Monday, March 9, 2015

Fall Salmon 2014 - Part 2

My next salmon adventure of fall 2014 was a very exciting and spontaneous trip. It started out after a long day at work and two hours of sleep. I packed up my car and started driving up to my planned destination around 2am and was on the water at 4:30. Things started off very slow with a few fish visually moving up through the system but none of which I could get to take any interest in my flies.

I started swinging flies with my new single hand 8wt Loop rod and after no takers in the first hour switched to nymphing egg flies. This as well did not work out so around 6am I switched back over to swinging flies again. Little did I know it was the calm before the storm....

At 6:30 I was witness to the start of a large push of both coho and king salmon and almost out of nowhere lots of aggressive fish started their journey to the spawning grounds. What followed was a very exciting morning and afternoon in which I had the river pretty much to myself. I hooked more fish then I can begin to count and landed at least a dozen kings along with my first coho salmon brought to hand and landed.

The weather was overcast and grey, and the flies that seemed to work the best that day was anything big and flashy. I started throwing big flashy prom dress flies that I had originally tied up for steelhead and was surprised to see the aggression and interest from the salmon. Several times throughout the day I would watch a large fish chase my fly down on the swing and try to murder it...what a blast!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fall Salmon 2014 - Part 1

I was able to find the time to take two mini salmon fishing trips this September. This post will detail my first outing.

The first trip I spent two days on the river and got a hotel for the first night. I started off at first light and quickly hooked into a fish...or so I thought! It turned out I had hooked into a bunch of gear that was stuck to a fish from a float guy...I landed the fish got him untangled and sorted out and let him go on his way. Shortly after I hooked another nice fish and landed it for a quick picture...this was the only fish that was brought to hand over the two days unfortunately, the rest were long distance releases, snapped hooks, line or in one case a snapped rod.

Shortly after lunch time on the first day I hooked into a really meaty male that was not to happy. I had him on for about 15 minutes at which point I heard a faint sound almost like ice fracturing and I knew a broken rod was in my imminent future. Sure enough 45 seconds later my 8wt Reddington Pursuit blew up, I grabbed the leader and tried to land the fish but ended up breaking him off.

Off to the closest SAIL I went...I ended up finding a WICKED deal, a 10 foot 8wt loop Evotec on sale for $269, marked down from $579, and I think the MRSP was even more. With this rod I got back on the water and while I hooked a few more I did not land anymore.

On the second day I started off at sun rise again and within the first 45 minutes had hooked into and fought a good 4 fish none of them landed. I hooked a few more in the afternoon but no luck in landing anything. I met up with a gentleman and his girl fishing, he was trying to get her hooked into her first salmon on the fly. I passed him a few flies that had been working and crossed back to the other side of the river and continued on. Well don't you know a while later she managed to hook up with her first salmon on the fly...on a pattern I tied! I must say that was the catch of the trip and brought a huge smile to her face as well as mine.

As always with salmon fishing a big part is weather conditions, water levels (rain) and if they are currently running or not. I caught the very tail end of a huge push of king and coho salmon and was fishing to salmon that had pooled up and were slowly making their way up. On top of that they had been hammered and harassed by a lot of gear, float and fly fishermen...I was not surprised that the most action happened right in the morning after they had the night to rest and mellow out. Even with only one fish brought to hand it was a great experience and as always I learned a lot.

Sorry For The Delay

Hello everyone who has been following my blog,

As you may have noticed I pretty much stopped posting in early July....shortly afterwards a major life change took place and I was left single and really lost and disoriented for a while...I went fishing a tiny bit afterwards to clear my head...but things took a back burner as I tried to put the pieces back together.

Here I am on the other side coming around and within the last month I tell you I have been tying and fishing pretty hard. My new found freedom has been liberating and recently I have been using it to my advantage fishing hard and long hours putting the time on the water and hooking into tons of beautiful fish. I am going to try to keep things moving here and start adding new content, flies, photos and reviews. I have been on a few small mini trips salmon fishing and am gearing up now for Steelhead season...I should have a LOT to share with you guys.

Tight Lines

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Review - Wright & McGill Madison Pod Pack

Price: $109  (After purchasing this item I found a lot of places selling it online have discounted it from $40-70 so likely could have gotten it a bit cheaper after factoring in taxes and shipping)

Visual Appeal: The pack appears very functional at the first glance. It seems well thought out and has all of the features you would expect in a fly fishing pack.

