Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Quick note to say Merry Christmas to everyone. Be safe with your families, smile and hug those around you. Wishing you all the best...




Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Catch has a few prototypes in hand, and before too long they will start to sell a few of my go to flies. I am more than a little nervous, I hope they actually sell some!

Hybrid worm/soft hackle

Granted, it ain't too pretty, but it works!



Thursday, December 13, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

CATCH Fly Fishing

Big thanks to the crew over at CATCH for saving a spot on their fly design team for me. They have some serious talent on there with Gregg Martin, Adam Hope, Mark Erdosy and Trevor I suppose they could afford to add me!

Looking forward to a series of great carp flies! CATCH has also partnered with Carp Pro, lots of good things in the works.


Sunday, December 02, 2012

Carp Pro Podcast

Another great episode. Don't miss it, click here:

Carp Pro Podcast

Great discussion about stalking fish with a few gems like "I spend a lot of time on my knees". Some nice tips on how to get closer to those big fish, something I try to do whenever vaguely possible. My personal rule is I won't cast until I can see the carp's I do quite a bit of stalking.

That is Wendy Berrell, getting it done. Believe it or not, we are both in knee deep water in that photo. And yes, he stuck a carp.

And a video from this spring with Wendy...note, no fly line out the rod tip on this one!



Sunday, November 25, 2012


My dad once wrote, "My resolve is thin veneer, chipped and worn to nearly nothing. When you are alive this can happen you know."

While I wouldn't point to my resolve as the focal point for me currently, I understand the sentiment exactly. Of late, I have simply felt...well, thin. I enjoy my kids and family, and had a good day on the Deschutes today but I just don't feel right about anything. When I smile, it is for a short while and doesn't reach down deep. When I laugh, it seems to be only on the surface, and the underlying sadness is simply there, frequent and sudden and somewhat overwhelming. When you are alive this can happen you know.

My sister Darby once told me she likes the way I write..."you always go full circle, and bring things back to center" she said. Well, right now, I have no point in writing these first few words. No circle, no center, nothing to come back to in the end. I feel thin. Stretched out and knee deep...this is good on a carp flat, but in the cold of winter when missing your dad and unable to find the peace and joy you once found so easily on the hurts a bit. I know this: I am still fishing, but the joy isn't there right now. And I miss my dad.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Saltwater Carp

Well, not quite...but close.

From what Captain Willy Le was telling me, the Black Drum is closer in behavior to a carp than the Red Drum, but either way, this was a fantastic trip for a sight fishing junky like me. I flat out loved chasing these Redfish.

The method was relatively simple, but the actual application took a little work. Word is, the Mosquito Lagoon Redfish are the most educated and difficult to catch Redfish in the world. After a day on the lagoon, I believe it. Granted, I don't believe they are as hard to catch as a big C carp, but those fish were no fools. If the fly wasn't presented well, and moved correctly, they didn't eat. They had obviously seen a few fakes, and it took the right stripping technique to get them to believe the fly was the real thing. If you got it right...the takes were took me a while to get it right.

The basic method was to pole along, eyes peeled in the shallow waters looking for tailing or cruising fish. Much lke carp, they could be tough to spot, or could be obvious depending on the bottom and the sun. We saw a ton of fish. If we got too close, they were gone, so most of the shots were longer...40-50 feet. Instead of the 20-30 feet that I am used to working with. The fly had to be cast past and in front of a cruising fish, and right onto a tailing fish. Getting the big, wind resistant fly to the fish at distance in heavy winds (it blew like hell all day) was tough, and only part of the battle.

Once in position, the real work began. All told, I put the fly on dozens of fish. Most wouldn't eat, and I don't think it was because they weren't hungry. I messed up a ton of fish because I simply didn't fool them. Much like a cat, these fish wanted to play with their food. It had to be short, sharp strips of a few inches, nothing more, nothing less, but even that knowledge wasn't enough. When the fish would get interested and burst toward the fly, you had to take it away...but not too far away. If the fly escaped, they let it, but if it remained just close enough, they would go after it again. If the prey didn't run...well, the fish would lose interest in that as well. This game continued for several strips and feet, a mad and pulse raising vision of fits and starts and hope and heartache. But sometimes, the fish would seem to decide that was it and a white mouth way larger than you would guess would simply open up and inhale the fly. Then I would trout set and wreck the entire event.

