Friday, July 30, 2010

Blinded by the Bling...


















Ol' Wonderboy Sean V, owner of the Silver Bow Fly Shop found himself some Eastside Bling this week. 

God bless July Steelhead

Apparently this girl kicked his ass on the spray pole and although the picture didnt do her justice, it was a great great battle and she swam away to go do her real job...procreate

Also, Steelface anglers beware as you head eastward this fall.  If you hear a ratt ta tattle....get away.  Sean found this guy sunning himself just feet from his truck.  Narsty little beast

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fly Hall of Fame, Reader Responses Vol.2

The Unaccomplished Angler edition...
















Straight from Captain Kirk himself, a tale a fly not tired, but retire.

"Several years ago my brother and I decided to splurge and did our  
first guided trip on the Yakima with Johnny Boitano. I'd fished the  
river countless times, but my brother had only fished it once prior to  
that.  I figured what the hell- it would be worth it to see my brother  
get into a nice fish. 
 
I hoped to catch something a little bigger than  
the typical 10-12 inch fish I'd regularly caught (those caught between  
skunkings, that is). It was late July and the hoppers were already  
starting, so as you can imagine we were throwing big  
uglies...Chernobyls that, like your retired fly, looked like nothing  
in particular but many things in general, I guess.  We were a good  
ways into our float and the sun was just dropping behind the canyon  
walls. We'd each caught a few cookie cutter rainbows, and were having  
a great time with Johnny putting us on fish and joining in on the  
friendly banter that only brothers can share.  I made a cast to a  
particular blade of grass on the shoreline (right where Johnny told me  
there would be a fish), and instantly the water exploded and my 4  
weight bent nearly to the cork.  "Good fish...Great fish!" Johnny  
proclaimed with honest enthusiasm. "Don't lose it- I'm going to get  
the boat to shallow water!"  A tall order for sure, but I managed to  
keep the fish on as Johnny rowed cross the current to the slow water  
on river left. The fish lept 3 or 4 times, completely showing itself.   
The end result was a nice thick rainbow, an honest 19 incher. It was  
my biggest trout of the non-anadromous variety to date, and remains my  
largest Washington trout . 
 
Come to think of it, maybe I should  
take the fly out of retirement: it's still got plenty of life in it,  
and I haven't caught a Yakima trout over 14 inches since then"
 
No Kirk,  you keep that fly in your hat band.  It's casting a good amount of good Ju-Ju on you as we speak



Send your Fly Hall of Fame pictures to jmills81@hotmail.com

Thanks!

Working Snake River for Washington: Glimpses through a knothole


Recently I was asked to write a short essay for the Working Snake River Project about what the Snake River is like for us fly fishermen and women.  Please take a second to click the link, read the essay and learn more about this killer project going on right now.

The Working Snake River Project is an offshoot of Save Our Wild Salmon and has the goal of bringing all stakeholders together (Farmers, Politicians, Fisherman, EVERYONE) and letting all have their say in the restoration of the Snake River Basin and it's fish.

Working Snake River for Washington: Glimpses through a knothole: "From fly fisherman’s perspective, fishing the Snake River in its current form for Steelhead is about like looking through a hole in a fence..."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fly Hall of Fame, Reader Responses Vol.1

I had a feeling this topic would hit home with some of Chucking Line and Chasing Tail's readers.

First up, Josh from Bigerrfish  and his tale of a streamer that continued to catch fish, even though the fly's death was imminent.

I was float fishing cone heads one day, I had tied three of these, figured out that the fish liked them.  Lost the first one to a rock, fished the second one for half the day until it was chewed pretty bad, then later lost it.  I had one more and for some reason it beat the other two hands down in the after noon. This is the fly in the first pic, it has made it to the hall of fame, no doubt. the other pic was when it was new






Before the crush-fest



Post abuse, and now...





Into the Fly's Hall of Fame

Another entry tomorrow from the Unacomplished Angler himself.

Feel free to send your submissions to:

jmills81@hotmail.com

Monday, July 26, 2010

A fly's retirement...to the Hall of Fame

















Through several tour of duties, through dozens of cutties and rainbows, it's stayed with me

Hung up in branches, slapped on the water by a few rookies and it's stayed with me.

Chewed to shit by big fish and little fish alike, frayed with legs missing, its stayed with me

My father in law asked what it mimics on the water.  Couldnt tell you, maybe a Stone, maybe a Hopper...who cares, fish like it, A LOT.

This Chubby Chernobyl has officially been retired to my Fly Hall of Fame.  Not so much for specific patterns, but specific flies who went on and on, catching fish after fish and hanging in there. 

We've all put a fly only to have it's hackle unfurl or countless other calamities that can occur,  rendering it useless.  That's utter frusteration

But not this guy.  It's done work, and now....to my personal Fly Hall of Fame

Others out there...tell me about a special fly that you hold onto and wont fish again.  Maybe it's the fly to rise your first fish.  Maybe it's your first swung steelhead.  Sure would love to hear those stories, and I would also love to repost them here at Chucking Line and Chasing Tail. 