Product Description:

The ultimate in fly gear organization, the Wright & McGill Madison Pod Pack is perfect for long days on the water or even overnight pack trips. You can load it down for anything that you might encounter. The full sized backpack has room for food, extra clothes and even a hydration bladder. It has pockets for two 4-piece fly rods, a stretch cord for coats or hats, and D-rings for hanging wading shoes while hiking. The Madison features two detachable chest "pods" for fly boxes, forceps, nippers and other accessories. Each pod includes a leader management system for tippets. The pods can be easily removed and worn as a belt bag when you only need the most important accessories. The Madison Pod Pack will be the last vest or pack you'll ever need. Dimensions: 13" wide x 17" high x 5" deep

  • Two removable "pods"
  • Leader management system
  • Rain fly
  • Converts to a belt bag

I played around with this pack as mentioned in a previous post by seeing how I could arrange the pods so they would not be in my way. I ended up taking one pod off and leaving it at home and the other I attached to the strap for holding in a rod tube on the left side of the back pack.

I have used this pack twice now on the water for the combined total of around 14 hours. I enjoy the size and capacity, the ability to bring along a snack, lunch, water, extra fly boxes, tools, and even an extra rod. On the first trip out I brought my 9'6 6wt and my tenkara rod and was able to switch back and forth as needed throughout the day. I was worried about the rod tube coming loose and going down river but throughout the entire day whatever I had stored stayed secured.

I did not like having to take one shoulder of the bag off to swing it around and access my tools and supplies. I really have fallen in love with the functionality of the swing pack and miss its function but I guess its a small price to pay for having more storage room.

For longer days on the water and trips this pack will do the trick, although I still prefer a swing pack and wish I could find one with larger capacity.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Staying Organized On The Water

Staying organized and comfortable on the water while fishing long days has been a personal battle of mine ever since I started fly fishing. Finding a comfortable balance between being able to carry the required gear while not being over burdened, being able to access everything easily and effectively, and being comfortable all the while is not always an easy task. I have spent hundreds of dollars on different products to try and make my angling experience more enjoyable and I will share with you all my journey to find a good balance.

The Vest


The first year that I started fly fishing I came across two vests while purchasing a bulk lot of materials and fly fishing gear. They were standard cloth style vests with an assortment of pockets, plastic o-rings to clip tools on to and made of a light weight material. Starting out I would carry much more gear then I needed on the water due to lack of experience and lack of confidence. I needed a vast assortment of flies, tools and lotions just in case the items were needed. Very quickly I found a lot of dislikes with the vest and after the first year using them I ended up selling both.

- To many pockets available to fill full of things that are not required, and then finding were you put certain items among 45 pockets.
- Due to the length of most cheaper vests when wading deep they will get wet and start wicking water up onto your clothing
- The pockets that are oriented in the front of the chest bother me. It seems no matter what is placed in the pockets the weight and bulk of having items up front bother me while casting.
- Not enough room to carry a days supply of water, a lunch, snacks etc.

The Fanny Pack

The fanny pack was the second product I tried. I purchased a $60 pack from Amundson to give it a try. It connected around your waist, had a flip down pocket with a fly patch to keep an assortment of flies ready to go and a few other larger pockets for other tools and fly boxes. The waist pack was good in theory but quickly I realized it was not a good choice for me. Most of the times I am wading aggressively and deep ending up in the pack and its contents getting soaked. Another problem I had was the belt slipping or becoming loose and slipping down from my waist. I sold this pack within a week of buying it.

The Sling Pack

At the recommendation of a friend I went to a local hiking and outdoors store and purchased a simple black sling pack to give a try at a reasonable price of $28. I must say that 100% this is my favorite method of organizing gear and items on the water. Being able to have your fly boxes, tools, potions and lotions on hand stored away in a back pack worked well for me. The biggest draw was after finishing with my activities with my pack in front of me zipped open, I could just zip it closed, swing it around to my back, tighten up the closure and have everything out of my way and be ready to fish. My only complaint is to do with size. I purchased one of the larger packs and while it handled all my gear and then some what it does not handle is a 1L bottle of water and some snacks/lunch on the water. Another concern especially when steel heading is having a rain jacket or a spare pair of gloves/hat available. I am happy with the sling pack for very short fishing trips when I do not need water or a lunch, or perhaps am just fishing at a pond or easily accessible area. However when going into the woods for an hour or more to reach a fishing spot I want to make sure I have the items needed to make my day a comfortable one. I plan to keep my sling pack and perhaps keep an eye out for one of a larger size but for full day fishing trips or steelheading the pack just does not cut it.