It was glorious. Captain Le was patient with me, and a great teacher. Eventually I caught on and put it together to land my first ever Redfish. These are beautiful creatures folks. After one bout with success, I had something to build on and we started sticking fish left and right. One fish in particular charged the fly 3 or 4 times, appeared to lose interest and turn around to swim away only to do a complete 180 back to the fly and smash it in a booming charge that had both of us whooping and hollering. Heady stuff. We ended the day with 9 reds to hand, a great day for the lagoon...number ten was there for us, but popped loose after a few minutes battle.

This was an amazing day, and something I absolutely will do again. If you ever get to Orlando, look up Captain Le and take a trip with Native Fly Charters for Redfish in the Mosquito Lagoon. I know I will be back.


Thursday, November 08, 2012

Redfish goodness

Still in FL, but I had an awesome day with Captain Willy Le. I will write up a full report later, but redfish have a LOT of similarities to carp. In short...they are awesome.

More when I get home. Big thanks to Native Fly Charters and Captain Willy Le!


Thursday, October 25, 2012


I went salmon fishing today. Burned up half a day off at work to wade the river and throw yarn flies at coho.


The fishing sucked. No elaboration needed. My heart wasn't in it. I left early and went home to see the family.

It is good to be home.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Check out my wife's new book!  Every parent should be interested in this topic:

Yes, I realize I'm married to a saint.

Friday, October 19, 2012


As a carp fly fisherman, I am usually violently opposed to rain and cloud cover, but man did it feel good tonight. No fish to hand tonight, but it didn't matter. There I was, standing in a river...cocooned in Simms and Patagonia, my feet freezing, my hands and face cold and feeling warm inside where it counts. We all need to feel the water push against our legs and the rain fall on our face.

I often say that swinging flies bores me, and it can, but there is a beauty in the method too. The line rolls out, the river sweeps the fly down and across and sometimes a fish follows. I got one good tug tonight on a hange down while I had my face upturned and eyes full of rain. I didn't even mind missing the fish.

One gentleman shared the water with me, and he is clearly a better steelhead fisherman than I am. He brought this brightly colored fish to hand as I watched. I appreciate him letting me take a look and a went nicely with the rain.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Surf Perch

I have been wanting to catch a surf perch for a long time. Granted, they don't get very big, but I find them interesting, and the thought of catching anything in the crashing surf of a beach with a fly rod is really cool. Turns really is cool.

I gave it an attempt last night and managed to catch three, mostly through sheer will and persistent casting. Yes, I had read all the tips, but man...trying to read a "rip" or a "hole" at high tide isn't as easy as it looks. On a beach devoid of obvious tells, I flailed away and stripped flies through the froth. It worked. The fish are aggressive, so if you can show em the fly, they eat. What I learned last night is best summed up thusly.

Surf perch are easier to catch...but really hard to fish for.

I needed some help, so enter Alex from So Cal Flyfishing Outfitters. I hooked up with Alex this morning for a few hours, and it made all the difference in the world. Granted, I don't read a beach like I do a trout stream, and I can't touch Alex in that department, but things started to make sense. I could see what he was looking for, and I put the fly in much better areas than I had been the night before. The result? I caught a ton of perch. They are a schooling fish, so the action was in waves, but when you find a group, you are in business.

I am not dumb enough to attempt to give out tips after two attempts here in San Diego, for that call Peter and Alex at So Cal...they know their stuff. But if you get a chance give this a shot. Standing in crashing surf catching is a unique experience. I can't wait to try it again.

Thanks Alex!



Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Little known secret

Well, not exactly a secret, but typically if I am in "big fish" mode I am after water that looks like this:

Worth noting is the gravel, not sand or mud. Also worth noting is the steep drop off into deeper water. What you can't see, is that I am standing waist deep, and three steps farther into the river and I might have to swim. Big fish don't like to spend time in shallow water unless they are feeding or spawning, so places like this are great. They have shallows in which to root and feed, but the safety of the deep is really close by. The trouble is you have to spend a lot of time looking, and very little time casting. You move...walk, and look and hope that you happen to be in the right spot when that big carp decides to duck in there for a quick bit to eat. When you get the timing right, and manage to avoid blowing the shot, the results can be pretty good.

Be prepared to give up some numbers...water like the above quickly becomes a game of quality of fish over quantity of fish.


Sunday, October 07, 2012


My daughter Elia is alway up for an adventure. She is intrigued to simply wander the wilds and look around, content to get dirty, muddy, and wet. That is a quality that you can't teach, but you can certainly enjoy. She doesn't get tired, or bored, or crave more stimulation. As my wife says, she spends most of that time in her own head, marveling and deciphering the world around.