Send your fly stories to jmills81@hotmail.com

Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Location Stinky Finger

A friend and I recently found a local farm bass pond inside of town.  I consider it unbelievable that I've lived my WHOLE life here and I hadnt as much caught a wiff of this place in my 29 years.  Us fishermen can be tight lipped S.O.B's huh?

Getting there was a bit, ah...narsty to say the least.  Making the mistake of not wearing waders, I charged through the swamp that gets you to the pond in nothing more than sandles and quick dry fishing pants.  The prize of what was ahead kept me going through the decaying plant matter that smelled worse than bottled farts

Finally we arrived at this little sweet piece of water.  Slow at first, as soon as the light flattened out in early evening, the laregmouth of this pond crashed our poppers without abandon.

























A little feesh for Mr Jordan

We had lots of little guys crush the popper, but you had to be on your game because every once and a while, one of these street thugs would come knocking

























Due to it's triple secret location, we have dubbed this place

"Location Stinky Finger"

So if you want to go, be prepared to be blindfolded, spun in circles, driven in different directions for hours, forced to listen to Celine Dion,  eat nothing but dry Grape Nuts and given a Zebco Barbie rod to catch your first fish

Then you're cool.

Monday, July 19, 2010

When in doubt, throw rodents...















Apparently bass have a hankering for swimming mice.  It kind of gets you thinking...


















How many mice do these fish actually see in real life?   For as much as they tip, slash and slam on the mouse, you'd think that it's the main portion of their diet.  Or maybe, they look at a mouse like we look at New York Strip on a menu.  Both of us just cant refuse.























A few more New York strip eaters....




















Sunday, July 18, 2010

The White Unicorn of July

Mythical creatures.  Bigfoot.  Yeti.  Loch Ness

The July caught Clearwater River Steelhead.  Mythical to me no longer.

This time of year puts us at the extreme leading edge of the upcoming steelhead season here on the east side of the mountains.  Fish are pouring over Bonneville Damn in record numbers again, but it takes time for them to reach their Eastside Tributaries of the Columbia and Snake Rivers.  As of last week, 200-400 fish were trickling over Lower Granite Damn, just enough cross our fingers.   At least it's an excuse to spey cast

After a ripping day on a Snake River tributary (report tomorrow) for Smallmouth Bass, new fishing buddy Adam J and I found ourselves taking our turn down the Stink Hole on the Clearwater in the early AM.

My new Echo 2 eight weight in hand, it was time to drop some bombs and hope against hope that a player would yikeee yank yank the loop right out of my hand. 




















The Echo rod just felt crisp and well balanced with a 525 grain compact skagit.  


















One great cast and into the swing...bump bump KA bam. 

I hooked my white unicorn


















3 cartwheeling jumps and 5 minute flight later, this little beauty was brought to hand.  One of the cleanest hatchery fish I have ever seen,  it was very gratifying to find out from the old timers who swung the run before us that it's the first fish they have seen caught since the river opened in July....

More to come, the 2010 Steelhead season for me is open for business

Monday, July 12, 2010

Playing Guide














In the lifelong journey that is fly fishing, I'm entering a new phase

I now derive the same satisfaction in watching someone else catch fish as I do when I set the hook.

The passion still burns white hot to fish, to chuck line, and to be outdoors but this day was as refreshing as  Manny's on a 90 degree day.  This day, buddy Brian joined me as I manned the sticks, called the shots and got him rolling on rising fish















The free rising Cutthroat of North Idaho can make anyone feel like a champ when your timing's right and they have a hankering for flies as big as a foam pillow.   From start to finish, they were willing dance partners

Being behind the wheel on this day had me thinking outside of the vision of what you see when you deliver the fly.  Looking ahead, predicting, instructing...and of course, peeking around the angler and dividing your time between watching the fly and keeping the boat in the right spot all combined for a hell of an experience.

There's something electric than watching the sequence of events when you see the fly, the fish slashes and the angler hit's the go button and becomes connected.  Its as if you're connected as well to that same line















 Of course, I had to deliver some of the pattened guide lines I've heard from myself and from my buddies who guide

"no, the other rock"

"great cast"

"yep, that's just a little tangle...just let me take a look"

and of course, the good one when the fish rises.....  "Hit it"




















I can really begin to understand the "Stream of Consciousness" video by RA Beattie

In the last hour of the day, I relented on my driving duties and gave the sticks to Brian.  He did a great job and put me into fish....but nothing was better than earlier in the day when I marked a likely spot, Brian delivered the cast and a toad came up and slapped the bug.  This beautiful Cutty CORKED him way into his backing.  On this river, that doesnt happen much

We finished the day and we both had the 100 yard stare. 

Brian's was from catching fish

Mine was from helping make that happen. 

So big UPS are due to by friends out there like Joe Willauer, Rooster, Brazda, Dylan Rose, Rick Hedding and all others who get up 15 straight days and take people out into the fishing world we enjoy so much.  You work your asses off day in and day out.  You deal with all personality types and keep going.  I don't think I will ever actually guide, but I understand the drive.  Cheers to you.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

Destination....A Bass's Mouth














Sunday this Mouse of the Morish variety has a date with the inside lip of a smallmouth bass.














