Friday, February 4, 2011

Stepping Up

Matt Klara and Brian Chou on a Eastside river. Photo: Ben Dow

Now I am not sure if the two of you that actually read this thing have noticed or not, but I have not been writing crap for a while now. Essentially it is hard to scribble the thoughts from the ghetto of your mind when you haven’t really fished in months. For reasons to be discussed at a later time, a couple of the boys are going to add a bit of flavor to this thing.

Klara Photo: Ian Majszak

The first post from Matt Klara came last week. Matt is one of those transplants from the East Coast that has found Portland his home. This ACC, Virginia Tech foosball loving fan and MSU Bozeman snob works as a Civil/Water Resources Engineer. Matt’s work is centered around developing strategies to maintain river and habitat quality in and around our local waterways despite development. Matt’s engineering and environmental work will provide as a valuable resource.

Matt’s one of those guys who hooked his first steelhead in the winter while fishing the Salmon River in New York with the only rod he had at the time, a five weight. However the bug did not really hit him until Matt met the Dry Side of the Pacific Northwest many years ago. A steelhead bum is not the word I would use for Matt, more an Eastside freak. For Matt, the ideal day of steelhead fishing would come with a couple of solid floating line grabs sandwiched somewhere between a 20 mile mountain bike ride and a 5 mile hike. Not to mention the possibility of a carp flat during midday. On his favorite waters, this is the guy that knows that rock behind that bucket a few feet above the sweet spot that you never thought about swinging a fly through. He keeps them a secret too.

Though this guy mainly fishes the mid to long belly line in the summer, he understands the obvious advantages of the Skagit when fishing tips. Matt is one of the most well rounded fishermen I know in casting, tying, saltwater and freshwater species and even the gear rod. His weekly articles he writes on Sexyloops every Wednesday are a great read. You may also remember Matt’s work with Scott Howell from the North Umpqua Petition years ago. This petition helped to ban the retention of native winter steelhead on this fabled river.

Chou wrestling with a Chinook. Photo: Ben Dow

The second person who is going to add to this thing is Brian Chou. Brian is an interesting addition to this thing because he is the casting guru in my circle of friends. He also gets mistaken for me from time to time because his ugly ass mug gets seen on this thing from time to time. This Washington Native is the guy that annoys you because he can take a 105 foot Carron Long Belly and make it look like a shooting head while casting. Not to mention if you let him have a knife, micrometer and heat gun, he will end up cutting it up in order to make it a more efficient line. This is the kid that took the old man’s stereo apart and put it back together before dad ever new it was in pieces. Because of this he seems to get his hands on everything before it comes out the door and into fly shops. His advice and technical skills are sought out by a number of different, rod, reel and line makers here in United States because of his ability to break down and understand the wide variety of products and his constant tinkering with them to make them better.

Brian’s efficient and relaxed style of casting is not the only thing he is well known for. Within the realm of the Federation of Fly Fishers casting and instructional circuit here in the Pacific Northwest, Brian is the young guy seen in the booths of the Northwest Fly Tiers Expo and even teaching classes such as Smarter Spey Casting: Short Heads, Long Heads and Long Rods. His efficiency and ability to relate and pull examples from everyday activities helps the student break down their own casting stroke and prepare them for a day on the river.

Brian high energy, fun, positive, always on the move method of fishing does not always fit the mold of the stereotypical steelheader. In fact he tries to deny that fact that he is a steelheader all together and though he travels the world with his beautiful fishing partner and bride Dawn Fischer-Chou, he very much is a steelheader. Now if the guy would just quit trying to talk me into a week on some damn flat instead of swinging a fly then we would get along. By the way you guys have been enjoying his photography work for a while now.

These brothers are going to leave a positive vibe to this thing and definitely a different flavor for you. Hopefully these guys will provide a broader perspective and more ridiculous experience. Hope you enjoy and learn from them and I hope they do not get me into more trouble.


Millsy said...

fuck yes....I look forward to some Asian Wisdom....


Great group indeed! Mike

Thanks for the beautiful write up! I had a great time to meet Brian and Dawn! What a wonderful trip! I am Jealous that you guys have such a great group! Thanks for sharing! Great read!

bendow said...