Yep. Ties. In a fly shop. But they are from Simms, so it’s ok. Really. So, for those of you who wear these things, they are here!
Posts Tagged ‘Gear’
Fall is basically Christmas in the fly fishing industry – all the new goodies announced at the show start showing up at our doorstep, and Remy, our UPS guy is the best surrogate Santa ever. Today the Sage Train came for a visit! We received our first TXL-F (F for Four Piece) ultralight rods, two VXPs (a 5- and 8-weight), and the new 5-weight Xi3.
We also now have two of the DXL line of luggage – the large waist pack with a TRUE waterproof zipper, and the DXL Boat Bag – one of the newest and freshest ideas in tackle storage. Oh yeah, and that’s waterproof too. C’mon down and take a look at them all!
Apologies on the length between posts folks – we have been ripping and tearing, rending and pulling, stripping and setting to bring you the new and improved: www.tailwatersflyfishing.com – head on over and check it out! Also, Tex Moore and I just had the pleasure of casting the new (and unbelievably hyped-up) Loomis NRX rods.
After some reel-seat snafus, Shimano (Loomis’ parent company) is finally shipping these things. We currently have a 10 and 11-weight in stock, with a 5 and 8 to follow. So Tex and I took our new, stylish sunglasses and headed across the street to see exactly how overhyped these rods are.
Well, I stand corrected. I took the first spin with the 11, which is generally just like casting a 12 – unpleasant, with a bit of concentration on form to keep from smacking your head. Well, not with this rod. It is a bit hard to articulate, but aside from ginormous amounts of power (and spell check actually accepts “ginormous” as a word now without me adding it – awesome), I felt like I was casting a 6-wt, at least technique-wise. The rod loads and unloads with ease – no need to put a ton of muscle to it, but it still had plenty energy and strength to yield screen-door loops with just a typical cast.
Specifically, the rod loads ‘normally,’ meaning more like a 6 or an 8 – you feel it bend, you begin the forward cast. Basically, no extra amount of thinking, concentration, or power needed. Tex picked up on this instantly, it took my brain a second to clue in, which I’m sure has nothing to do with the inordinate amount of girls in skirts and cowboy boots parading around for UT/OU weekend. I really can’t wait to see what the other weights have to offer!
Sorry for the delay in this post, but things have been hectic here in Dallas, including the temperatures!
I was fortunate enough, the first week of June to head up to Black Canyon Anglers in Austin, Colorado for a much needed trout trip on the Gunnison River. A two-nighter on the river turned out to be absolutely spectacular! The Black Canyon was made famous by the movie, “The Hatch,” about the INSANE stonefly hatch on the river. I was (knowingly) about 2 weeks early for the prime-time hatching of all the big players (pternoarcys californica, or Salmonfly), but knew the streamer action was going to be absolutely intense!!
After looking at flights, I opted to drive up to BCA, and after driving through the high desert, came down into the valley oasis (Gunnison River Farms) that BCA bases its operations out of.
After meeting Ben Olsen, the assistant manager (and my guide for the weekend), I quickly put my gear up in cabin, located on site. The lower cabins are old mining shacks that the owners had brought in from Telluride, and updated on the inside – great little places to spend the night!
After a great dinner, I turned in early, as the 5:30 AM wake up call would soon follow. After a quick breakfast, we were on the “road” (i.e. four-wheel-drive only two-track across/into the desert) to the launch at the bottom of Chukar Trail – a 1.6-mile decent into the Black Canyon. Horses carry all the big gear in the night before, meaning boats, oars, food, coolers, etc., were waiting for us at the bottom, while we just brought our rods and dry bags in on our backs. A great (and pretty painless) endeavor.
Once we hit the bottom, Ben began to blow up and rig the raft for our trip, and I decided to throw a streamer or two in the pool above the first chute we would go through. On my second cast two rainbows chased my fly, right to my feet, just like a couple of pike. Speaking of pike, the first rainbow was just about the size of a northern – seriously (no guide lies here) in the 28″ range, and girthy to boot. The one trailing it was definitely over 24″, and my blood was racing.