And if they're lucky...this one too

















A great example from last year.  They just cant resist the meeces with the red tail.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

More Pictures from Cutthroat Heaven
















Whoops, OMR got in the shot
















His hat now doubles as a fly box






















Very underappreciated, extremely fishy water. 
















Sorry, another picture of the Snarf-Monster
















And the culminating picture from the day.  We had so much fun, caught so many fish, that even Murph-Dog had to take a nap mid drift. 


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

So that just happenend...

















Two fish, at the same time.

We began the drift under sun drenched skies and a river void of other boat traffic.  4 weights with dries, 5 weights were saddled with nymphs and small streamers to attract Westslope Cutthroat

Into the first run of the day, OMR was on the sticks and I won the right to chuck line first.  About 3 minutes in, a nice 15 inch cutty slammed my Chubby Chernobyl.   A really nice fish on this particular river, not a dink at all

While in the process of wrangling the fish in, a monster came calling.













The first slashing attack, the monster Bull Trout missed the Cutthroat.  Undeterred, it came back and this time, clamped down for good on my fish

Did I mention I was fishing a 4 weight rod with 5x tippet?

Bull Trout are a protected fish, un-targetable.  I do not condone fishing for them in the system I was fishing, but in this instance, I had to land this fish in the quickest manner possible, and in turn, release it as fast as possible.  I dont think a size 8 Chubby Chernobyl would work well inside of the Bull Trout.

Now I have fished these mountain rivers enough to see this happen before.  The small trout smashes around on the surface, and the big boys come to investigate.  I've even had one clamp on before, but NEVER have I heard of them holding on...and continuing to hold on

OMR quickly beached the boat, and I dropped out to try and get the upper hand.

Thankfully, amazingly....I won the battle.  I had to gingerly remove the Cutthroat  from the Bull, took the fly out of the cutty's mouth, and then release the Bull.  Also, the Cutthroat lived and swam away










My guestimation gage put this monster at over 8 lbs and pushing 28-30 nches. 

After the dust settled on that exchange, OMR turned to me and said....and I quote


"So that just happened"

Yes Dad, yes it did...

More photo's from this day coming tomorrow.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

"O" Faces...

















Smallie...

















Largie....

A little "O" face love from the bass population at Deer Lake on America's Birthday. 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Case Study in building brand loyatly....Lamson-Waterworks

When I tell people outside of the fishing community why I choose to spend so much on my gear, it tell them without a doubt...it's all about the warranty

I am, without question, tough on gear.  God did not grace me with the ability to lesson my impact on items like clothing, rods,  reels and footwear.  I break a lot of sheet

And to the point of this post.  My amazing interaction with Lamson Waterworks.

These people just know how to do business. I was a fan before, but now I am a Lamson evangelist.

Here's what happened.

I had a Lamson Radius 3.5 that was years old, and was a backup reel to a 3.5 Lamson Velocity.   Both reels have been USED, and kept coming up for air.














From 2 Trips to Belize..

















To countless days on the Methow and the Grande Ronde...















And even a day or two on the Carp Flats.  These reels just kept rocking.

Then, my Radius just plain blew up.  In pieces. Epic breakage.   Not a chance for me to fix it.

A quick phone call down to the Lamson factory, and the welcoming voice of Tim assured me...he'd take care of me.  And while I was at it...why not send down a few other Lamson reels and we'll service them as well...no extra charge

Off to the Fed Ex with fingers crossed, I sent the pieces of my Radius and my battle worn Velocity off to Boise

Five days later....I repeat...just five days later, I came home to a present sitting on my doorstep.






















Welcome home Mr Velocity....

And if you know a thing or two about Lamson, you'd notice that it isnt a rebuilt Radius sitting there.

Nope, they replaced it with A BRAND NEW GURU model
















And the Velocity has been restored to factory condition.

All I paid was a $20 service fee.  Outstanding....

A brand is built in two ways.
1. Your products

2.  More importantly, how you interact, service and listen to your end user.   To me, the most vital component to this whole process is service.

I do not believe that the customer is always right.  Sometimes their flat out wrong in their attempt to get what they want. 

In this instance, Lamson nailed it. 

Always a fan of their products, I now get to shout from the rooftops (my blog) about how amazing their service is.  Without even asking, Tim at Lamson was the one that went beyond what I was asking for ( a rebuilt Radius) and then offered to service my other reels at the same time (the Velocity).  I have 3 other Lamsons...my only regret is that they are in perfect condition and dont need an ounce of work performed on them

You can bet your you know what I wont be thinking much about what brand of reel I will buy next go around.  I may sound like a 12 year old schoolgirl gushing over her latest crush, but I dont care.  This company rocks

I am currently in a tug of war of sorts with a high end rod manufacturer on the east coast that DOESNT GET IT over a broken spey rod .   It only serves to highlight how good this interraction was. I will continue to be Lamson brand loyalist...and reccomend them to anyone that wants to listen

The other rod maker...not so much, not at all, never again.

So here's to you Lamson Waterworks....nice work!

Visit Lamson on the web HERE