Jul 12

What I did this last weekend instead of blogging

I went camping and fishing with my little girl.  It was my fiancee’s bachelorette weekend and that meant some time with just the 5 year old any myself.  We went up to the Upper McCloud River, at the foot of Mount Shasta, about 5 hours from San Jose.  For those of you in NYC or Florida, this kind of California may surprise you.  It is a deep, dark green with towering trees. Flowing through this dark and pervasive wilderness green are several extremely fishable rivers.  This was my destination.

The not-Hollywood part of California

We got up to the campground on Saturday morning, grabbed one of the last two spots and quickly set up camp.  My 5 year old was immediately enamored with a 6 year old boy across from us, which I fear foreshadows a certain amount of trouble come the teen years. Eventually, I threatened her into convinced her it was time to go fishing.  We got down to the water quickly and on the 2nd or 3rd cast I was hooked up. She got to fight the fish and then touch it. I asked her if she wanted to kiss the fish and she said yes. So, she did.  This, when I asked later that night what her favorite part of the day was, proved to be her favorite incident of Saturday. All told she says she kissed three fish that day.  She also told the neighbors that I caught “one million two” fish.

I can hear my dad saying “Keep the tip up!”

None of this hurt my feelings.

ABS with her trout. Love it.

My folks came for dinner and that meant I got to hit the water with my dad between dinner and smores. In the two little stints of fishing I had I don’t know how many fish I caught, but it was a lot… maybe 40. Turns out they had just stocked the river with truck trout. I don’t really go places to fish for hatchery fish as I love wild fish over human-raised fish, really regardless of size. Still, “the tug is the drug” and I can’t complain.

A few special moments were created on and around the waters of the Upper McCloud. Water has a way of doing that.

Just a girl and her trout.


Once the sun came off the water, ze brownz starting poking about.

One of the things learned by fishing with a 5 year old is that the line between “we are having a great time” and “I… (sob, sob) want to go back to the camp ground… (sob, sob)… NOW!” is a perilously thin line, easily crossed with no warning or explanation.  There is a fair bit of balancing between pure joy and pure frustration, but I guess life is like that to one degree or another.

I urge all the parents out there to get their kids out on the water. Let them kiss a fish and watch it in a bucket and hold the rod and take credit for landing it. Turn over rocks and show then the bugs and talk about the trees and the flowers and the plants.

Don’t forget your daughters. Happy fishing all.

Jul 12

Rods that travel

Now, I’ve come up with my own work around to get my rods from Point A (bonefishless place) to Point B (bonefishful place). It is very practical, but not very attractive.  It involves a soccer sock and some REI straps.

How I roll.

Well, looks like Sage has just come out with a new traveling rod case.  Hmmmmmm….

I think I just lost the style war.

Watch for them to show up at Sage.

PS – I see the word “bookmarks” at the top of the page when published, but not on the edit screen. I have no idea what that is there for.

Jul 12

Killar bonefishing

Local papers sometimes run stories about folks from their area having great travel experiences. With a Google Alert set for bonefishy news, I sometimes see these stories come in through my in-box.

This story is interesting because it isn’t your normal trip. It is actually one of the Destination X trips from Angling Destinations. Because of that, we won’t get to know exactly where they were, but it sounds interesting.

One of the best parts of the story is that the main protagonist’s name is “Killar” which sounds like a pretty hard-core prison nickname.

Ten fish is a good day of bonefishing, and each of the guys had more than 10 in the first couple of hours. Killar said the fish he caught averaged more than 6 pounds — including a 10-pounder.



Jun 12

The lexicon of tarpon

No one has ever cared about how many trout I got to eat in a day.  You don’t count the number of trout you get to jump.

The reason that no one talks about those things is because they are pretty trivial. If you get a trout to eat, it is likely going to get hooked and if you get it hooked… well… odds are good that it is going to be landed.

Tarpon fishing is different. It is an accomplishment if you can get one of those massive, per-historic piscatorial wonders to eat. If you get it mostly right and you get a little lucky, you’ll get one to leap out of water in a cartwheeling, frenetic explosion.

Only when it all comes together, when you do what you need to do and you have luck on your side do you get to see the whole thing through to completion and hold that fish in your hands and look into it’s bottomless eye and feel the coarseness of its mouth and then see it swim away, maybe coming up to gulp some air before it continues on its migration.

That’s why people care about the fish you fed, the fish you jumped and the fish you landed.  It is all hard and unlikely and intoxicating and so, so, so much fun.

That’s a very real smile.


Photo by Jim Klug

May 12

Bonefish Shirt Week – Skinny Water Culture

They guys over at Skinny Water Culture continue to do strong, strong work.  I’m a fan and have been since I first found them a few years back.  I’ve seen more and more folks in their gear.  I even saw a guy in a hotel in Cuba wearing a SWC shirt. Nice to see good things happening to good people.

You can find this bonefish microfiber shirt here.

Yup, I have this one too.

May 12

Bonefish Shirt Week – 411#3

Matt over at the blog 411#3 has a series of shirts soon to be available based on his 4 tenants of saltwater fly fishing. These certainly do ring true for me and I’ll be getting one of these in the not too distant future.

Here’s the store.


Mar 12

The Quiver for Cuba

The days are in single digits and I’m starting to get really annoying on the whole “Guess where I’m going?!” thing.  The media tour with Yellow Dog and Avalon is fast approaching and my rods are finally all here.

There they are.

This is what’s on tap.

  • 11 wt – Predator from Redington (I fished this in a 9 in December)
  • 10 wt – Helios from Orvis (I’ve fished this before in a 10 and an 8 )
  • 8 wt – One from Sage (brand new)
  • 8 wt – mystery prototype rod

That’s a pretty sweet line up. The only thing I don’t really have in there is a dedicated permit rod, but that’s because I hope I find more time casting to baby tarpon and not-baby bonefish than searching for permit. I just can’t help it… that’s how I feel. Don’t hate me.

These are not my rods, of course. The sad day when I get back will be returning these rods to their corporate parents. I hope to get a sense of where the new Sage One stacks up to one of my favorite rods, the Helios.  The Predator is a good, workman rod that is the low-cost rod of the bunch. The prototype? I’ve never cast a prototype before.

Basically… I’ll keep you posted and I. CAN’T. WAIT.

Nov 11

Guides making it look easy

Well… guides can really make this look easy.  Here we have a guide in Andros make a backhand cast in some decent wind and hookup pretty much instantly.

Sure made that look easy.

Sep 11

San Diego Bonefish

Reposted from the archives.


Yeah, there are bones in San Diego Bay.  They are not as big as they get… well… in most places.  Doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with them though.

This isn’t the kind of bonefishing most of us think of… no walking the crystal flats looking for subtle movment.  This is sinking line and blind casting.  If you have a kayak, you can head out there yourself.

If you are looking for a guide (like SoCal Fly Fishing Outfitter), you can pick one up for about $350 (before tip).

This trip is certainly under $1,000.  You’ll just have to take another trip for the mangroves and conch.

On bait, some fish around 2-3 pounds  can be caught, although fly fisherman tend to get smaller fish from the reports I’ve read.

Jun 11

A real purdy boat

I like boats.  I don’t have one, but I like them.  I like the look of them.  I like being on them.  My favorite place in the whole world (at least that I can talk about) is on the bow of a flats boat.  It means I’m after bonefish.  I’m somewhere that is probably pretty awesome.  Good things are afoot.

Hell’s Bay makes some really good looking boats… really, really nice.

That’s the Marquesa Advantage and it looks awesome.  It costs more than 2x what my new Mazda costs, but I’ll bet it is more fun.