Videos, photos, articles, and reports from around the world of fishing.
It is hard for most people to understand why I would sacrifice my last day on a ski trip in Vail, CO to bundle up and stand in 37 degree river. Given that it had snowed about 3 feet that week, the ...More
It is hard for most people to understand why I would sacrifice my last day on a ski trip in Vail, CO to bundle up and stand in 37 degree river. Given that it had snowed about 3 feet that week, the conditions were epic, still. But the chance for some serenity on the Eagle River with one of my best buds I don't see often was my calling last Monday.
I was happy to trade the lift lines and sore legs for some time on an insane stretch of the Eagle, just a few miles downstream from Vail. We stopped through 3 feet of powder and slid down the river bank like little kids on our way to the river. Our hangovers quickly abated as we reached into the river to land our first fish, a hefty 20 inch bow. Her red cheeks shined bright as she slid back into the frigid water. What an incredible fishery, one of many in the area, offering superb public access to a year round wild trout mecca. Getting into some fish was a bonus, but did not define our time on the river so much as our conversations, which unfortunately happen more by text and email these days. Life is too busy these days; fly fishing has the unintended consequence of slowing us down to a more manageable pace.
I can't thank the good people at Vail Valley Anglers enough for their guidance and for running a friendly fly shop. If you are in the area, please look them up. They have dozens of excellent guides who know the area exceptionally. But more importantly, they are just good people, true stewards of their river system.
With one of the biggest storms in recent memory pounding the whole of Northern California, most of our rivers were running high and dirty. That's not a good situation to been in when you have an ...More
With one of the biggest storms in recent memory pounding the whole of Northern California, most of our rivers were running high and dirty. That's not a good situation to been in when you have an itch only a trout can scratch. After a some back and forth, Aaron and I decided to head east, over the snow-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada to find fish willing to chase a fly.
After a long icy drive, we parked stream-side and piled layers of flannel, nano-puff, and cotton under our waders to keep us warm in the single-digit morning temperatures. The night before we had connected with a few locals (Jim Stimson and Sam Vasily) who we were going to join us over the next two days. Neither Aaron and I had met these guys but we'd both been following their fishing exploits through Instagram for awhile. It was clear to us that they were both fishy guys and had pinned some serious fish, but you never know what you're getting into when you decide to spend a day on the river with someone you've never met. Were they going to be down to earth? Arrogant? Easy to talk to? Who knew, only time would tell.
Just as we clipped our waders in and finished tightening our knots, Jim rolled up in is truck. He hopped out of the cab with an easy smile and the energy of someone half his age. After pleasantries, we trudged through the knee deep snow on our way to likely holding water. Before we made it to the river, it was clear Jim was going to be a great guy to spend a day hunting big fish with. He was personable, funny, and had a deep knowledge of fly fishing and photography, two of my passions. The three of us fished through the day and landed a number of good fish. Nothing to write home about but solid fish to ease the discomfort of dumb toes.
We called it a day with cold beverages under and even colder sunset in one of the most stunning places I've fished. A perfect closure to a day well spent.
That night was early. The effort of grinding it out in the snow along with the long drive had sapped every last bit of energy Aaron and I had.
We woke up early to catch the Sunday morning sunrise and a text from Sam was already lighting up my phone. "What time are you guys planning on heading down to the river?" Really Sam? It's negative 15 degrees out there and you'd chomping at the bit to clear ice from your guides already? Truth be told, Aaron and I weren't much less enthusiastic. With a few sunrise photos under our belt, we met Sam at the river and were headed down the same snowy road towards some solid fish tucked under a blanket of snow.
Sam was fishy, real fishy. The second the temperature warmed up and the bugs started moving, he was tight to his first fish of the day. With only a few hours to fish before heading to work for the day, we made our way through the most worthwhile holes. Sure enough, Sam was bend deep into the butt of his rod and running down stream.
Before Aaron and I could make our way through the snow, he'd come un-buttoned but was quickly back into another fish. Once to net, it measured right at 22 inches.
Soon after releasing that fish, we could see Jim working up river. The four of us fished util the early afternoon before calling it a day. Two days filled with fish, new friendships, laughs, and lots of learning from the local boys had Aaron an I riding high.
As per usual, we were up early Monday morning for our trip back home. Always reluctant to re-join the hustle and bustle of city life, we drug our feet up highway 395 and stopped for a little more fishing before aligning our bumpers with the throngs of families coming off the mountains. The long trip back to San Francisco gave us plenty of time to reflect on the weekend and plan for our next foray into the wild.
Eat less. Drink less. Spend less. Another year, another set of New Years resolutions you may — or may not — keep. Instead of a set of fun-numbing resolutions to do less, why don’t you commit to a ...More
Eat less. Drink less. Spend less. Another year, another set of New Years resolutions you may — or may not — keep. Instead of a set of fun-numbing resolutions to do less, why don’t you commit to a set of resolutions to do more? And to do more fly fishing?
