“Most fishermen use the double haul to throw their casting mistakes further.” – Lefty Kreh

Sorry about the lack of posts recently. I have no excuses other than flat out slacking. But we do have a bunch to write about at least!

A month ago the crew and family went on a journey across the country to the Florida Keys to relax, reflect and fish after some trying times with a death in the family.

Between the WTLGT Crew and our families we had 15 of us on this adventure and for my daughter and Jason’s son it was their first time flying on a plane.

Traveling with that many people, babies and a ton of fishing gear we made it from Reno to Fort Lauderdale with very minimal issues. Which was a nice surprise as we were all on edge that our children would be unruly and we would be shunned and considered the asshole parents on our flights.

IMG_1435

IMG_1755

Once we landed around 11pm in Fort Lauderdale we got our rental cars and headed for the hotel which was close to get some rest for the adventure that was to follow.

FullSizeRddddender

 

IMG_1431

The next morning we headed out on our 2 1/2 hour drive down to Duck Key and the Hawks Cay Resort. We took our time heading down stopping for lunch at Tower of Pizza in Key Largo which has been a family tradition over the last 20 years. I’m pretty sure nothing has changed over those 20 years including the prices!

IMG_1449

After lunch we checked out World Wide Sportsman and watched the tarpon, string rays and nurse sharks snack away on the leftovers from the charter boats that were cleaning their daily catch of Mahi and Black Fin Tuna at the boat dock.

FullSizehgRender

Then we headed to Robbie’s.

Robbie’s is famous for allowing you to buy a bucket of bait to try and hand feed the hungry tarpon that reside there though out the year. This sounds fun in theory but once you have the bait in hand and a 120 pound tarpon starts looking like he’s interested in what you have, your instincts kick in and you drop the bait and get the hell out of the way as quick as possible.

e

After several tries I (Dave) finally got my nerves in check and kept my arm in place while a big tarpon came up and took the baitfish right out of my hand. Kelly got the perfect angle and below is the slow motion video of the take. Pretty awesome to see such a big fish so close.

We hung out at Robbie’s for a bit because there was a big accident up near our hotel and since it’s only a two lane highway, traffic was backed up for miles. My parents had left prior to us and after a while gave us the green light to head to the resort.

When we were about 2 miles from the resort traffic came to a standstill on the bridge we were crossing. Apparently there was another accident and we heard rumors there was a fatality. So most people got out of their cars and enjoyed the scenery as the sun started heading down for the day.

IMG_1756

For most of us this wasn’t a big deal. We were in paradise and the view was pretty amazing. But for one of the crew, this was a nightmare. We aren’t sure if it was the heavy lunch of pizza and garlic bread or the nerves of fly fishing for tarpon the size of the ones we just fed…but nature was calling. And not the easily disposed of number #1.

So if you are ever find yourself stuck on a bridge over shark infested waters in bumper to bumper traffic please note that a plastic grocery bag, a space between your dashboard and passage seat and a pack of baby wipes will get you out of that situation feeling like a million bucks.

IMG_1472

Once that “shitty” situation was behind us the traffic started moving and we were checking into our villa that we’d call home for the rest of the week.

5am came calling and Jason and I set off to the Marina at Hawk’s Cay Resort to meet up with Capt. Derek Rust of Rusty Fly Charters. Kelly and Matt also had their charter set up with Capt. Jeff Malone of Tarpon Time, but they had a little later departure time than Jason and I did.

I had talked with Derek the night before and we both agreed that since neither of us had any salt water fly fishing experience that going after juvenile tarpon would be a good game plan before trying to tackle the monsters that are migrating through the Keys right now.

So after a quick introduction and realizing he was from Tahoe and we had several mutual friends in the Reno/Truckee area went shoved off to try our luck in the mangroves.

IMG_1479

I was first up on deck as we slowly polled our way into the shallows looking for rolling tarpon. Derek had got us familiar with the clock system when we first got on board, so when he says “Tarpon, 11 o’ clock at 50 feet” I start getting ready. When he says “go now!” I start my cast, 2, 3, 4, 5…false casts later I lay down a cast into a pile of fly line that resembled my father’s spaghetti dinner at Tower of Pizza the day before than it did any self-respecting fly anglers cast.

“What the hell am I doing?!?” I thought to myself. I am by no means a great fly caster, but I can normally hold my own among my friends at Pyramid. But this was a different game. No shooting head, no big wooly bugger/beetle combo, and accuracy was needed more than anything. Bombing a 100 foot blind cast at Pyramid is one thing. Accurately landing a 50 foot shot at a moving target in an area the smaller than the size of a trash can lid with a minimal amount of false casts is a whole new world for me.

IMG_1573

So needless to say the next hour on deck was a big learning experience, I got my ass handed to me and gave Jason a shot on bow.

Jason had a different issue than me. He could cast a mile; distance wasn’t an issue for him. But since Tarpon have very good eye sight if you over shoot your cast even without hitting the water they’ll spook so quick you’ll never even have a shot at them.

So I think I can speak for Jason and say his first hour on the bow was an ass kicker as well. But man, we were in paradise, sight fishing for Tarpon, seeing other cool species like sting rays, red fish and nurse sharks, there wasn’t a place I’d rather be to get my ass kicked and eat a little humble pie.