The Fly Fishing Chest & Back Pack

I just purchased a Wright & Mcgill Madison Pod Pack to give a try hoping to find the best of both worlds, an organized well laid out chest pack, with a back pack able to carry all my gear and tools, as well as lunch, a rain jacket or whatever I may think that I need on that trip. I tried on the William Joseph Exodus back/chest pack and found the front vest style compartments to be bulky and know that it would drive me nuts casting all day. I also checked out the Amundson pack and found the back pack to be a little small.

As for the Madison pack, I took it apart and disassembled each individual part to have a look. I like the two pods they have with two pockets, one smaller and one larger. In the larger pocket they have adhesive strips with velcro to attach to your fly boxes to stick them to the inside of the pod. I like this idea and placed the strips on a few fly boxes to secure them inside the pods. They also have lots of o rings and places to attach tools, as well as slits to place your hemostats while not in use. The pods are bulky and would drive me nuts to have them hanging in the front as they are all day but I purchased this pack due to the versatility...or at least the implied versatility. The pods unclip from the pack and can be worn on the belt or attached elsewhere. I tried flipped the pods up over my shoulder to get them out of the way which would have been an amazing design but they do not sit comfortable.

At the moment the second pod I have set aside, it comes with a "leader" management system that allow you to place two spools of tippet material inside the smaller pocket and feed it up through two holes for easy dispensing on the river, as well as a larger pocket for fly boxes etc.

The first pod that I am keeping I have attached to the strap on the side meant to tighten and secure rod tubes. I figure this way its out of the way in front of me while fishing but still easily accessible. I refrained from hanging my tools (hook sharpener, nippers, forceps) from the pack as I think I am most comfortable attaching them to the D ring on my waders. The back pack is massive and includes a pocket in the front for gear or a water bladder, and a larger pocket behind that could easily store a rain coat, reels, extra fly boxes, lunch, water, a knife or survival kit etc.

I am hoping this pack works out for me as I would hate to have to sell it and look for another alternative. I am very picky about how I store and organize my gear on the water but rightfully so I think, a well organized well balanced thought out product creates an easier more laid back day on the least for myself. I will be putting this pack to the test tomorrow and will report back with a review.

What We Can Learn From Competitive Fly Fishing

I wanted to share this clip here with everyone just to pass along the idea that there is much to be learned from competition anglers. I purchased a book entitled Tactical Fly Fishing long ago to try to gleam some information and techniques from the competition angler and am I ever glad that I did. For most anglers catching as many fish as possible in the fastest time is not enjoyable, but I think we can all agree that catching more fish when we do get a chance to get on the water is very enjoyable.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

SBS - San Juan Bomb

This is a pattern I saw somewhere...cannot remember exactly where or exactly how it was tied but basically it was a San Juan worm pattern with added weight and an egg as an all around attractor nymph. I in no way am trying to take credit for creating this pattern and if I ever come across the name or creator of this fly I will certainly change its title and call it a variation, but until that time, the San Juan Bomb!

Hook: Size 8-14 Egg or Scud Hook
Thread: Red
Body: Glo Bug Yarn and ultra chenille
Weight: 1/8th Tungsten bead

Step 1: Place the bead on your hook and secure in the vise. Here I am using Allen's Egg hook in size 10 as these flies are meant for steelhead. If you are fishing trout you can go with a less robust hook.

Step 2: Attach your thread behind the bead and run back to the end of the hook. Here I am using 10/0 veevus thread in red. Once at the end of the hook tie in some ultra chenille with the tag end hanging as long as you want your tail.

Step 3: Next cut an inch or so of glo bug yarn from the hank and fluff it apart in your fingers so the fibers all separate. Use this as dubbing to form a dubbing noodle on your thread and create an egg shaped ball ahead of the tie in point of the chenille.

Step 4: Bring your thread over to in front of the bead and secure the chenille down over top of the glo bug yarn egg and bead. Cut the tag end of the chenille to your desired length and whip finish the fly behind the eye of the hook. To finish the fly singe the ends of the chenille with a lighter to create a small taper.

This pattern I think offers a little bit of everything, a super attractor pattern that has the weight to get down fast. The proof is in the pudding, this beast was caught nymphing a San Juan Bomb through a run. If you look closely you can see the fly hanging out of the top of her mouth.