17 hours ago
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
You all remember that dude that wrote the Flyfisher's Guide to Idaho and Montana? The same guy that wrote that article years ago in Fish Alaska Magazine about Anchor Point Steelhead in the Fall. Oh yeah, I remember that one. Well this cat has got something new going on. Greg's new project is an online magazine called, Anglers Tonic. Greg is working to bring the love, joy and frustration of our fly fishing lifestyles together. By covering obscure and destination waters, reviewing books, videos, articles and gear, while at the same time bringing music, culture and true stories from the river, Greg's putting it all together in this new online mag. Did I mention the pictures are badass? Go check out, you-all dig it!
In honor or Clay Sharp's recent return of boasting, I have added a book review that Andy Simon wrote when an ice storm stuck him at my place. Magical Fly Fishing for the Majestic Steelhead will really leave you with the question, "What did I just read and why?" If you want to learn how to catch steelhead like Clay, read some of Jim Teeny's books, after all that is how Clay is fishing. If you really want to learn how to swing flies for steelhead then read A Steelheaders Way by Lani Waller, A Passion for Steelhead by Dec Hogan or anything that Bill McMillian wrote. Clay still does not get it.
Book Review: Magical Fly Fishing for Majestic Steelhead
By Clay Sharp
I recently had the pleasure of reading a book that was entirely new to me. From the first glance at the title, I was pulled in and wanted more from page one. Magical Fly Fishing for Majestic Steelhead truly delivers. What it delivers however, I am still trying to figure out.
While spending some quality time at Steelie Mike's house with his dog and cats while he slaved away at work to pay for the next days fishing and my expensive bingo habit, I found one book that stood out from all the others. Magical Fly Fishing For Majestic Steelhead (MFFFMS for short) is attractively bound in a cover which I can only call a combo of dead hatchery kelt, sea foam, and crust. My excitement did not abate as I opened the front cover. Contained within these magical walls is a majestic mix of clever pros, powerful imagery, and caustic wit.
Clay Sharp started his fly fishing journey fishing the tailwater rivers of New Mexico. While he adds large trout are tough to find in these nutrient rich waters, he managed to catch a six and a half pound rainbow. Immediately after this astonishing feat of fly fishing prowess, Sharp adds to the aura of amazement by recalling his first steelhead fishing excursion. Many moons ago, Sharp was fishing a green-butted wolly worm, and with this simple tool took a very bright, above averaged size steelhead that took many runs into the backing. What’s more, he caught it on his VERY FIRST CAST EVER while steelhead fishing! Sharp adds that he managed to hook 4 and land 3 more bright, beautiful, magical steelhead that very afternoon. If this feat does not demand respect, I am not sure what does.
Breaking away from the run of the mill manuals of the day, Sharp takes a different approach to fly tying instruction. Instead of rambling on with mindless drivel about tying steps or fishing techniques, Sharp cuts right to the chase, informing you exactly how many steelhead he has caught with each fly presented in the book. After reading this section, I just had to sit down at the vise for a hot and steamy session producing each fly in the book, to catch thousands of bright, beautiful, magical steelhead myself. If you can look past the grammatical shortcomings and weak syntax, you will be left with a deep and passionate understanding of how many fish Sharp caught, from this section alone!
The heart and soul of MFFFMS does not lie in the amazing fly tying section however, it resides in the portion regarding how to find, land, and release dozens of steelhead each and every day. Once I find this section (3rd time through the book and still no luck) I will report back with great haste and a completed review.
This riveting work of erudite prowess ends in the best of ways. Sparing you once again from any boring thoughts on technique, Sharp displays his ability to take friends and kids out steelhead fishing and catch them limits every time. A true testament of raw skill, this book keeps you enthralled cover to cover, and burns quite well after a liberal soak in gasoline.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Here is a cool one for all you fathers and mothers out there. If you are interested in getting your kids into the wonderful world of fly fishing and the outdoors, check out Fishy Kid. Fishy Kid was inspired by two fathers who wanted to get their children interested in fly fishing. With the collaboration of the fly fishing industry as well as artists, writers and educators, they are able to bring it to you. You should check it out.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
The mythical Unicorn of the Deschutes has captivated the thoughts of every steelheader looking to catch their first Steelhead in the Pacific Northwest this Summer and Fall. Even more so this year with numbers approaching the epic returns of 2001 and 2002 in the Columbia River System. There will be many out there who will catch plenty of Steelhead in the tributaries of the Columbia River this year.
With a drastic change in my work schedule, the long drive, hike, bike ride or wheelin into the Deschutes as well as the arrival of salmon in our local rivers led my thoughts last tuesday from the Deschutes Unicorn to the Pegasus. The hard fighting Fall Chinook. These powerful, thrashing, jumping, bull dogging fish are great challenge for any angler and then there is always the off chance for that Lower Columbia Unicorn.
Now the morning did not actually start well. Not prepared for Fall, the rain hit me with a surprise and the six weight switch and seven weight single I had in the rig were a little bit on the small size for the fish we were hearing thrashing in the dark. You never know the fortune of the roll of the eight ball anyway and I thought what the hell, my odds are low anyway. Then at first light my good friend Keith Darnall hit the first fish. Bright and thrashing on the surface, it popped after the first burst. Filled with excitement I frantically casted and swung as quickly as I could while Keith hooked up again, bringing a small bright nook to the bank.
By this time in the morning I was expecting to see a lot of people out on the water, yet there were none. It was odd, just Keith and I with fish all around us. After a while I could tell my ten foot tip was not going to work and with the Teeny Mini Tip Keith was using, he seemed to be not only getting down to them quickly, but getting takes. I decided in haste to slice my ten foot tip down to six. I stopped snagging up and though was not touching rocks, felt as if I was getting a slightly better swing. Minutes later I found myself fishing two flies adding a larger fly in order to compensate for removing too much of the tip. Soon after I switched to two flies, I finally hooked up. This fish was a rocket and though I did not get a great look at it, I was able to see his chrome back before it came unbuttoned.
A few minutes later my second fish, a hatchery steelhead of about ten pounds was resting on the bank. Filled with excitement and still hearing and seeing fish porpoise in the river I started casting again and again. As more light showed over the horizon filtering through the overcast skies, we could see our adversary. Swimming through in waves and occasionally resting behind rocks and under the shade. Working down through the run and still not having any fishing company, Keith and I swung through the run until I saw a large fish that appeared to be a Chinook resting behind a rock. Casting slightly upstream I saw the fish dart at my fly. I immediately casted again at the fish and saw it move once again. Now with adrenaline and caffeine kicking in, I casted once more at the fish and saw it swim a foot or more over and hammer my blue MOAL.
This fish had to be a chinook, running and jumping into a large rock in the pool below the run. After slowing the fish down I released pressure to allow it to swim back upstream and away from the rock and then continued the battle. Minutes later I beached him. A large hatchery steelhead buck and not a nook. At 33 inches with a 15.75 inch girth, I fought within myself to end my morning and my day of fishing early, but with the amount of fish I had seen that morning and having it be so early, a line from Shakspeare's Henry V ran through my head. "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead."
The rest of the morning went into the history books with many more fish hooked and landed and all of them the same caliber as the first and second. My goal of catching my first Fall Chinook did not happen, but alas my name is not Salmon Mike anyway. Keith and I had a great morning and we didn't have to go far from Portland or deal with the large crowds congregating around the banks of the Deschutes. Damn good way to start my favorite season of the year.