FullSizeRender copy 2

After some coaching and a pep talk from Capt. Derek I was back up to bat. This time my nerves were a little calmer and I was ready to take in as much as I could learn.

The now familiar “Tarpon, 10 o’ clock, go now!” was whispered from behind me. I saw the tarpon slowly working its way down the edge of the mangroves. I took 2 maybe 3 false casts and laid the fly about 5 feet in front of him.

“Strip, strip, bump, bump, bump, stop…bump, bump, SET!” I had successfully gotten a Tarpon to notice, chase and eat my half ass presented fly.  Now I won’t go into detail regarding strip set vs. trout set. Let’s just say I had to fight back ever thing I know of fly fishing and stuck the tarpon with a strip set with a little trout set thrown in as well.

I had the fish on for only a few seconds before he spit the hook and vanished into the mangroves.

Now losing a big trout on the Truckee is a heart breaker. But to actually get a Tarpon to eat my fly regardless of landing it or not? I was on cloud nine! My adrenaline was pumping and high fives were given.  At that second I was fully addicted to this new world of sight fishing.

After that I was buzzing with excitement and we spent the rest of the day polling through different spots of Capt. Derek’s choosing and making shots at tarpon and even a 10# red fish until our day of guiding had come to a close.

On the Tarpon Time, Matt and Kelly were having a good day as well. Matt got hooked into a little barracuda that played nice until he was about to get his picture taken and decided to bite through the leader taking the fly with him.

IMG_1515

Kelly had a few takes and actually landed a baby tarpon! Below is the view from the GoPro that he had mounted on his chest.

FullSizeRender

Day two started off very similar to day one. Glass calm seas, lots of game fish in the shallows and several shots at some nice tarpon for both boats. Then both boats turned things up a bit.

FullSizeRender copy 3

The guys on the Tarpon Time got into a for nice Jacks near the 7 Mile Bridge and decided to use one to try and get some black tip sharks near the boat for a shot at one on the fly.

IMG_1510

 

IMG_1511

That game of cat and mouse lasted a while then a few good sized bull sharks showed up to the party. The excitement of hooking up on the fly was there, but also the knowledge that if hooked that would most likely be a 2 hour fight.

IMG_1654-2

In the end the sharks bumped the flies but never committed to the take. Which was probably just as well, but it was cool seeing such a big predator in the wild.

On the Rusty Fly, Capt. Derek took us two a few new spots. One of the coolest was deep into the mangroves where there were old rusted out boats and other random stuff that probably shouldn’t be sitting in the ocean.  But it reminded me of being way back into the Amazon somewhere. We saw huge iguanas and a matinee that swam right under our boat.

IMG_1546

We were polling towards a good size tarpon that was rolling in the back of this lane. But we never got a good shot at it. But I did get a shot at a monster snook that took interest but wouldn’t commit and then had another tarpon eat but I was slow on the strip set. I tried to fire the fly back at the hungry fella but ended up firing the fly right into a tree instead…

FullSizeRender copy

So after freeing the fly and scaring anything I could have possibly had a chance on catching Capt. Derek shoved off and gave us an awesome opportunity.

Derek took us out to the ocean side to try and find some of the big boys we’ve seen in photos and videos leading up to this adventure and it wasn’t more than a few minutes that we had cruising tarpon heading our way.

What at first looks like a patch of dark sea grass or a friggin’ log floating in open water were actually schools of migrating tarpon. So again we were standing on the bow of the boat timing casts and sending flies in the path of sometimes up to 30 migrating tarpon.

IMG_1584

Jason and I spent the next 2 hours watching countless 100+ pound fish cruise by without a care in the world. Once in a while one would turn and play with of emotions (and heart rates) and pretend he liked what we were serving, only to turn back to his school and keep on keeping on.

I need to mention that this big league tarpon experience was “off the clock” so to speak. Our guide trip time had come and gone. Capt. Derek did us a favor by giving us the chance at these fish while he could have been off the water enjoying a few cocktails.

As he put it, it was “job security” and he couldn’t be more right.

I’m telling you, if you’re a trout angler that hasn’t fished saltwater before here are a few tips of advice from myself and the crew.

1) If you think you’re a good fly caster…you aren’t.

2) If you think you are a great fly caster, you might be ok. Maybe.

3) Regardless how good you think you are, practice…practice…practice before you think about even booking your trip.

4) Practice strip setting.

5) After your adventure plan on consuming your days thinking about the trip, the missed opportunities, the blown shots, the beautiful scenery and the knowledge you gained and how bad you want to go back ASAP and try again and again at fooling one of those big fish with a little fur and a few feathers.

I have to give a huge thank you to Capt. Derek and Capt. Jeff. They put us on fish all day long and taught us a tremendous amount about a world of fly fishing we’ve only read about in books and seen in videos.

Job Security is a huge understatement, you both have made clients for life and if any of you out there are looking for a few kick ass guides when you visit the Keys, there’s no need to look any further.

Also a big shout out to the guys at Streamworks with the proper tools so we didn’t lose any fingers to hungry fish on this trip and the Jan Nemec of Mimic Fly for giving us more flies than we knew what to do with!

We have a few more posts coming soon with recent trips to middle of nowhere Nevada and some high mountain Golden Trout adventures.

Until next time keep those lines tights and don’t trout set a tarpon…

-Dave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Float Tubing, Folk Music and Fly Fishing

Last week was full of relaxation and tight line therapy.

