimistic.
Setting out early, the sun just breaking through the desert mist as it appeared from the east, illuminating the rugged green mountains of Salalah. Reaching our destination we kitted up: 10-weights, a large selection of leaders, various flies and lots of nervous energy at the ready. Slowly drifting along side the reef watching for a large silver flash or cheeky V-sign from a tailing monster, you could cut the tension with a knife! The sun was still low making it hard to see into the water but further ahead I was sure I could see something glinting. Was it a mass of golden tails or just foam and bubbles from the waves as the rising tide desperately tried to engulf the last few inches of rock poking out above the water? As the white waters were rapidly sucked back over the rocks into the aqua blue ocean all was revealed. A school of over 40 fish all frantically feeding, tails waving erratically and giant silver bodies fighting to hold their prime feeding position against the retreating swell.
Brandon was up first, his fly line stripped out and perfectly laid on the deck to avoid any tangles as he stood on the back casting platform ready for action. With the nose of the boat pointing out towards any rogue swell I reversed him into position. Time stood still! All you could hear were the waves crashing against the cliffs and a few sea birds circling above watching us with great interest. I was so nervous: Now was the moment of truth! Would all of our preparation and planning pay off? Carefully he began his cast, a beautiful tailing loop landed the fly quietly just to the left of the school and we both held our breath, strip, strip, the line juddered as the hook nagged over the rocky bottom making us jump each time. Picking up again he recast, this time right into the mass of feeding bodies, I could hardly watch, the tension in the air was tangible, would the line touch one of them and send the whole school leaping for safety? Strip, strip, strip! Just as a wave surged over the group, the line went
tight! Brandon set the hook and we watched, as it ripped through his fingers in a huge curve off to the left, sending the rest of the school literally flying in all directions. Kicking the boat into gear I slowly moved out towards deeper water as Brandon attempted to gain control and get the fish onto the reel. “Did you hook one?” I stupidly found myself saying. “I think so!” came his surprised reply. “In the mouth?” I said in disbelief. “Yeah I saw him turn on my fly” came the reply. Surely not?! It must be foul hooked or some cheeky reef fish had whipped in and stolen the fly right under their noses???? But the reel was screaming and within seconds, backing was disappearing into the deep blue. I was relieved that the fish had made an escape for freedom to deeper waters and not decided to head over the reef where we would have surely lost him on the rocks.
The next few minutes seemed like hours, not a word was spoken. Brandon frantically reeling and then watching line disappear again as I stood staring, mouth wide open, into the deep blue desperately searching for that tell all glimpse of silver. As the beginning of the fly line appeared from the depths and safely back onto his reel we caught our first flash. It was a permit for sure, but which one Indo or Africanus? A dirty fight ensued with bursts of speed followed by violent head shakes as the fish desperately tried to spit the hook. Brandon, showing no mercy, kept the pressure on and guided this gold finned monster towards the boat. As he finally came close I could see his angry eyes glaring through the water at us. He was not giving up that easily and certainly did not like the boat let alone the net. My nerves along with his last few cheeky tricks meant it took a few attempts to actually land him but exhausted and somewhat moodily he finally gave up the fight.
We were speechless. The first Africanus to be caught on a fly rod - and he was absolutely beautiful. What a rush, what a fight, we could hardly believe our eyes! All the hard work, planning, research, waiting, fly tying and time that had gone into working these fish out had finally paid off. Snapping in to action we measured and tagged him, a not too shabby 45cm, he was solid and stocky with small scratches down his sides from the muscle beds topped off with the most extraordinary perfect pink pout I have ever seen. A couple of pictures and he was back in the water, and with one final goodbye tail slap he slunk off to the deep to join his friends and we erupted with joy. No time to waste, it was my turn. Letâ€™s see if this was a fluke or if these buggers really do eat flies! Moving further along the reef we came to another school of fish, happily grazing, not a care in the world. Rod gripped, my palms started to sweat, heart crashing and a huge lump in my throat - I readied myself.
Nerves together with an unpredictable swell made me feel as though I was swaying around like a drunken person. Brandon positioned the boat nose into the waves and started to reverse in. Through the water I could see their hungry mouths decimating every tasty morsel they came across as they frantically fed, eyes wildly searching the rocks and tails flicking in all directions. There is something about permit fishing that makes my knees go weak, I usually try and tell myself that I am seeing just a school of hungry reef fish in the hope that I can trick my brain into staying calm. On a few occasions this has worked, but not today… This time the pressure was on! To be brutally honest my first cast could have been better, I believe Brandon’s comment was something along the lines of “hmmm, I think my granny could do better than that, and she’s never held a fly rod in her life”. Deep breath in and out, with the next cast landing right in the money. Hands shaking, I waited, crouched
over as if I was trying to hide from something or someone. As my fly reached the bottom I started to strip slowly. The sea seemed to calm and I held my breath… but nothing! Picking up I cast again, this time more towards the centre of the school, landing the fly right in the middle of the feeding frenzy. Grimacing I shut my eyes as Brandon hung his head in shame. Oh, God! Please don’t spook, PLEASE DON’T SPOOK! Opening one eye I could see the fish all still feeding, apparently unperturbed. Fly on the bottom I began my retrieve, bumping along the rocky floor somehow dodging the plethora of pink vacuums, I held my breath. As it reached the edge of the school a large silver body seemed to stop and for a second turned his eye to my fly. In an instant he was on it and: ‘Pop’, it disappeared deep into his pink mouth. Setting the hook, the water erupted, fish came charging out from the rocks towards the boat and peeling off to the left and right all around us.