As soon as the raft and gear were set, Ben shoved us off, and we went through our first small bit of whitewater, a small class II riffle. I proceeded to start pounding the banks, which got a few decent follows. We stopped about 1/2 a mile down river to fish a nice ‘rainbow riffle’ as Ben called it, where he promptly hooked a nice little brown on a tandem nymph rig. My personal motto being “Death before nymphs!,” I was obliged to throw the streamer a bit more. We broke for lunch in a cave (so damn cool), then moved on down the river. Prior to lunch I hooked and landed my first Gunnison fish – an nice 17-18 inch brown.
This would be the typical story for the rest of the trip – tons of follows, and more cookie-cutter 16 to 18-inch brown trout than I could count! Absolutely awesome! The majority were on a tandem streamer rig comprised of a top-secret white fly a friend ties, and a black stonefly-looking bugger with legs. If they took the white lead fly, the hookup was guaranteed, as they just LEVELED it. I missed plenty on the back fly, with the fish short-striking pretty regularly.
We set up camp the first night in Ute Park, at a fantastic campsite, with Filet Mignon for dinner, and tons of birds and blue-tailed Skinks to keep us company.
Breakfast was equally impressive, with the best AM spread I’ve ever had on a river.
Day two saw more of the same action, and some fantastic scenery to boot – Ben didn’t lie when he said it would only get better. He actually was the first (again) to stick fish this day, and caught a brown with some real cool coloration – very German-looking:
Although it does sound like a typical fisherman’s lie, I truly lost count of how many fish we hooked, moved, and/or landed that day. Any trip when you say, “eh. We have enough photos of 18″ fish” is absolutely incredible! My favorite type of streamer fishing is putting a fly in a pocket about the size of a bucket, and having a big boy come up and smack it. Typically, if you miss a shot, you get ticked, b/c there are only so many ‘good’ little pockets like that on most rivers. Not on the Gunny – pocket, after pocket, after pocket, after rock, etc. Unbelieveable. When a streamer fisherman dies and goes to heaven, this would be it.
I also had my ‘fish of the trip’ on day two – a 24″ brown that assassinated my white fly off a sheer cliff wall that I rapped it off of. What impressed me more than his size was the take and the fight – one of the best I’ve ever gotten out of old Brownie McGurk.
The second night we camped out at the location known as “T-dyke” campground, so named for the huge granite inclusions on the cliff walls forming the letter “T.” This was without question one of the most beautiful spots I have ever camped in my life. Sheer walls rising all around, with the water crashing over some good sized rapids below. Absolutely breathtaking. I could have filled about 7 SD cards with photos and still not captured all the beauty this place has.
Day three saw us hitting the most rapids in succession over the course of the trip. We hit three class IIIs, and a class IV all right together. Definitely a good time, and a great way to cool off! I managed (as BCA owner Rick put it) a “rodeo fish” at the top of one rapid – I threw into the pocket about 6′ above where the whitewater started, hooked up, and ‘relocated’ the fish all the way through two rapids downstream. Definitely one of the more memorable fish I have ever caught, and even though he wasn’t a big guy, he had a pretty cool adipose fin, and I couldn’t resist snapping a shot:
After the last run, we were in fairly quiet water for the rest of the trip, and I took a turn at the oars to let Ben toss some streamers for awhile, sticking quite a few nice fish on his black string leech. We took our time heading out to Pleasure Park take out, making sure to have a hike up the canyon where the Smith Fork comes into the Gunnison – there were some great swimming holes, but it was still a little high to take a dip, but what a beautiful trek up and in!
Overall this was a fantastic trip, and I cannot say enough good things about Black Canyon Anglers, Rick and Ben in particular. A third fishing, a third camping, and a third whitewater rafting make this a tremendous experience, and I truly look forward to working (and fishing!)with them going forward! Anyone interested in fishing the Black Canyon, feel free to get a hold of me at the shop! Tight lines!
Posted in Fly Fishing, Photography, Seychelles, Travel, tagged Abel, Flats, Fly Fishing, Gear, GT, Photography, Sage Rods, Saltwater, Seychelles, shark, Travel, Trevally on April 9, 2009 | 2 Comments »
Upon arrival, you realize quickly you are in paradise. Coconut trees, white sand beaches, tropical birds, everything is green and beautiful. The weather is typical for the tropics, warm and humid but very comfortable. We are quickly whisk away to our chalets which are very nice and comfortable, after unpacking we head to the fishing center to get geared up.
The days are very regimented, wake-up 5:45, breakfast at 6:00 meet at the fishing center by 7:00 load up on the Tam Tam by 7:15 and off for the 45 minute run to the skiffs.