For me (Dave) I was able to take a little pilgrimage to San Francisco to see one of my favorite musicians, William Elliott Whitmore. He is an amazing artist and a latest release “Radium Death” needs to be in your iPod playlist, vinyl collection or both!

10476397_10152895392623715_1366611503112737255_n

Heading to SF from Reno also means a lot of fly fishing on both sides on the Truckee River. Historically I normally fish the Nevada side for the obvious reason that I live in Nevada. But I really do enjoy fishing the California side when I can. Less urban and wilder feel to it for sure.

IMG_1357

So I hit the road and fished a good handful of spots along both sides on the Truckee as well on the Little Truckee. It was a good time to clear my head and check out some new spots, but with our recent rains the river was a little muddy and I’ll absolutely blame that for reason I got my butt kicked and didn’t hook up to any fish. In reality I probably need to get my tight line game more on point, but a muddy river excuse will do for now.

So after some fishing I rolled into San Francisco and worked my way down to the Great American Music Hall to see William perform. Right up the street is one of my favorite eateries Tommy’s Joynt. So I went that way after getting my ticket from will call and had a great roast beef sandwich.

William put on a great show. He’s a solo artist with a banjo (guitar also) and a kick drum and has an incredible amount of energy and is truly grateful to the crowd that comes to see him. If you get the chance to see him live make every attempt to do so.

FullSizeRender

Once I was back in Reno I was able to get a few more hours of river therapy in with Jason and was (finally) rewarded with a nice Truckee River brown and got broke off by a monster soon after landing this guy.

IMG_1401

This was also the first fish landed using my new custom Out Of the Riffles landing net. Such a beautiful and functional piece of art.

The rest of the crew was able to get out on Sunday for a trip to Hobart Reservoir. Hobart is a great high mountain lake in our area. It’s a bit tricky to get to which keeps it a fairly low traffic fishing spot. Float tubing is the name of the game, but people do well from shore at times.

Tiger and Rainbow trout are planted and Brookies reproduce naturally. No giants to speak of but some beautiful trout can be caught and there’s normally no lack of action.

This trip there was a decent amount of wind and the dry fly action was off the hook! (Pun intended)

Here are a few pics from that trip. With the recent rains we’ve received the Truckee is flowing well and the water temps are still cool. But I think we’ll be spending some extra time in these high mountain areas if the Truckee does what it did last summer.

IMG_1416

IMG_1403

IMG_1405

In less than 2 days the crew and I are boarding a plane with our families are heading to the Florida Keys to chase tarpon, bone fish, permit, sharks, barracuda…basically we don’t care what we hook up to as long as we get those lines tight! So more to come on that adventure for sure. 

Until then get out and enjoy your local lakes and rivers.

-Dave

Unfortunately history does repeat itself.

These past couple weeks have been somewhat mirror images of what went down a year ago. Some parts good, others not so good.

This winter was pretty bleak to say the least. Similar to last years winter…and the winter before that. Again this year like last the water master has started cutting the flow out of Boca into the Truckee. Only this time it’s a few month earlier than last year.

The crew and I took a trip over the state line to California for a change of pace from the Mid and to check out some new to us water on the Truckee.

IMG_1132

Just a week prior the flows near Farad were exceeding 500 cfs, when we hit the Truckee the day after the water master started restricting flows it was down to less than 300 cfs. Still fishable, but not the ideal flows for the month of April.

IMG_1182

We got into a few nice fish and the scenery was pretty awesome. Here are a few photos from that trip. Not sure how much longer the river will be fishable. The water temps are still very cold, but as summer hits and the flows being low please keep water temps in mind when heading out to fish. It’s going to be a rough summer, give our fishy friends some space when it’s getting warm out there.

IMG_1121

 

IMG_1152

 

IMG_1081

One fun thing that happened again this year was the Fly Fishing Film Tour came to town again thanks to Matt Heron Fly Fishing and the Reno Fly Shop.

This is always a great event and a great time. The videos this year were awesome and the prizes for the raffle were out of control!

This event to helps raise awareness about our local waters and raise money for our local Trout Unlimited chapters. If it comes through your town, make sure you take the time to check it out.

If you take a look back at a previous post we had called Mother Nature…Good Thing I Have Unlimited Texts, a year ago to the day we had a trip planned to hike in Kirman lake and fish for the monster Brook Trout. That trip last year had to get postponed due to a snow storm that hit the Bridgeport area.

Well fast forward exactly 365 days later and almost the same text messages were flying around. The area was expected to have 8 inches of fresh snow and 25 mph winds. Both variables were not good for a 3 miles hike and float tubes.

So out of the 5 of us, Glenn still made the trip to Kirman. He battled through the elements and made it to the lake, but wasn’t rewarded for his efforts. He saw a few small LCT’s get caught, but the legendary Brookies weren’t haven’t it this trip.

Our friend CJ made the trip the next day after Glenn and had the same results. Not sure what’s giving them lock jaw, but hopefully they’ll be back on the bite soon.

A few of us went out to Pyramid the evening of the postponed Kirman trip. We had been getting updates that it was going off at the lake all morning.

Of course as soon as we show up the bite turned off and we were told stories of countless fish being brought to the net. We weren’t without a few fish of our own, but it wasn’t “light’s out” like it had been earlier that day.