I desperately tried to keep tension on the line as it took off to the right in a huge curve, line slicing through the water and tearing through my fingers. In seconds the reel was screaming as the fish made a bid for freedom, all I could do was hold on and watch as the fly line disappeared and my pink backing followed suit… Bloody hell! Attempting to gain back control I cranked the drag down a little and set about trying to get this monster to play nice. Thank goodness he too, like Brandon’s fish, had run out to sea and not over the reef. But that was just the start: The battle was just beginning. The next 10 minutes felt like a dream. I really can’t remember what exactly happened. It was pure and utter mayhem: A haze of vicious head shakes, violent bursts of speed followed by frantic line retrieval as I attempted to tame him. Finally, after maybe 15 minutes or so he was in sight. I could see his huge silver body as he threw himself about like a stroppy teenager desperately trying to get free. Swimming left then right and even flipping on his back, he was a cheeky bugger for sure, and
boy did he dislike the boat. It took several attempts to get him into the net and a lot of colourful language! Every time he came close he would dive down or tail slap the net out of the way then shoot off to the side to dodge it altogether. F’ing and blinding he finally gave in and succumbed to being landed. And there he was: Sitting in the water, grumpy pink pout and huge inquisitive eyes staring back at me. He was stunning! No time to lose, we tagged, photographed and measured him: A whopping 68cm! A big kiss on those luscious pink lips and I said my goodbyes. With one final swish of his tail he slunk off to join his friends and our mission was complete! We had done it! We had Cracked the code! A new species of permit could now be added to every fly fishing fanatics bucket list and it was time to celebrate! For more info, please visit: http://blog.arabianfly.com/
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The Upper Zhuponova Someone once told me that rivers are the roads of the forests - supplying travel ways for various fish, mammals, birds, amphibians, insects and people to access and consume what they needed. This generous resource isnâ€™t only a vital part of Earthâ€™s ecosystem but also an integral means for the hopeful fisherman to pursue and encounter a timid opportunist.
By CAMILLE EGDORF
Unfortunately, in today’s world, it’s difficult to find a river free of any human influence - a sobering and somber reality of the 21st century. While many may believe the exploration of new lands can only be found in the journals of explorers long past, there is one place that still harbors a sense of the unknown and adventure. Especially for the avid angler. A place with 30 inch rainbow trout eating rodents, carries stories about Super Kundzha, and boasts Russian helicopters and vodka infused Russian fishing guides. These things sparked my curiosity and over the course of several years, the peninsula whom many call, Kamchatka, loomed deep in my thoughts. The smell of diesel wafted through the air as I walked towards a Mi-8 helicopter surrounded by stern faced Russians wearing oil stained overalls. The area was abuzz with anglers taking photos, excited chatter and workers piling gear into the belly of the aircraft. The helicopter itself looked ancient with black exhaust stains blanketing its top half and rickety blades that drooped down like partially cooked noodles. We ar-
rived in Petropavlovsk this morning after a 4 hour flight from Anchorage. I’m here on a two week visitation for Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures where I’ll visit two programs on an esteemed river named the Zhupanova. The first being Zendzur Lodge and the second being the upper Zhupanova Float trip. As we left Petropavlovsk, the vast expanse of lush vegetation is sensational. A thick blanket of forest stretches beyond the horizon and only ends at the base of tall volcanoes or the banks of a river. The most amazing part, there isn’t a sliver of human influence to be seen. Kamchatka has a population just over 340,000 and being slightly larger than state of California, that’s equivalent to 6 miles of land per individual. To say its remote is an understatement. 30 minutes later we were hovering over the lodge, slowly inching closer to the launch pad sitting atop an overlook to the river. Zendzur which accommodates 6 anglers per week and accesses the river by jet boats, has several established buildings including a dining hall, guest cabins and a few sheds in the back for maintenance.
Our guides consisted of two Russians, Nazar and Aleksey, and head guide Greg Kennedy who hailed from Redding, California. The Zhupanova is an impressive river and is the epitome of what a healthy fishery should be. While it’s a grand spectacle surrounded by tall forest laden hills and snow-capped volcanoes, it can be a daunting and intimidating river upon first sight. Decent wading areas are minimal with most of the river being dotted by boulders that create large waves - making certain sections look like raging torrents. But aside from its harsh exterior there is one thing to remember – big water often means big fish and the Zhupanova is no exception to that rule. This river harbors a strain of rainbow that’s not only the largest in Kamchatka but very close to being the largest in the world. The average fish can range between 26 – 28 inches with a giant being 30 – 35 inches in length. However, unlike many rivers on the peninsula, this river requires effort, time and persistence and will not produce exuberant numbers each day.
Instead a realistic expectation is 2 – 5 fish in a day with the possibility of not catch anything. This is a place that will not only test an angler’s skills but their athleticism and tenacity as well. Throughout the week, we accessed different sections of river by way of jet boat and alternated between up and down river each day. Our arsenal of gear was slightly different than the normal trout fair most of us were accustomed to back in the states. Rather than using a light 5 or 6wt to delicately present dries to rising trout, we used 7 and 8wt rods with heavy sink tips, heavy flies like the Dali Lama and Morrish Medusa and 20lb Hatch tippet. Had we used anything lighter, we would have been stripped of our dignity and left in shock at the power of these fish. Structure was a vital component to being successful and where ever there were large boulders, we knew there was at least one hungry trout lurking in a slipstream. The effective approach was to cast at a 45 degree angle downstream, make a large mend then feed line allowing the fly to reach the lower water
column. The next step was to let the current do the work and let it swing to the bank. An avid steelhead fishermen would be right at home since the tactics used are very similar. We caught several respectable fish throughout the week and on the last day I caught what I refer to as my unicorn – a 32 inch brute of rainbow which is to this day, the largest I’ve caught. The strength and determination these fish exploit is unlike anything I’ve encountered before and have left a lasting impression. There are few places left where rainbows of this caliber free of any hook scars, blemishes or evidence of any handling. These fish are perfect and are direct reflection of the fishery’s health. With copious numbers of pacific salmon that re-enter this river system every year and the bountiful amount of baitfish and sculpins, there is an endless supply of food year- round. Making this the perfect habitat to grow uncommonly large fish. At the end of the first week, it was time to head farther inland to begin the upper Zhupanova float trip.