She is going to be a lights out fisherman. The process intrigues her, and she already understands that there are places fish like to be, and places they don't. Frequently, I can see her puzzling out why (she never asks, and I never offer) as she knows the fish will be on the soft side of the current seam, but doesn't quite know why. She will get there in her own time, and pushing her or telling her would take away the magic of the discovery...and she adores the magic.

She said to me today: "My hook is getting weeds on it, but that is good. Fish like to be near the weeds." The fishing isn't the end of it for Elia though. She loves the life of the woods and river. We carry a small net, and bucket on all of our trips. She always spends time in the shallows splashing around, looking in the rocks and the dirt...collecting mushrooms, branches, flowers, and anything else that catches her eye for our "nature table" back at the house. Today it was a cluster of mushrooms and a walking stick that we added to our haul for the walk out.

Everything seems fresh with Elia at your side.


Thursday, October 04, 2012

Sundog Glasses

Not a full review here, but as a new member of the Carp Pro pro staff, I got a pair of Sundog glasses in the mail the other day. Glasses are by far the most important piece of gear that I own...if I can't see the fish, I sure as hell can't catch it. These Sundog shades have a new Mela-lens that sounded pretty interesting on the website, and I was excited to give them a shot on the carp flats. Long story made short...we might have something here. The clarity is excellent, but what I really noticed was how well the colors stood out. Spotting color is a huge key for me. When I am looking for carp I first look for that a dark, gold, or tan color in the water. Second, I look for shape. That is pretty much it. I spot color at a distance, and look for angles that turn into fish prior to casting. Armed with those concepts and a good pair of polarized glasses, I am pretty deadly on a least in spotting fish. Spotting them doesn't really mean much, other than more chances at frustration and misery punctuated by occasional bouts of glory. Back to the glasses...the colors stood out. Hard to really describe what that means, and I clearly need more research (or so I tell my wife) but I am pretty excited to try these suckers out in lower light and cloudy conditions this spring.

Big thanks to Sundog and Carp Pro for the glasses. I plan on getting in more research soon and will report back.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tail End of the Season

The season is clearly winding down. I covered a lot of water today, and saw roughly 20 percent of the fish I normally see. Part of the problem is the angle of the sun doesn't allow for great visibility...but really, there just aren't as many fish around. Still, I stuck 7 or felt like a goodbye to the 2012 carp season for me. Two fish stood out.

I spotted a nice 17 lber tailing about 35 feet away. For the record, I am not a great caster, and this was going to be a tough shot. The fish was facing directly away from me, and the bottom was a slippery, noisy, cobble that prevented me from making any type of stalk on the fish. I couldn't actually see the fish's head, just a very active tail, and anyone who has fished with me knows my rule number one for carp fishing.

You don't cast until you can see the fish's head.

I looked at the situation for a few minutes, lined up a cast and let it fly. For a change, the flies landed exactly where I wanted, a slight hook cast that kept my line off the fish. I counted to four to let the flies get to the bottom and when I said four in my head the tail slipped under the surface, then reappeared about 10 inches farther away. Fish on.

The second fish was much more visual, but much smaller...a standard 9 lb Columbia River carp. I had a slightly elevated position, and was using a bushy tree for cover as I watched through the branches as the fish slow cruised into my target lane. Every few inches the fish was stopping to eat some moss off of a rock, or dig a nymph out of the cobble. The fish entered my window and I dropped a worm pattern into its path. The red worm stood out on the bottom, and from my elevated position I watched as the fish swam to the worm. He tipped up, and started vacuuming the bottom...but the worm didn't move. It must have been caught on some weeds, because it just sat there as the fish more and more frantically flared its gills and puffed out its lips in an attempt to eat the fly. Finally, the fish simply tailed up, almost vertical and smashed his mouth right onto the bottom and took a big mouthful of sediment...and the worm.

All in all, a good day.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Toothy Critter

One doesn't often think of salmon as toothy critters, but this old chinook had quite a set of canines. Personally, I would hate to get caught in a territorial battle with one of these guys. My green yarn fly likely didn't enjoy it much either...this guy liked his space.

Unfortunately, the coho were absent. I didn't even see a fish roll, so I was thankful for the chinook for breaking up the monotony. First salmon of the season for felt pretty good.

with the weather holding and the coho hiding in the big river waiting on rain, I plan on getting out for carp one more time this year.