Kelly helped a guy net an impressive 17.5 pounder which put up a hell of a fight. Then shortly after I (Dave) finally hooked into a fish.

As soon as I set the hook he came right to the top and started trying to shake the hook. Luckily the hook stayed in and once he realized it wasn’t going anywhere he took off about 4 or 5 ladders down to the left of me.

It wasn’t long after that I got him close enough for Jason to get him into the net. He weighed in just at 10 pounds and kicked of super strong.

IMG_1169

Overall the last few weeks have treated us well. We have a few more trips planned then the crew is off to the Florida Keys for some back country and flats fishing.

Until next time keep those lines tight and knots strong.

-Dave

 

 

 

They’re Coming In!

If you run into an old timer out at Pyramid Lake and have some time to chat it up you’ll most likely hear stories of big fish landed and lost, but also about how they’ll cruise the shorelines in the 1000’s come spring time.

IMG_0917

Well I can’t vouch for any big fish lost story. If it didn’t come to hand then you can’t know for sure how big it was. But what I can vouch for is that this time of year the fish do stack up in the shallows and from your ladder you can watch then cruise by all day long.

IMG_0869

Getting them to bite is sometimes a challenge during this time of year. The fish cruise the shallows in anticipation of the hatchery so they can go get their spawn on. But keeping your fly in the strike zone as long as you can helps to find the few in the crowd that like to have meal before getting busy.

FullSizeRen1der

In saying that, normally nymphing during this time of year is more productive than stripping beetles and bugs. But this last week has been a mixed bag really.

If you can get out to the lake soon I’d bring both your indicating and stripping rigs and switch flies fairly often until you find the color that they are keyed up on.

FullSizeRender

We had the opportunity to fish with some good dudes over this past week. If you get a chance check out their pages. Crooked Creek Holler, The Fiberglass Manifesto and Vedavoo and if your wallet ( or significant other) permits support them by picking up a shirt, pack or hell even a new fiberglass rod!

IMG_0914

Good times fellas, we’ll have to do it again real soon.

We’ve seen glass calm water to waves you could potentially surf on so until next time layer up, bring your fly boxes and get at it!

They’re Coming In!

-Dave

FullSizeRende1r

 

 

 

 

Loose Lips Sink Ships?

“Hey, what part of the river were you fishing?” or “What flies are working best right now?”.

If you have posted a picture of the fish you’ve caught on any sort of social media recently you’ve undoubtedly have had other Friends or Followers ask you these type of questions regarding the pic you just posted.

But that really isn’t the issue, that’s the norm. How did you respond to those questions is what I’m looking at here.

This has been a fairly big topic of interest for me recently. In the last month or so I’ve been questioned about how much info I give out in these blogs or in comments on our Instagram page.

I want to preface this next part with:  I’m not saying who’s right or wrong.  I actually don’t think there is a right or wrong. It’s an opinion and I’m all for people voicing them, in any situation.

There are some people out there that view me posting or #hashtagging the body of water I’m fishing in as a negative thing. That by doing so I’m going to make that certain beach or spot on the river over populated.

This could be a true statement, I mean I know when I see a pic of a big Pyramid Lake cutty landed I try to figure out what beach they were on and what they were using. I think that’s human nature.

There has been countless times when I’ve gone to my favorite spot on the river only to find 5-6 cars already packed in. Or, having to leave my house at 4:00 am on a Saturday just to get a spot on the beach I wanted to fish at Pyramid. But personally I can’t blame social media for that.

I feel that fly fishing is gaining in popularity at a pretty fast rate and there are only so many places we can get to at Pyramid or the Truckee. Some due to tribal restrictions and some do to vehicle/access restrictions.

Sure if you are a tribal member at Pyramid you can fish any beach you please or if you have a drift boat on the Truckee you can get yourself to some out-of-the-way spots. But other than that the rest of us all have to share the same waters with each other.

Again that’s just my opinion, you might have a different one and I’d like to hear it.

What about sharing info on what flies/lures/bait is working on that certain body of water? Do you respond to that question honestly when asked, keep that info to your inner circle of close anglers or ignore the question entirely?

I know that this a highly debated topic as well. My situation may have been different than others when I got into fly fishing, maybe not. But here’s an example of where I started and where I am today.

Jason and Glenn got me into fishing at Pyramid several years ago. Throwing spoons, bouncing jigs, then eventually fly fishing. But the river was a whole different story. Once the Pyramid season ended Jason had to go work in Hawaii for the summer and Glenn’s back couldn’t handle wading the river after his surgery. That left me to figure out fly fishing the Truckee on my own.

First thing I did is took to the internet and books. Jan Nemec‘s book Flyfishers Guide to Nevada helped me with access points and with the basic setup I’d need. Then came the internet, I found several YouTube videos of regular anglers as well as guides fishing the Truckee and giving out advice on flies, depths of dead drifts and access points.

I know now that I should have just hired a guide to learn how to properly fish the Truckee. But back then money was tighter, I had been given a hand me down setup and figured that putting in the time would eventually lead to me catching fish.

Throughout that time I read a blog from a local guide named Matt “Gilligan” Koles (and still do to this day). Now I call him a friend, but back then all I knew was that every day or two I could go onto his website and read about how the fishing has been and hopefully pickup a trick or two.

So as progression goes, throughout the years I started learning more about the Truckee and how to properly fish it, which eventually lead to me landing more fish.