After the fog lifted and the weather improved, the Mi-8 helicopter returned and we began the short 20 minute flight to our first campsite which is roughly 100 river miles from the pacific. Each campsite has established cabins with a boarded walkway, a dining room, shower, and flushing toilet. Certainly the most glamorous camping I’ve done. Like Zendzur, the float trip accommodates a total of 6 anglers per week which makes it easy to get acquainted with everyone including your guides. For this week our guides consisted of two Russians, Dima and Sasha, and one South African, Christiaan Pretorius and our cook, Pasha. The upper Zhupanova is very different from its counterpart about 60 miles downstream. Here the river flows gentle and quiet – so quiet, you can hear critters crossing the river at night as you lay in bed. Each camp is stationed directly on the river bank, allowing anyone the opportunity to indulge in a late night fishing session or enjoy a cocktail while watching the river effortlessly flow by. Throughout the float, there are a total of 6 camps and each one has its own camp man-
ager who maintains and prepares for the next group of anglers. The only time they have human interaction for an entire week is when a new group of anglers arrives to stay just one night and the season is over 8 weeks long. The fishery is also very different and instead of scraping up only 2-3 fish a day, the numbers jump up to 5 – 10. Like the lower river, Dolly Varden and Super Kundzha are also present here and can add a unique diversity that isn’t found in many other areas of the world. The Super Zundzha, or White Spotted Char, are members of the Char family and are only found in the Far East such as Japan, Korea, and Russia. While some populations are known to be river residents just like river dwelling rainbow trout, there are populations known to travel back and forth between salt and freshwater. The Zhupanova is one of only a few rivers in Kamchatka to have searun Kundzha that can reach sizes between 20 and 40 inches. T hey are an impressive fish that’s very willing to take a fly if given the opportunity, they fight incredibly hard and are a rare species to target.
Each day we loaded our gear into a raft and worked our way down to the next camp covering roughly 8-12 miles a day. Approaching this fishery is very similar to fishing the lower river, however keeping the fly active was much more crucial. Constant action and movement seemed to be the key and once we got the hang of things, fish were being hooked left and right. I spent a large amount of time fishing mouse patterns as Iâ€™ve always been infatuated with skipping a mouselike fly across the surface. Iâ€™m sure any dry fly fisherman can agree there is nothing more thrilling than watching a fish take on the surface. Especially when the dry is the size of a small rodent. I had an experience that will unravel the most composed of individuals and one that I will never forget. We had stopped to wade the outside bend of the river which was littered with rocks and structure. I was fishing a mouse and as a result had first go at fishing through the run. After fishing each rock with no luck I turned my attention to the bank where there was a small patch of weeds in a shallow eddy. Thinking the possibilities of a fish being there were slim, I carelessly made a perfect cast which landed the fly right at the center of the pool.
I stripped the mouse twice then saw a snout as the mouse disappeared into a black hole. It was the laziest eat I had ever seen. I set the hook and within seconds, the fish was upstream and across the river from me â€“ a feat that made me think twice about how big this thing could be. Several minutes later, Christiaan, scooped this fish in the net and what proceeded next was what any fisherman would do after landing a 30 inch rainbow on a mouse - a celebration of curse words, high fives, hugs and tears. Iâ€™ll never forget that day. A few days later we found ourselves at our last campsite and after an incredible experience, we were all in the mood for celebration. Luckily, the camp manager had built a dance floor and decorated the camp with Christmas lights and a disco ball. To complete the occasion he had a huge speaker to which he played Lady Gaga and a number of other interesting musicians. We danced, drank vodka and reminisced on an incredible adventure in the backwoods of Kamchatka. A perfect and seemingly appropriate ending to a memorable and life altering trip. Kamchatka is like taking a step back in time where the rivers remain the major travel ways and lifeblood for the ecosystem. Very few major highways, skyscrapers, big airports, dams or major developments have taken foothold here and for the avid explorer, this place has yearâ€™s worth of exploration. And for the adventurous fisherman, they could be here for a lifetime.
IT TAKES MORE THAN 80 STEPS TO MAKE A PAIR OF LENZ SUNGLASSES
In a world where 95% of all sunglasses are injection moulded, Lenz has chosen to produce their glasses 100% by hand â€“ quality rather than quantity. See the difference!
COYHAIQUE RIVER LODGE:
The Heart and Soul of Patagonia The story of Coyhaique River Lodge is really a story about brothers Gaston and Claudio Urrejola - their upbringing, combined skills, vision, and their never-ending drive to learn, create and improve. By KEN MORRISH
Born in the mid-70â€™s on a small farm 300 miles south of Santiago, Gaston and his older brother Claudio had the type of childhood many kids dream about. There was a trout stream flowing through their property, endless open space and a culture of trust and independence that enabled kids like themselves to run wild and free in the great outdoors. More than anything else, these two loved exploring and fishing, and while they got plenty of both, life in the country was by no means all fun and games. Living on their property came with real chores and responsibilities starting at a young age. By the age of 10 they were driving trucks and tractors, working in fields of hay, wheat, and corn, and tending to their familyâ€™s cattle and sheep. It was all normal enough but now, looking back they were unknowingly building the knowledge and skills that would ultimately enable them to create one of the finest, most versatile and widely praised lodges in all Patagonia. Both of them recall vividly in the early 80â€™s when their father first drove them south on the new Austral Hwy. to the Coyhaique region.