Here’s my suggestions for a set of New Years resolutions for every fly fisherman or woman.
With one arctic blast after another, most of us in the Northern Rockies are stuck inside tying flies and dreaming about our next outing. As the thermometer needle dips below zero, the mind wanders ...More
With one arctic blast after another, most of us in the Northern Rockies are stuck inside tying flies and dreaming about our next outing. As the thermometer needle dips below zero, the mind wanders to the river and what it might be doing without us. While many of our favorite freestones in troutopia are frozen solid with too much ice to fish, there are some great opportunities for winter fishing. In the winter season we like to focus our efforts on the local tailwaters. When the weather breaks its time to go.
Blue bird skies and afternoon temps in the 30’s? You bet! Hop on out to our home water, The Missouri, for a few hours of wade fishing and a quick beer at Joe’s Bar in Craig. This is an easy option for those of us in the Helena area and a great opportunity to have the river to yourself.
Weather is looking good for the weekend? Yes please! Drag the boat to Eastern Montana for a couple days floating on The Big Horn. This option requires a little more logistics, but the thousands of fish per mile can be worth the extra effort.
See a warming trend on the horizon? How about a few days soaking at Chico Hot Springs and off-season rates at a favorite Paradise Valley spring creek. This might not be the best catching option. However, soaking in some steaming hot springs and the beauty of the Upper Yellowstone area make up for it. There might even be a chance to bring the significant other or family along too.
Whatever the venue, winter fishing is one of the great ways to stay connected with our rivers and enjoy the solitude that can’t be found in the summer. If we are fortunate enough to find the right conditions, or pack enough four-leaf clovers into our waders, the fishing can be pretty darn good too!
Throwback to this 12lb brownie Leo caught on the River Lambourn last summer. She ignored nearly every fly in our box, but couldn't resist a perfectly positioned nymph pattern. Great fun on a 4wt, ...More
Throwback to this 12lb brownie Leo caught on the River Lambourn last summer. She ignored nearly every fly in our box, but couldn't resist a perfectly positioned nymph pattern. Great fun on a 4wt, but the netting was a little nervy to say the least... #gonnaneedabiggernet
Great Trip Report from Subscriber Paul de Quincey on his recent trip to Turks and Caicos. Paul is an experienced and enthusiastic fisherman with the good fortune to be able to fish extensively ...More
Great Trip Report from Subscriber Paul de Quincey on his recent trip to Turks and Caicos. Paul is an experienced and enthusiastic fisherman with the good fortune to be able to fish extensively around the world.
I’m sure you will enjoy the report. Thanks Paul.
Tarpon season in the keys
Every spring in Florida and the keys , we get to witness one of the most spectacular and exciting angling events in the fishing world: the annual tarpon migration. ...More
Tarpon season in the keys
Every spring in Florida and the keys , we get to witness one of the most spectacular and exciting angling events in the fishing world: the annual tarpon migration. These fish begin their migratory journey south to the Florida keys, for their annual spawning ritual, coming from places as far north as Virginia in the Atlantic coast and Texas in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Starting around early March, millions of fish start flooding the inlets, passes, bridges and backcountry areas of south Florida and the Everglades. By mid April, these fish start moving out of those staging areas in big groups and begin their southbound journey along the ocean side shorelines and flat edges of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.
While traveling southbound, These fish stop at the many bridges, passes, banks and backcountry basins that divide the gulf from the Atlantic to feed and rest, providing a myriad of opportunities for fisherman. By late May-early June most fish have already spawned and will start moving back up north to all the places where they came from.
There is nothing more exciting than watching a school of tarpon swimming over gin clear water coming right at you, or a tarpon laying motionless in a backcountry edge or basin while your guide maneuvers the boat on the pushpole to give you that perfect angle to capitalize on your shot. Without a doubt, this is one of the most challenging forms of fishing there is, as these traveling fish are not in a feeding mode but rather into a migratory pattern. You almost have to put the fly or lure right on their faces in order to trigger a reaction bite.
Tarpon are by far my favorite fish to target and Needless to say, I look forward to spring time every year. From April through early July, I find myself in the keys, fishing mostly fly fisherman during the day and running a few bait trips at late afternoon, into the night.
During any given day, we throw flies at the traveling schools of tarpon in the ocean side, travel to the Everglades backcountry to throw flies and plugs at rolling and laid up tarpon or drift live crabs and mullet in the bridges and passes that divide the Atlantic from the gulf. We have a constant traffic of fish and is not uncommon to see a couple hundreds or even thousands during any given fishing day. It is safe to say that there is no other place in the world to sight fish for tarpon like the Florida keys.