During that time I met new faces and some old friends while wandering it’s banks. I’ve been met with smiles and handshakes, told what flies they are taking and even handed hand ties flies out of someones box which in one case after tying that fly on, my first cast landed me a nice Rainbow which before that I had been skunked for the day.

On the other end I’ve been met with rolling eyes, being talked to like I was a child and in one instance accused (from a far) of planning on stealing a guys rig that he had left near a bush where I had just started fishing. Basically saying to choose that spot so I could grab his rig and run.

I’d like to imagine that the majority of people on the river aren’t like the ones I just mentioned and more willing to help a fellow angler out when given the opportunity.

That opportunity was given to me late last summer/early fall when I was fishing on the Truckee. This was the same day Jason saw a damn bear on the river and didn’t bother giving me a heads up as I was the last one to the spot!!! Check out the post Be Bear Aware! for more on that one…

Jason, Kelly and I were fishing together and certainly having an above average hook up count that day. There was an angler just down river from us hitting the same holes we normally would without the same luck we were having. He eventually made his way up river towards us and sparked a conversation. His name was Ben and he was from Utah. He was in town visiting his wife’s family and was trying his luck on the Truckee that morning.

Like many of us do he asked what flies we were using and noted that he’d seen us hooking up all morning. Now here’s the crossroads that as an angler you have to deal with. Are you on the side of not sharing secrets, telling this guy who was just out for the morning that doesn’t even live in your town to go kick rocks, or better yet telling him the fly was something totally different than what you’re using.

Well for me I didn’t think twice. I told him about the fly, that it was tied by a local guide and friend Doug O and I opened my fly box and handed him one, knowing I only had 2 more for myself.

We shook hands and parted ways. That evening on our Instagram page Ben commented that he landed one on the fly I gave him and that he lost it when a big boy took it, ran him down river and broke him off. He was genuinely grateful for us helping him out and I was stoked that we helped in get into a few.

That right there I feel is the way I want to live my life as an angler as well as a human being. Again this a personal decision, but I’ve never been much for keeping secrets or trying always have a competitive advantage by not helping others.

Before fly fishing consumed my spare time and wallet I was for a moment a professional brew master at a local brewery. My friend Justin and I helped build the brewery from the ground up and eventually won a few medals at various brewing competitions. But at any given time we encouraged the local home brewing community to come check out our brew system, to come and ask questions and learn. Hell I even gave out yeast and hops to people just because they asked what we used to make a certain beer.

Another hobby of mine was photography and in a sense getting paid for wedding and family shoots made me a “pro”. But again, if I had a cool star trail or long exposure shot I nailed and a fellow photographer asked how I did it, I’d tell them step by step, exposure time and F-stop with no hesitation.

I did these things because (A) people have helped me a long the way in all my hobbies and (B) why the hell not? It makes me happy to see other people happy. For them to hang a photo on their wall they are proud of or sip a pint of beer they made and be stoked to share it with their friends.  If I can help put a smile on their face then I will.

The same goes for fishing. No one likes to get skunked, you put in 12 hours at Pyramid and you spend the majority of the time watching the guy next to you land fish after fish while you sit there wondering what you’re doing wrong….That sucks.

Also if your are new to fishing, that could be discouraging enough for you to stop and find another hobby. Some will say “Well you have to pay your dues”.  I don’t disagree, put in the time in anything in life and you’ll be rewarded eventually. But what does it hurt to give them a couple tips on what’s been working or walk over and hand the person a fly when they ask about what you’re using?

Maybe that little extra effort on your part gets them hooked up to a fish. Then that keeps their interest, they buy a yearly permit rather than a 1 day pass. Maybe they then donate to Trout Unlimited and start spending some money at a local mom and pop fly shop. Then they are out there doing the same for others that you did for them.

Maybe I’m naive and living in a dream world of rainbows and unicorns. But I’m happy here, it’s a nice place to be. If you’d like to come check it out I’m happy to hand you a few flies and net your fish when you hook up next to me.

So back to me telling people too much info. The Truckee and Pyramid are both fishing great right now. Personally most of my time has been at the alkaline lake, but several friends are having banger days on the river. I’m hoping to get some river time in this weekend, but was just sent a pic of an 18.5 pounda from Pyramid and that the fish are starting to cruise the shallows…This time of year can be amazing out there.

So take my words with a grain of salt. Do what you feel is right in fishing and in life. Express your opinions, but just respect that others might not have the same opinions as you.

Keep those lines tight and knots strong!!!

 

-Dave

 

All In and Derby Daze!

“You got to know when to hold em’, know when to fold ‘em”. Or in my case, know when to go all in blind before looking at your cards to inevitably get knocked out of the tournament by a pair of 5’s.

That was my fate last Friday night at the Sagebrush Chapter Trout Unlimited Poker Tournament at the Peppermill. The TU guys did a great job organizing a super fun event to help raise money for the chapter. We were set up in the High Roller room of the poker area and were served continuous free drinks to help us think that any of us were actually decent poker players. Which can never hurt.

IMG_0548

After the first hour of play they held a raffle for all types of nice Patagonia products like waders, jackets and gear bags. WTLGT angler Matt won himself a new pair of waders and I won a fly box donated by Sportsman’s Warehouse full of Pyramid Lake flies.

Not too long after the raffle Matt and I were both knocked out of the tournament, but stayed to watch the rest of the action to see Larry Heuer win the whole thing!