Gaston recalled, “There was just so much water and we wanted to fish it all!” Since that trip, a great deal of their adult life has been about assembling an array of skills to enable themselves, and most importantly their guests, to do exactly that. Combined, Claudio and Gaston are likely the handiest and most capable lodge management team we have encountered, with shared skills in ranching, farming, road building, fine home construction, hospitality, and best of all, guiding fly anglers. Additionally they share between them careers as a veterinary doctor, a fisheries biologist, a full-time mechanic and a government director of tourism. It’s the full package and with it they have created arguably the finest and most versatile fly fishing and outdoor adventure lodge in South America. Location, Location, Location It is easy to make the case that the Coyhaique region of Chile is the most diverse, strategic and productive trout fishing hub in Patagonia. It was this simple fact that initially attracted Gaston and Claudio to the region and ultimately compelled them to buy land, build their dream lodge and raise their families here. While the area is often compared to the American West or Montana 100 years ago, in large part due to its low population and abundance of large uneducated trout, the real magic of the area stems from its geography. The landscape of the Aysén region is incredibly diverse, enabling anglers to travel from the dry, arid pampas of the east to the temperate rainforest of the west in just over an hour.
Additionally the area is more friendly and open than the steep regions to the north or the ice field-dominated regions to the south, making for perfect trout fishing habitat. With rivers of all sizes, streams, spring creeks and an array of trophy stillwaters all within a stone’s throw of the lodge, the region is a virtual dreamscape for all who love spectacular trout fishing and eye-popping scenery. The Fisheries When pushed on the subject, Gaston confessed to having over 50 distinct day beats that Coyhaique River Lodge fishes over the course of a season. Of those there are roughly 15 staples, 75% of which the lodge enjoys private access to. Most of their private land use agreements originate with downhome community relations in which neighbor needs help cutting a road, harvesting trees, or managing their cattle. Always capable and happy to help, this often leads the brothers to land exclusive access rights to trophy rainbow lakes, small walk and wade gems or special put-ins on rivers that few others float. In a land where anglers are already relatively few and far between, these arrangements will vir-
tually assure that you will have days with a beautiful spring-creek, river or lake entirely to yourself. The Lodge Experience Coyhaique River Lodge has everything you would expect from a premier fishing destination. It was purpose-built out of local timbers in a style that could be described as a perfect combination of rustic and modern. It is located on a high bank overlooking the Coyhaique valley and the small intimate flows of the Coyhaique River. They have a beautiful exposed beam great room as well as eight double suites, all with private baths. Meals are of the highest level with dinners featuring local beef and lamb dishes, fresh vegetables, and Chilean salads all paired with renowned Chilean wines from the lodge’s wine cellar. However, all of this is only a piece of what make the place special. What makes it truly special is the fact that this is the home and the future of the Urrejola Family and they want nothing more than to share it with you. At first you might not notice the depth of the family’s personal touch because they are a subtle and modest bunch.
In the same breath, the observant might notice that Claudioâ€™s wife Francesca had a hand in sourcing the locally woven wool blankets on your bed, or that Gaston is close friends with ranchers that raised your dinnerâ€™s delicious lamb, or that all the vegetables came from the lodgeâ€™s own garden. If you look more closely you might see that that they have done away entirely with plastic bottles, that the beer on tap is brewed by their friends in town and that their kids are part of the team and contribute to the family business by taking any task they can get at the lodge. These are some of the more subtle things that make this lodge so sincere and meaningful to those who have the pleasure of visiting. Last but not least, this lodge is hands down the best value in a truly premium product that we have seen anywhere in South America. For more info, visit: https://www.flywatertravel.com/ destination/Coyhaique_River_Lodge
PERFECTED A PERFECTION
WATCH ERGO MICRO-TIP SCISSORS
AT OUR BENCH N AT YOURS
NED IN USA
The Profile of a Fly Fisherman
Name: Ruth Sims Born: Seattle, Washington Occupation: Electrical Engineer Country of residence: USA Instagram: @navajoflyfisher
How did you get started fly fishing and when? About two and a half years ago while in grad school I met a trio of native students through the small native community on my school’s campus. They were from Montana. They were the kind of natives who listened to country music, frequented rodeos, hunted and fished. Having grown up in the heart of Seattle this lifestyle was all too fascinating to me. Once, while a group of us were hanging out I noticed a row of threads on a shelf next to a variety of tiny tools. I thought to myself, ‘hmmm… he must sew, how interesting.’ Being an avid quilter and dressmaker,
mainly as a pastime hobby, I was allured by this set up of his. I asked, “Hey Cody, do you sew or something?” He told me, “No, I tie flies.” Intrigued, I asked “What do you mean flies?” With eyes a little more alert he began to bring out boxes and boxes of flies, explaining their every purpose and ideal environment. I asked if I could try making one and he proceeded to explain how difficult they were to tie. With one eyebrow slightly raised and a ‘try me’ look on my face he was reluctant but allowed me to use his tools and materials to tie my first fly. When I was done he took it from me, glanced at it from all angles and said “wow, I can’t believe that’s your first fly. That’s incredible.”
Ruth Sims You see, Iâ€™m the kind of person that looks at something and knows whether or not I am up for the challenge. Through my years of sewing and level of comfort using thread I knew I could do it and that I would enjoy it. Before ever casting a rod or really even understanding what fly fishing was I had already tied a half box worth of flies- some from existing patterns but many of my own creation from things I had found around the house. That August I went to Montana and ended up fly fishing for the first time with Cody and his dad on a small river near the Flathead Indian Reservation. I ended up catching my first fish on the fly using the first fly I had tied. At that moment the fishing gene that was passed down from my grandfather to my father to me had been summoned and I was instantly and absolutely in love with fly fishing. What is it that intrigues you about fly fishing? As an engineer I see the world in numbers. I see fly fishing as a physics problem with endless parameters and variables and most importantly an infinite amount of solutions, solutions that I have become addicted to solving.