David and I are fishing together today….when we arrive at the skiffs, the weather is somewhat questionable. Thunderstorms in the area and very bad light for the flats. We head out for a morning bone fishing session and quickly hook up with several 4-6 lb fish. After about 3 hours, the sun comes out and we head out to look for Milkfish. Milkfishing is an art unto itself. Milks don’t actively feed, they slurp algae from the surface. We quickly locate a school of fish on the surface and David takes the first shot. It takes no more than 5 casts and he’s hooked up. After an eventful 1 hour and 9 minute fight, we land a beautiful 25 lb fish.
After a short break we search for more Milks. We find many more schools and have several great shots but no luck….I couldn’t coerce one to take my “algae fly.” At 4:00 we meet back at the Tam Tam and head back to Alphonse. On the back of the Tam Tam we notice several big GTs (Giant Trevally), Trigger Fish, Surgeon Fish and Bat Fish. They love bread!
By the end of the day, the 24 hours of travel, the long fishing day, and the heat have caught up with everyone. We are all ready for dinner and a good night’s sleep.
David and I again fish together and our goal for the day is a big Geet. Our guide for the day is the eternal optimist, Deven. Early on we search the edges for GT”s and about 11:00 we embark on a 3o minute walk to “Big Wreck”. The wreck is a Japanese tuna boat that ran aground during the 60′s. Again, the light is poor and spotting fish is difficult. David fishes the surf and sees several big GTs but no luck. I fish for triggers and other reef fish while waiting for the tide to push. Once the push begins, the big GTs come in behind the surf and look for baitfish in the holes. Deven points out one of his favorite spots for GTs and on the first cast a huge Geet crushes my fly….he comes straight at me and I’m not able to get a good hook set. I re-cast into the same spot and again a big Geet crushes my fly….I get a good hook set and it’s off to the races. I have to negotiate coral and pieces of the wreck but land the fish relatively quickly.
At dinner, everyone is beginning to get rested up and acclimated to the new time zone. The food is incredible: “Catch of the Day,” Typically tuna or grouper or mahi mahi.
Today my fishing partner is Scott Mathews and our guide is the infamous South African, Wayne. Our goal this morning is Bonefish with the occasional opportunity for a Permit. We arrive on “prawn beds” flat at about 8:15 am. Wayne told me on the way that he routinely sees permit on this flat early in the morning. We get out of the boat and immediately see two permit heading our way. I take the fish on the right and Scott takes the fish on the left I have about 15 seconds to get my line out and make two false cast before I lay the perfect 50 foot cast about 10 feet in front of the permit. I strip it one time and he’s on it. He tails, and it’s on….I’m using a 7wt Sage Xi2 with and Abel Super 7. It handles the fish just fine and I land the fish in about 15 minutes. Check out the cool new hat from Twintail Clothing Company! Could it be more fitting?
While I was busy landing the permit, Scott caught 12 bones with the biggest being around 7 lbs. After the permit, I joined Scott on the flat and we wore out the Bonefish. Scott caught about 25 in two hours and I must have caught 15 including a big barracuda that cut my line after about 15 seconds.
After lunch Scott and I fished a flat known as “Guantanamo Bay”….Wayne says this flat has the largest concentration of Permit in the entire atoll. He’s right…we’re immediately on Permit. Scott has a great shot, the permit eats his fly turns to run and breaks the 25 lb leader. Over the next 3 hours we have at least 15 shots at picky permit. Along the way we see a 6 ft Lemon Shark that is a little too curious. We conclude the day with some more Bonefishing and it’s back to the Tam Tam by 4:00.
My new fishing partner is Dr. Roy Washburn, our guide is Matthiew the Frenchman. Our goal for the day is Geets and Milkfish. We spend the first 2 hours looking for milks, we find several feeding pods and Dr. Washburn makes 40 good casts but no luck. After a while, it’s time to look for Geets. We head outside of the reef to the west side, along the way we see two huge Green Turtles mating.