It really was a good time and I really hope the TU guys decide to do in again in the near future.

Following the poker tournament was the beginning of the annual Crosby’s Presidents Day Fishing Derby at our great alkaline oasis Pyramid Lake.

IMG_0528

This derby consists of 2 whole weekends of fishing and prizes are given out for the top 20 heaviest fished weighed in at Crosby’s Lodge.

In the past the whole WTLGT crew would be out in full force fishing 12-16 hours a day for 4 days of the derby. Many factors have changed for the crew that didn’t allow all of us the put in that much lake time this year. But Glenn is still out there holding it down and trying to get placed on an already SUPER heavy board after the first weekend of the derby.

IMG_0549

We weren’t without fishing this weekend though and got to hang with Glenn for a bit as well as hit a few other beaches last weekend. Some beaches were busier than others but in general it seemed to us that this derby had less people out hitting the shore then in years past.

1

Was that due to the weather? Cost increase of the derby entry fee? The always highly debated issue of transporting fish from the water line to be weighed in? Or were we just smoking crack and there were actually more entries this year???

I guess once the final signups are done this coming weekend we’ll know how many are entered and then the comparison between last year and this year can start an educational and “friendly” debate…

On a different note, with the recent rain we’ve seen here in the Reno/Tahoe area the Truckee raised significantly and has starting coming back down and should be very fish-able this coming week.

It’s bittersweet because it was a lot of moisture for the area, but it never really got cold enough to dump the many many feet of snow that we really need to get us through this coming summer.

But regardless if it’s the rive, lake or ocean get out there this weekend and enjoy some fresh air and hopefully get those lines tight!

-Dave

#homemeansNevada

“Home means Nevada, Home Means the hills, Home means the sage and the pine. Out by the Truckee, silvery rills, Out where the sun always shines.”

If you went to elementary school here in this great state then you undoubtedly learned our Nevada State Song and to this day know it by heart.

But growing up here has meant so many different things to me over the years. As the song talks about, Nevada is a beautiful open space with forest, desert, lakes and streams.  But as a child with parents that recently moved here from New York City, I didn’t grow up enjoying the outdoors like many of my born and bred friends have.

My family moved to Reno when I was only a year old. My grandfather had moved out west  from New York to become a cowboy. My mother and aunt didn’t want to be across the country from their father so both headed out west as well.

My aunt went to California and my parents landed in Reno. My grandfather did buy a piece of land, got himself some “farm” animals, a horse, hat and belt buckle and fulfilled his dream of becoming a cowboy.

So obviously this was a big culture change for my parents and they didn’t fully embrace the outdoor activities offered until much later down the road.

Fishing though was always a past time enjoyed by my father and I. But rarely was it done in the freshwater fisheries in the area. Normally it was reserved for vacations when the family would head back to NY and fish off of Long Island or down in Florida.

About 5 years ago or so Jason and Glenn after much ball busting finally got me out of the house and out to Pyramid Lake were on a cold winter morning I landed my first Lahontan Cutthroat on an ultra light setup throwing spoons. To me at the time that fish was the biggest trout I could have ever imagine catching.

I distinctively remember bugging Jason as soon as he got home to upload to photos he took of me holding that fish so I could post it in all it’s glory for my friends in the social media world to see.

Looking back now the best part of that photo is me trying to grow a creepy mustache for Movember holding my fish in a soaking wet sweatshirt and pants, freezing my ass off.

378768_10150388340096033_1383706189_n

A few days ago I had a day off from work, the kiddo was at the in-laws house and I had no responsibility, a very rare occurrence these days. So I decided to start my day heading out to the big alkaline lake in search of sea monsters.

I got to watch a beautiful sunrise and landed one cutty before calling it a morning. Lately the bite seems best prior to the sun coming up and as the sun is going down. So rather than grind out hours at the lake I wanted to mix it up a bit.

IMG_0368

I traveled back down the familiar two lane highway towards my casa to unload the ever growing pile of gear I take with me when fishing Pyramid. It’s a little much honestly. 2 fly rods, reels, countless fly boxes, sling pack, back pack, waders, hoodie, waterproof shell, ladder chair, enormous landing net…But I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir, all of my friends are gear junkies. Let’s just hope our wives never realize what we actually pay for this stuff.

IMG_0268

So once the fishing wagon was unloaded I re-loaded it with my river gear. Slightly less bulky than my Pyramid gear, but still 1 fly rod, reel, smaller sling pack, several fly boxes, breathable waders and boots…I have a problem.

Fully knowing that I couldn’t spend the next few hours on the river without some good food to hold me over until dinner, I stopped at my #1 favorite local eatery.

I’ve been going to Yellow Sub on Pyramid and Holcomb since I was about 4 years old. That’s 30+ years and it’s as good as it’s ever been. The reason I mention this is because it’s local places like this that people should go to and support. Awesome food, great atmosphere and Michelle has ran/owned this place since I was that 4 year old kid going in there with my parents since we lived across the street. She still remembers me each and every time I walk in. Go there, get the Yellow Sub with everything, thank me later.

FullSizeRender

So with a full belly and imagines of brown trout prancing in my head I headed to a spot on the upper Truckee I’m very familiar with and love very much. I know the reports from friends say that out East of town is where the action is right now. But it’s been 6 months since the last time i fished the river due to the severe low water we experienced this summer and this spot in particular has been calling to me for some time now.