The Profile of a Fly Fisherman
I am intrigued by the challenge of solving the puzzle. Just last weekend while fishing the Deschutes in Central Oregon there was a rainbow trout that kept on rising in the same spot. @thewinterfly and I threw at least 5 different flies at it. Changed the length, diameter and material of the leader two different times and and on the 6th fly change using 6X crouching as high back in riverside grass as we could we finally got it to eat and landed it. When something like that happens you just want to scream into the air, “Mystery solved! Case closed!” while high-fiving everyone in sight.
What goes through your head when you’re out fly fishing? Well I’ll tell you what doesn’t go through my head while fly fishing. Work, family issues, things I need to get done etc. Fishing is a time for me to reflect on where I am in life and what my next step should be. It’s a time for me to practice patience, appreciate and be attentive to all around me. Fly fishing has become my escape from life, from worries and problems and given me praise and confidence which inevitably are healing necessities. It gives me something to look forward to, some-
Ruth Sims thing that can completely take me away in thought when I need life to let me breathe and reground again. What characterizes the most rewarding moments as a fly fisherwoman? The first thing that comes to mind is the people who you are fishing with. Some of the most rewarding moments have not been the biggest fish or the most exotic species but it’s how excited people who you fish with as you are for them. It’s literally the net jobs, high fives and celebrating. The interactions and joking that goes on between two fly fisher people is what makes the most memorable moments. The second thing that comes to mind is being able to teach someone something new. Showing someone how to cast, teaching them to
tie flies, and how to present a fly is quite exhilarating and when you finally have the chance to see that person put everything together and catch their first fish on the fly, I just loose my shit haha seriously I just go bananas- its just as exciting for me as it is for them. Also as a woman I get tons of questions from other women looking to get into the sport, through social media, local events and teaching casting classes I’ve been able to get a lot of women to take their interest in fly fishing to the water. I have become good friends with some of the most amazing fly fisherwomen I’ve ever met. It’s empowering to get together with a like-minded female angler, study satellite images, plan a trip and go out exploring new lands and waters. Not to mention have an absolute ball doing so.
The Profile of a Fly Fisherman When someone is just as excited for you landing a fish as you are for them, you know you have found a good fishing friend. And these are the kinds of friendships that will last a lifetime. The people that come across my path, the new like-minded friendships that develop –these are some of the most rewarding moments. Does fly fishing help you become a better person? I’m not sure. I think it depends on the person to begin with. For me it helps me to become a more balanced person. I am a strong believer in “work hard/play hard” for an all-around healthy lifestyle. For me fly fishing is my “play” and keeps me overjoyed and content with life.
What’s it like being a female in a male-dominated sport? Well even though I’ve only been fishing for less than three years, since undergrad as an engineering student it was the same situation, male-dominated so really it wasn’t that much of a change being surrounded by men. However I will say that it takes a certain kind of female to withstand both the positive and negative attention that you get from male anglers, and I think that the most important first step is the way in which you present yourself. I see myself as truly having a passion in fly fishing and as someone who is eager to learn more and more and I think the image portrayed by social media correctly delivers that. So I guess to answer your question what is it
like? Its just fine, Iâ€™m just a fly fisherwoman who is eager to learn but is also confident enough to handle the attention both positive and negative. Overall on a scale from 1 to 10 on how fun it is to be a woman in the fly world id give it an 11. 10 because I absolutely find so so much joy in it. And a
bonus 1 is for the praise and support I get not only from family and friends but even those I donâ€™t know for getting after what I love. The positivity overrides and uncomfortable or negative situations I may encounter by 110%, and Iâ€™d rather give and focus my energy on that.
The Profile of a Fly Fisherman What is your favorite species to target on a fly rod and why? Anything with a dorsal, caudal, pectoral, pelvic, anal, and/or adipose fin. Haha I love them all! Seriously there is nothing I love more than fishing a new species with a new habitat and environment. I love learning all that I can about different techniques and tactics of fly fishing. My Instagram account @navajoflyfisher has helped me to network with people from all over the world and because of this many of the places I fish are completely different kinds of water. Through traveling and fishing various waters Iâ€™ve become knowledgeable of the vast variety of gear needed to effectively fish and attain results with a given set of conditions.
So I guess you could say I donâ€™t have a favorite species because I enjoy each and every one of them. Again, I enjoy the puzzle of figuring out how to catch different fish. But if it was the end of the world and I HAD to choose I guess the first thing that comes to mind is once I got a spotted puffer fish, he/she was probably the most interesting fish I landed on a fly. Definitely the cutest. What are your fly fishing ambitions for the future? One thing that I find myself doing quite frequently is going on lots of little trips around the states fishing with friends who live there and new people who are down to meet up and fish. That being said there are two areas I really want to focus on in the next year. One is committing more time to exploring waters in my home state so that I can save for longer trips abroad. I really would like to spend some time exploring the salt. I have a feeling that a week long salt trip will be in the next year or so as well as a trip to south America-Amazonian waters to be exact. I would absolutely love to spend some time down there and put my high school Spanish to work!! Any exciting new projects coming up? In the beginning of May, I spent a week in Iceland, which was my first successful flyfishing trip abroad. While there I fished with several other fly fishermen all from Norway and from there in Iceland.