Tarpon season is the busiest time of the year for guides in south Florida and the keys. Most tarpon guides in the keys have a long time repeating clientele and are booked a year in advance by the same clients, year after year. Do not expect to find an open guide during prime tarpon time if you don't book your trips months in advance. Most fisherman book their guides for several weeks or days in a row so it doesn't take many people to max out a fishing guide's calendar during the season. That being said, it is absolutely necessary to book early.
Anglers from all over the world flock to the keys in the spring to try their luck at the mighty silver king. Although I have to honestly say, the word "luck" has minimum influence in this game, specially when it comes to flyfishing. Fishing for migratory tarpon in the clear waters of the keys demands casting ability and fishing skills that are only obtained with practice and time on the water. If you have never done this and never have picked up a rod bigger than a 9wt, do not expect to show up to the boat without previous preparation and have your guide do the magic for you.
If that is your case, start practicing your casting several weeks or months before the trip, book at least 3 days with the same guide and keep realistic expectations. Tarpon fishing is not a numbers game. During any given day you might have over 40 shots at fish, see a couple hundreds and only get a couple or more to eat, depending on your expertise and casting ability. Then some days you get the opposite, the fish won't push as good, the weather won't cooperate and shots will be few in between. You will need to take full advantage of those few shots and make them count. It also takes experience and skill to learn how to spot fish, present the flies, properly feed the fish, set the hook and clear the line. Once you hook one, you will also need to use the proper fighting techniques to break the will of a 100 pound animal attached to a fly rod, in the least amount of time.
You need to be able to properly double haul and cast 50 to 70 feet of line with a maximum of 3 false cast. It's almost always windy in the keys. In fact, the fish are less spooky and eat way better when the wind blows so you will need to be able to cast during windy and lousy weather conditions. Being able to develop line speed by proper double hauling is imperative and the only way you will be able to handle windy days. Tarpon fishing in the keys, as well as permit and bonefish demands your A game. Do not take previous casting training and preparation lightly. Practice your casting before the trip, not on the boat when the fish are passing in front of you.
This may sound complicated at first but as you do it, with the help and coaching of your guide, your odds of success will greatly increase. the reward of watching a 100 pound plus silvery animal, eat a 3 inch fly, in clear shallow water, and then sky rocket after ripping 200 yards of line off your reel, make it all worth it. It's a very compelling game and when you get it done, puts you at the pinnacle of the angling world.
I am a certified fly casting instructor (IFFF) and I have been passionately pursuing these fish at both ends of the skiff for several years. I can help you tune up your casting skills and guide you to the tarpon experience of your life.
As I'm writing this, I have open 2 days in April (22-23) 5 days open in May (17th through 21st) and 2 weeks in June. All prime tarpon time during the heart of the season in the keys.
Contact me and I'll be more than happy to help you make your tarpon dreams come true.
Tight lines and bow to the silver king!!
Finn and I started out our year with an afternoon kayak session on the pond and found a few pickerel looking for a fly and lure.
The new Bahamian Flats Fishing legislation has now been put into effect and as of Monday, January 9, 2017 all anglers fishing Bahamian flats (as defined in the regulations) will require a fishing ...More
The new Bahamian Flats Fishing legislation has now been put into effect and as of Monday, January 9, 2017 all anglers fishing Bahamian flats (as defined in the regulations) will require a fishing license.
Kosta Sherbovich is the future and the future is now... Yakutia was a true adventure, we went off the grid, hooked fish that have never seen a fly before, picked up Mammoth Tusks, but the ...More
Kosta Sherbovich is the future and the future is now... Yakutia was a true adventure, we went off the grid, hooked fish that have never seen a fly before, picked up Mammoth Tusks, but the highlight of the trip was this little guy, Kosta aka. fishing machine and poker face... This is the reason why we do what we do. The future looks bright!
We wish we could have added this to the full film, but just did not fit the time frame. But here it is still for you to enjoy.
Thomas & Thomas Fly Fishing | YETI | Simms Fishing Products
Ponoi River Company | Off the Grid Studios
Go and check out The F3T for the film...
From Outside Bozeman: "In Montana, where there’s little in the way of professional sports, our legends tend to be a little different. They are often those involved in sports and activities that ...More
From Outside Bozeman: "In Montana, where there’s little in the way of professional sports, our legends tend to be a little different. They are often those involved in sports and activities that embody our western ideals: fortitude, self-sufficiency, inner resolve, and an appreciation of, and respect for, the natural world. They are explorers, adventurers, cowboys, conservationists, and outdoorsmen. One of these legends is Montana’s famous fisherman, Bud Lilly."
Explore some of the best places to fish and start planning your next trip.
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