I spent the next 3 hours hitting all the holes and runs I’ve caught countless fish in before with no luck. There was an awesome hatch going off but I only saw one rising fish and the little guy didn’t have any interest in what I was throwing.

IMG_0375

But regardless of not catching anything, it was really nice to get out on the river again for a change of scenery and capping off a great day fishing two world class fisheries.

I got home that night and spent some quality time with my wife and kiddo. But I really started to think about my day and how lucky we are to live here in Nevada.

In one day I got to cast to world record Lahontan Cutthroat Trout while watching a beautiful sunrise, eat at a spot that no one else in the world could be experiencing at the same time I was. Then fishing the Truckee River which in it’s own right is a world class trout river that humbles some of the best fly fisherman I know on a daily basis.

On top of fishing, there is some amazing hunting opportunities that many of my friends get to experience by living here. I have yet to step into that undoubtedly expensive and addicting hobby/lifestyle. But Glenn does his fair share of big game hunting and our good buddy Crazy Uncle Larry over are Red Legged Devils shares some amazing stories of his bird hunting adventure over at his blog.

So I know tonight after a long day sitting behind a computer screen at work and grabbing the kiddo from day care, driving home I’ll take a few moments to enjoy the beautiful landscape that surrounds us and be thankful that my grandfather decided he wanted to be a cowboy and that my mom needed to make family a priority.

By my parents leaving behind all their friends and everything they’ve ever known to drive out West has given me a chance to raise my daughter in a place that she doesn’t have to stare at concrete buildings and only know what camping is from watching cartoons.

I may not be Battle Born, but my daughter sure is and she’ll have a great upbringing and appreciation for the outdoors and all it has to offer because of it.

“Home means Nevada to me”

 

 

Support Your Local Hooker!

As we leave Reno on a rainy Friday afternoon, we are all anxious to get over the pass. Rain is Reno with sub 32 degree temps in the mountains means we’ll be hitting some snow on our way to Fairfield, CA which is where we are planning on laying our heads for the night.

Matt, Jason, myself and my Dad, Tommy were all in the fishing wagon heading up and over the pass into California. The roads weren’t too bad and the snow was just starting to stick as we hit the crest near Boreal.

We were all talking about fishing stories and filling my dad in on what lay ahead for him on our trip for Rock fish and Dungeness crab aboard the Happy Hooker Sport Fishing boat that departs out of the Berkeley Marina. As we were laughing and telling stories we saw A LOT of flashing lights across the way on the East Bound side of I-80.

As they came closer it became apparent that there was a big accident and countless Highway Patrol, Fire Trucks and other first response vehicles were on the scene. As we passed we saw that a smaller passenger car has crashed into the back of a tractor trailer, wedging itself completely underneath it. There were Fire Fighters there trying to pry open the driver side door while we passed by. I’m not sure the outcome of that accident, but from what I saw it didn’t look good for the people driving the car.

It’s scenes like that now that I’m older that really get to me. Just thinking about my wife and kid and what they would do if that happened to me…I just hope I’m wrong about the outcome of that crash.

Now rattled and much more aware of my surroundings we pushed down through the snow which eventually turned to rain as we hit Auburn and then finally into Fairfield where our hotel rooms awaited us.

The rest of the crew comprised of Glenn, Kelly and Neil who were about 45 minutes behind us. Our good buddy Adam was also going on the trip, but he lives 20 mins from Berkeley so we were just meeting him at the dock in the morning. So we called ahead for a table of 7 at a local steak house and patiently waited for the guys to hit Vacaville to make our way to the house of beef and whatnot.

Once seated we all got down to business smashing down dinner rolls and ordering our specific cuts of steak. By the time our steaks arrived we had all started different conversations with each other revolving around fishing, fishing gear and how awesome the next day’s trip would be.

With steaks finished and Glenn polishing off his 3rd Cherry Limeade we paid our tab and went to the hotel to get some much needed sleep. But as it so happens we got to the hotel and there was some X-mas party happening in the bar area. So the old married guys all hit the hay, while the two single guys tried their luck at the hotel bar…in the end no numbers were exchanged and the old married guys got a few extra hours of sleep while the other guys paid for their over priced beers. Sometimes being old is alright.

3:30am came up quick I tell ya! But as usual we were all pumped for the day ahead and as Jason always says “The less sleep you get the more fish you catch!” So with that we piled back into the cars and headed west towards the boat docks.

We got on the boat, claimed our places near the stern and paid for our day of adventures. Adam met us there and that made the whole team of 8. We got all of our gear rigged up and headed out towards a place I’ve been looking forward to seeing for a very long time, the Farallon islands 30 miles off of the coast of San Francisco. This is where in the fall many large Great White Sharks go to breed and a place I have read about for years and years.

P1010502

Once we passed Alcatraz and went under the Golden Gate Bridge, Deckhand Mike told us it would be about a 2 hour ride to the Farallons. He also mentioned that the swells were pretty big and that if anyone needed to barf, they should do it over the rail and not down into the bathroom in the cabin…more on that suggestion later.

IMG_0141FullSizeRender2

So we settled in for the long haul out, again having some good conversations and ball busting to make to time pass. But then came those swells Deckhand Mike had told us about. I heard people say they were ranging from 12-20 feet tall. I’d say that was a fair measurement since all most of us could think of while seeing a wall of water the length of a football flied come barreling towards were scenes from that most unfortunate fishing film The Perfect Storm!