Ruth Sims A couple of them filmed quite a bit with the hopes of creating a film documenting the trip. I am excited to see how it turns out as one of the biggest fish I have ever caught was caught completely on film. It was such an honor to be able to fish with some of the most talented fishermen I have ever met. I would go back to Iceland in a heartbeat and do that trip all over again 100 times, what a beautiful country and culture of people. Also locally I have been working with a few companies in or near the Pacific Northwest @blackstrap_inc , @decade_reels , @heidi_michelle_designs , @rising3474 to name a couple and I’m looking forward to seeing where this all goes! If you could be anywhere in the world right now fly fishing, where would you be - and why? I would be in Hawaii at an indisclosed location. I went there 2 weeks ago fished 3 days for bonefish and I did not get one. I had many chances however either I just did not present the fly in time, the presentation was off, or they just were not interested. I fished my heart out for 3 days and did not even get a bonefish nibble. There is no greater motivation to get back out there and keep trying like being skunked. Although I will say that I wasn’t exactly skunked because I caught one of the most beautiful fish I have ever seen as “bycatch” it was a barred trevally, maybe only 3-4 lbs but he fought just as hard as a steelhead and took my breath away when I finally saw him/her up close.
New on the market
Sun Glasses: ALL NEW LENZ OPTICS ROGUE SUN GLASSES Lenz Optics have impressed greatly with their hand-made sunglasses fitted with the very best ZEISS polaroid lenses. Here’s one of the newest models from their Discover series, the Rogue. Their side- and front shields effectively block out any false light, so that the 100% polarized lenses can do their job and eliminate all water reflections. For more info, check: http://www.lenzoptics.com
The Fly Fisher: THE ESSENCE AND ESSENTIALS OF FLY FISHING There are plenty of books about fly fishing, but few of them are as beautifully illustrated as The Fly Fisher – The Essence and Essentials of Fly Fishing. The book provides the newcomer to fly fishing with an introduction to the gear, flies, techniques and tactics involved, and although there might be other books on the market that are more thorough and in-depth, this one does a great job at boiling things down to what’s essential. Furthermore, the stunning imagery throughout really tickles your senses and imagination. The beautiful and atmospheric fly fishing photography is sure to capture anyone’s interest and hopefully spark new fly fishing careers. The book is published by Gestalten, and further information can be found here: http://shop.gestalten.com/the-fly-fisher.html
New Clothing: SIMMS HEADWATERS PRO Simms are well-known for their high-quality waders, and now they’ve launched a new range of breathable GoreTex waders - the Headwaters Pro waders. According to Simms, these waders include highly considered details such as accessory activation via an internal zipper carrier built to synch with Simms’ Tippet Tender™ pocket (sold separately); adjustable 1.5 elastic suspenders with opposing buckles for waist-high conversion; and belt loops with multiple height options for superior fit. Abrasion bucking, built-in gravel guards and anatomical hourglass stocking feet round out this IFTD award-winning wader. For more info, check: www.flyfisheurope.com
NYMPHING THE NEW WAY With contributions from experts such as Oscar Boatfield, Julien Daguillanes, Cody Burgdorff, and Stanislav Mankow, UK fly fisherman and journalist Jonathan White has written what might very well be the most important book on nymphing in years. The book comprises a historic introduction to nymphing and moves on to what is essentially the book’s main purpose: Explaining in depth what French leader nymphing is all about - and why it is so effective. The book details the tackle, leaders, flies and techniques used and it does so in a very factual and concise way. Furthermore, it goes into depth with modifications in setup and approach based on different river habitats, and it finishes off with a nymphing masterclass involving tips and tricks by some of the foremost French nymphing proponents in the world. All in all this is an extremely useful book that will potentially take your nymph fishing to new heights. Highly recommended! For further information, please visit: http://www.merlinunwin.co.uk/bookDetails.asp?bookId=173&categoryId=
New on the market Scierra: X-FORCE WADING SHOE Hardcore, lightweight and extremely comfortable wading shoe with the benefit of a trekking outsole for the ultimate wading shoe • Durable and strong mix of microfiber and mesh construction resisting shrinkage and expansion • Made on a wide last for maximum confort and easy access • High ankle cuff thickly foam-padded for maximum support • Reinforced at toe and heel by tough rubber • Removable EVA foam inner sole • Non-corrosive drain holes • Superior lace system for easy and tight tie & non corrossive buttons • Lightweight, yet very strong sole construction with EVA midsole and full rubber outsole bonded with high quality felt sole More information at www.scierra.com
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Classic style: BUFF® TRUCKER CAP Classic trucker style, vibrant graphics and versatile BUFF® performance combine in a cap for on - and off - the water. Made from 100% polyester fabric and lined with a low-profile, moisture-wicking sweatband, this Trucker Cap dries fast, wicks away perspiration and is super-breathable – perfect for the summer heat. The curved visor protects the face and has a dark underbill that won’t pick up water glare. Treated with a stain release finish, the bill won’t let slime and water muck get in the way of your fun. More info at www.buffusa.com
Scott Flex: AMERICAN-MADE EXCELLENCE With the introduction of their impeccable Radian and Meridian ranges, Scott have gained a massive following in Europe. Now, they’ve just launched their new Flex series, which is a range of rods designed for light to medium-heavy dryfly-, nymph- and streamer fishing. There series counts 16 rods from 7,6’ 3-weight to a 10’ 8-weight, and since the rods come fitted with saltwater-resistant fittings, they double nicely as sea-run brown trout or bonefish rods. Much of the technology developed and used in the Radian and Meridian rods have been implemented in these rods, but they come at a more attractive price point. For more information, please check: https://www.flyfisheurope.com/scott/scott-flex/d2137
New on the market For the drone enthusiast: FREEWELL DJI MAVIC DRONE CASE The DJI Mavic Pro Professional Accessories Kit from Freewell is the best help for a drone enthusiast. This excellent and comprehensive kit contains multicoated ND filters that are ideal for giving a natural motion to the footage.. The CPL filter is used to reduce the glare from natural reflective surfaces while the hybrid ND/PL filter allows for crystal clear images while the lens cleaner, protective hard case, propeller guard and landing gear complete the safety aspects of your drone. For more details www.freewellgear.com
Rob’s Snake Booby Black & Silver (9617)
WE LET OUR FLIES DO THE STALKING
OE Yellowhammer (9737) Neutral Density Red Nemo Booby (9625)
OE Hydropsyche Larva Version 2 (9743)
Two Tone Buzzer Black (9380)
World Class Flies, hand crafted from the finest materials. After sourcing the sharpest, strongest hooks and the finest fly tying materials from around the globe, each and every Fulling Mill fly is then lovingly crafted by one of our highly skilled in-house artisans. We are 100% focused on quality and this means that each and every Fulling Mill fly in your box is a little work of art. With over 2,500 proven patterns to choose from, we’ve got you covered. Just be sure it’s “Fulling Mill”. Available online and from all reputable tackle shops.