We are fishing about 400 yards outside the reef in about 25 feet of water. The waters is so clear you can’t image what we see, green turtles, hawksbeek turtles, barracuda, rays, sharks, parrot fish, surgeon fish, milkfish, and I must not forget, the most important: Giant Trevally. I’m on the deck and Matthieu say’s “Huge GT at 2 o’clock.” I turn to my right and see a huge GT sitting at about 40 ft. I make 2 false casts and land the fly 5 feet in front of the fish. The image is still burned into my mind. As the fly is falling to the water, the fish sees the fly in the air and meets it as it hits the surface….it is an incredible collision. I feel the Geet and make 3 big strip strikes and he takes off, burning line off my reel. As I clear the slack line, I can feel the power in this fish, but all of a sudden…..there’s nothing there - he’s gone. What did I do wrong? Did I give him too much slack? I’m completely dejected but what can I do? By this time its time for us to walk to the surf. We park the boat in an area called “Ratrays”, eat lunch and then head off to the surf.
We’ve been at the surf for 30 minutes or so and have seen 3 or 4 GT’s but nothing close enough to cast to….Roy casts to several trigger fish then all of a sudden, Matthieu says “Tiger!!!” There is a huge tiger shark in the surf about 100 feet away. GT’s are known to follow tigers so we immediately start to follow the tiger looking for GTs. The tiger is riding the wave so he’s getting closer all the time….luckily the tiger never sees us but there were no GTs on him. We continue our trek down the reef and all of a sudden I see this GT riding the surf right towards us…he ends up in a small pool write in front of me about 25 ft. I make a short cast and once again I’m hooked up to a big GT. He runs and takes all the slack line and then all of a sudden, “Snap!!!” my fly lines breaks. Again, I’m completely crushed…I go to my knees in disgust….mistake, I’m standing on coral, I cut both my knees but that’s the least of my worries. What have I done wrong this time? Turns out, the line caught on the frame of my reel…..my mistake! We fish for another hour and then head back to the Dolphin Skiff for the short trip to the Tam Tam and then back to Alphonse.
Again my fishing partner is Dr. Washburn, our guide is the legendary Scott and our goal is a big GT. We spend the entire day searching the deep coral edges of the flats. Roy and I take turns on the front but it turns out to be a long day. We see several fish and have a couple of good shots but nothing seems to be interested in our flies. The most exciting part of the day was a HUGE barracuda that I hooked and fought for 4 jumps before he cut the line. He was at least 6 ft long and weight probably 50 lbs. I sure wish I would have had a wire leader on!!! No fish landed but a great day non the less. Great companions in the most beautiful place in the world. Who could ask for more than that?
The final fishing day of the trip and again I am fortunate to be fishing with Dr. Roy Washburn and our guide is Wayne. In the morning we decide to have a bonefishing session and go to a flat known as “The Highway”….true to bonefishing in the Seychelles there is an endless supply of large singles. We each catch 12-15 fish and we decide it’s time to look for GTs (sense a theme?).
For lunch we go to a spot called “Coral Gardens.” I snorkeled there earlier in the week and Roy had to check it out. We anchored the boat ate lunch and had a quick 15 minute snorkle. The place absolutely comes alive when you stick your head under the water. 100′s of species of fish and the most beautiful coral you can imagine.
After a short break we head off in search of GTs. After and hour or so, we see two huge black spots about 250 feet ahead of the boat. Waynes speeds up the boat slightly to get ahead of them so I can make a cast. No pressure but Wayne says “Brent, these are two 100 lb fish, you have to make the cast of your life.” I’m anxious but very calm, we approach to within 120 feet and I begin to make some small false cast to get some line out….I’m just about to try a 90 foot cast and they make us! They turn left and it’s all over. Easily the biggest fish I saw all week. We’ll it’s time to go home, we head back to the Tam Tam.
Our plane doesn’t leave Alphonse until 5:00 pm so we have time to fish in the morning. David and I head out early on the North side of the island to look for GTs in the surf. It’s early and there’s not much light but on the way out, we see some wakes. We assume it’s bonefish so I make a cast in front of one of the wakes and hook up to a Trigger Fish….it’s a great fight on a 7 wt.
We make our way to the surf and look for GTs for about 3 hours…we see several big GTs and make a few casts but no real good shots. We finally decide to call it good and go back and get ready to go home.
We rinse off all our gear, lay it out to dry and relax until our plan arrives.
Our long journey home begins once we leave Alphonse at 5:00.
We have a 6 hour layover in Victoria, Seychelles, a 4 hour flight to Dubai, 2.5 hour layover then a 16 hour flight to Houston, 2 hour layover and a 1 hour flight to Dallas. All in all, I would endure the travel again – for the fishing. Without doubt, the best fishing on the planet.