Martin Ejler Olsen
PHOTOGRAPHER & FLY FISHING GLOBETROTTER
I’m lucky enough to get to fly fish some of the most remote and beautiful destinations in the world. When I’m there, however, I don’t want to rely on luck. I want to eliminate all the stochastic variables! That’s why I only use the best gear available – and Lenz Optics have become an integral part of my gear setup. Lenz Optics keep me sharp and focused when it really counts!
www.lenzoptics.com | www.facebook.com/lenzoptics
THE LION’S HEAD By JONATAN TERNALD
Lion’s head or Surf candy: It’s always hard calling a pattern your own! You can always find similarities with other patterns. Whether this fly is a Lion’s Head or a Surf Candy, I honestly don’t know. But I came up with the idea for this fly when I saw my oldest daughter’s lion costume. The fur trim on the hood was made out of really nice craft fur with a great looking colour combo. In my mind it would look perfect tied onto a fly hook!
My daughter, however, didn’t quite share my enthusiasm when I brought out the scissors, so in the end some STF dub (Synthetic Transluscent Fiber) replaced the fur from her outfit. With a bit of marker pen work STF Dub looks really good. And as always with STF you get an awesome
transparent look in the water. I use the Lion’s Head-pattern for sea-run brown trout on the coast. It works great in both shallow water and tied to a sinking line going deep, when the water temperatures rise. But it probably works for most fish that go after small fish or fry: A simple pattern that’s fun to tie!
MATERIALS: Hook: Ahrex NS 122 size 8,6,4 Thread: Mono Body: STF tan and white + Loon UV glue Belly: Veevus pearl Eyes, Eyes: Living Eyes wind 4mm
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CAPT. SHANE SMITH
They just keep coming...
The awards, that is. IFTD Best of Show Overall, IFTD Best Saltwater Fly Rod, Gray’s Best, Field & Stream Best of the Best, American Angler Gear of the Year, Yellowstone Angler 8-weight Shootout, Fly Fisherman Best Saltwater Fly Rod, Fly Rod & Reel Kudos Award, and so many more… Thank you all, we’re honored to receive the recognition.
Scott Fly Rod Company
2 3 5 5 A i r Pa r k Wa y, M o n t r o s e , C o l o r a d o 8 1 4 0 1
”ATLANTIC STEELHEAD” By SOLID ADVENTURES The Santa Cruz river, located in the middle of the immeasurable plains of Patagonia offers some of the last untapped steelhead fishing on the planet! Steelhead have often been credited as being one of -if not the- hardest fighting migratory fish and the specimens in Santa Cruz are no exception. Fish here can reach well over 20 lbs and will put on a great areal show really putting your gear to the test. Chasing these fish is a profound experience and the magnificence of the river and landscape is truly spectacular.
“POPPA” By FLYWATER EXPEDITIONS Compilation of popper bites from a few days of Louisiana fly fishing for big red fish. Flywater expeditions was there to capture it all!!
“FLY FISHING IN KAMCHATKA” By TAILWATERS FLY FISHING CO. A glimpse into some of what Kamchatka has to offer. Tailwaters staff photographer Matt Jones made his way to the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia where there was no shortage of hungry trout.
By APRIL VOKEY
I grew up in Surrey, a city where nothing surprised me. “Drugs, sex, and alcohol” were the cliche catch-words used by teachers who knew nothing of what happened in our world after midnight — words used to deter their students from strolling down the wrong path. What they didn’t know was that “drugs, sex, and alcohol” took place in the highschool handicap bathroom during lunch breaks, let alone off school property in the after-hours. In fact, for many of my friends, the over-used rock and roll phrase wasn’t something to stay away from, rather an improvement to their current lifestyle.
I was fortunate to have been brought up by loving parents who worked hard to ensure that my younger sister and I were comfortable in both home and living. Dad worked late nights in a rope factory, while mom ran an office nearby. They focused on raising us as strong, moral young women, at times even fearing that they’d encouraged us to be too hard-headed or ambitious. Looking back now, I’ll admit that I occasionally wonder the same thing. To imply that I was difficult during my teenage years would be an understatement. Neither drugs, sex, nor alcohol were my vice, but disobedience, fighting, and nonconformity easily took their place. I had a big mouth, strong arms, a vast vocabulary, and a complete lack of respect for anyone who bullied the weak. Be it teachers or peers, I couldn’t help myself from fighting to make wrongs right. Suspension was an annual event, but my recurring lead-role in the school’s musical theatre managed to clear me of expulsion. I knew my cards and I played them well. But years of harsh reality inevitably take their toll on soft hearts, and by
the time I was a senior in high school I was searching for a getaway beyond the city lines. From my days as a young child, I’d always loved the outdoors and its endless opportunity to explore the unknown. So, armed with a beat-up car and years of accumulated fishing tackle, I skipped my afternoon classes to unwind by the river. Alone and liberated, I roamed the forest looking for adventure in its mossy shadows, and while I found much excitement in the white-water rapids and bear inhabited cliffside, it was the exploration of myself that truly lead me to the river. By the time I graduated, my passion for fishing had drawn a dividing line between myself and the people I surrounded myself with. Late night parties and brawls saw me duck out early so that I could be somewhat rested for first-light fishing treks. Roommates who brought home random men laughed at me as I sat alone on the floor greasing up reels, and I laughed back knowing that as soon as they’d served their disgusting purpose that the same very men would be sitting around me, curious and eager to know more about my craft.
The entire routine sickened me, and before long I was sourcing out alternate living arrangements in the countryside where the rivers were close and the drama was limited. Ironically, it was when the river pushed at my knees that I felt the most grounded; when the road lead me to mossy overgrowth that I felt the safest; when Iâ€™d forgotten where I was that I felt the most found. In those days the mornings never came soon enough, and only the black of night stopped me from leaving the house any earlier. Even that may not have been enough of a deterrence, if it hadnâ€™t been illegal to fish for salmon and steelhead before dawn. My love affair with the sport wasnâ€™t nearly as romantic as one might like to think it should be for a fly-fisher. Starting as a bait-fisher, I would rely on the use of treated eggs to tempt fish to bite.
Bits of crusty roe nestled themselves into the curvatures of my thumbnails, and I would habitually grate my finger tips down the leg of my waders in an attempt to fade the cerise stain of pro-cure and borax from my hands. It wasn’t until several years, fishing buddies, and books that I came to own my first fly rod and box of handmade flies. But equipment does not make the angler and it wouldn’t have made a difference to me if I was fishing a dew worm, or a Victorian-era featherwing. I was there for the fish, not the methodology. The “fish”. Just the simplicity of the word seems to cheapen the significance of an animal many of us devote our lives to pursuing. I still have not yet been able to decide if it’s the steelhead themselves, or the places steelhead live that draw me to some of the most remote corners of our planet. The steelhead enter the freshwater system with scales so bright they appear white when the fish is laid on her side. A subtle blush smears her cheek, so perfectly placed that one might think she was embarrassed she’d been caught. Her downturned eye, an indication that she is alive and well flecked with blue, green and purple,
dances in the sun’s reflection, reminding her captor that without water they will quickly dry, dull and flatten. She is wild, she is free, she is adaptive, she is everything that is perfection in the natural world. I suppose that in many ways she reminded me of who I was — of who I am — beautiful in a strange sort of way, primitive to the very core, and born to fight for survival. As she pulled my line taut and leapt from the depths of the rushing white water, her head shook with anger, spitting my fly back to me on the shore. I reeled in the slack line smiling. Today she had beat me and, for one reason or another, I was happy she did. I decided at eighteen years old that, to spend as many days as I could on the water, I would have to make fishing my profession. To do this, I would need to start guiding. So I began guiding for an outfitter, before eventually starting my own company, Fly Gal Ventures, at the age of 24. At first, business as an independent operator was difficult. A bad car accident in the beginning months of my start-up put a major dent into both my body and planning.
Up until one month before the wreck I waitressed part-time in the evenings at a casino, which allowed me a late start time. Now with a rebuilt foot and no side-job I needed to be extremely innovative. I started by putting together business plans that would draw revenue from every pot available to me in the fishing industry. Guiding (when I was back on my feet), teaching, writing, television, and selling printed merchandise were all active columns in my Excel spreadsheet. To be able to afford ‘z’, I needed to make ‘y’, so I needed to sell enough of ‘x’ to make it all happen. The planning was thorough, the budgeting tight. Year one of my business was ambitious — too ambitious for some. The fly-fishing industry is renowned for its shortage of business-minded people. Primarily made up of fishermen who face the same dilemma I did, they long to spend their days immersed in the sport and therefore start their businesses rich with passion, yet poor in funds.
I was aware of the predicament and strove to steer clear of the typical traps many business owners commonly fall into: starting a fly shop, building a brand entirely around oneself without an outlet for expansion, speaking for free, working for gear, missing opportunities in fear of seeming vain, being afraid to say no to those who wanted to use me for anything against my integrity, and, the hardest part of it all, keeping my head held high when the wolves tried to tear me down for simply figuring the cycle out — worse off, for simply having the balls to run with it. Big balls for a woman who isn’t supposed to have any. They hated me — seen as attractive by some, primitive to the very core, and born to fight for survival. Like the steelhead, it only made me work harder. I took her lead and spit back at them on shore. The road of entrepreneurship winds along a mountain of narrow paths and falling rocks. At times I dodged rockslides. Occasionally I fell offcourse. I dusted my pants off and stood back up. Bruises heal.
I am quickly realizing that while it is the fishing itself that initiates people’s interest in my own personal story, it is actually the timeline of how I came to be that intrigues people the most. I can only hope to inspire them — to give them a glimmer of hope that they too can succeed, live, take chances, and follow their hearts to something they love. If there was one thing I have learned over the years, it is how to live my life with a purpose. Like the river, my business ebbs and flows. There are days when I wonder what the point of it all is. Why I care so much about making an impact on an industry that has tried for so long to get rid of me. But then my email dings with a person who found strength in my blogs, or someone approaches me with a story about the job they hated and left
to follow their heart after listening to an episode of Anchored, or my PO box receives a crayon coloured drawing from an eight year old who wants to be just like me when she grows up. I walk to the water where the truth sounds clearly through the rushing river and rustling leaves. A steelhead rolls in the heart of it all and the symbolism doesn’t escape me — she reminds me to keep moving upstream, to trust in the quiet noises, and to let mother nature take care of the rest. Chase it all — the fish, the rivers, and the pursuits that lead you into unfamiliar terrain. To those of you who have reached out to me with dreams as high as the mountains you climb, this blog, this song, these shirts are dedicated to you. #ChaseIt
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