Perfect_storm_poster

Some of us thought we had good “sea legs”, some of us knew we didn’t, then there were some of us that didn’t seems to be phased at all by natures roller coaster that we were strapped to for hours…Adam, Neil and my dad didn’t seem to have a care in the world. My dad went to high school on a ship back in New York, now he’ll tell you that the ship was tired to a dock his entire high school career, but that doesn’t nearly sound as cool. So he was on a ship for 4 years…Neil was a wildlife fish and game guy with coast guard experience so he had a good excuse. But then comes Adam…I love you Adam, but this was your second time on a fishing boat and you work for a video game company….How the F*CK did you not get seas sick!!!

IMG_0170

For the rest of us, well there were different levels of sickness. Kelly fully knows he doesn’t do well on boats; he has an ongoing prescription for some big time motion sickness patches. But even his patches with some Dramamine thrown in for good measure, Kelly never got his line in the water and spent his entire day laying down in the cabin…As much as we talk shit to each other; we were all really bummed for Kelly. That type of sickness is no joke. But it of course wasn’t bad enough for us not to snap a picture of Kelly in his time of need.

IMG_0235

I (Dave) chummed the water and tried to get those fish excited with an offering of energy drink and Clif bars. I didn’t see any risers but I did end the day with limits, so maybe it worked?

Then came the symphony of regurgitation…the orchestra of upchuck…Matt, Jason and Glenn lead us on a gut wrenching yet beautiful opera composed of high notes and lows, soprano to baritone. Glenn started the choir-ish masterpiece with a few mids and lows, once Jason took a glance over his shoulder and saw the concert beginning he also chimed in with a bellowing of baritone that could scare away the fiercest sea monster that may have been lurking below our vessel. Not to be outdone, Matt who was looking about as green as his jacket helped pull the concert together with his own high notes to seal the deal.

FullSizeRender1

Once the concert had wrapped up we were at the fishing grounds and starting to slay some rock fish! Deckhand Mike has his hands full with knots and tangles but always kept a positive and professional attitude while dealing with bird nests that would have made me want to start throwing people overboard into the shark invested waters.  On almost every drop we’d hook up, and ensuring Kelly came home with some fish for the family we started putting our smaller catches into his bag once we knew we had out limits…because we care.

FullSizeRender

SHARK!!!!!!!!!!! Yells someone from the port side of the boat. Now this is a moment that I have only dreamed about since I was a little fella. I won’t go into tons on this as you can check out the post The Devil’s Teeth. But yeah…bucket list item checked off!

IMG_0188

It wasn’t much more than an hour when the boat had limits of rock fish. Jason on top of having a good amount of yellow tails, he brought up this beautiful Vermillion from over 200 feet deep.

P1010499

Once limits were verified we started to head back to the bay to start pulling crab pots to try our luck at getting limits of sweet Dungeness crab to go along without limits of rock fish. So we said goodbye to the Farallons and took a seat to watch the world go by until we made it closer to home.

IMG_0167

I ended up crashing out for like an hour or so in the cabin. But while I was snoozing away Deckhand Mike and team were busily pulling in crab pot after crab pot trying their best to get us all limits of 6 each. Crabs don’t like to always stay in the same place for a long period of time, so just like any other type of fishing, catching them isn’t always a guarantee. But the guys worked hard at getting us 5 crabs each, which I’ll take every day and twice on Sundays.

P1010503

So after a long 12+ hour day on the water we made it back to shore where the bait shop had staying opened late for us to be able to have our crab cooked prior to the journey home. This was greatly appreciated.

IMG_0165

Once the crabs were cooked, handshakes and hugs given and our harvest put on ice in our coolers we journeyed back over to hill to good old Reno getting into town at just about midnight.

Again I can’t say enough good things about Happy Hooker Sport Fishing and Deckhand Mike. Mike does an excellent job, and is a main reason we continue going out with these guys. So I know Rock Fish season has come to a close, but I know striper and sturgeon are coming up next week as well as more crab! So book a trip with them and you won’t be disappointed, we’ll be out there again soon enough.

IMG_0184

Until next time keep those lines tight and that Dramamine close!

-Dave

The Devil’s Teeth

Bucket lists are a funny thing. They consist of items you would like to do before you die. And when something is on the top of that list its usually the hardest thing to accomplish. Now not knowing when our final day will come I believe if you truly have things you’d like to do, do your damnedest to get those checked off.

Yesterday my number one bucket list item was fulfilled. Since the age of 5 I’ve been fascinated with sharks, Great Whites in particular. And in the almost 30 years between now and then I’ve fell in love with the idea of going out to the Farallon Islands 30 miles off the coast of San Francisco and try to see one of the beautiful animals in the wild. The stars have to align perfectly for something like that to happen and yesterday they did. Surrounded by my dad and all my best fishing buddy’s while slaying rock cod with the islands also known as the “Devils Teeth” as a back drop, the unmistakable dorsal fin of a 12-14 foot Great White surfaced about 50 yards in front of the boat. As we watched it surface 3 times and then disappear an amazing feeling of accomplishment mixed with rocket fuel rushed over me. A lifelong passion and love of something I had to base purely on chance just happened right before my eyes. There isn’t a place in this world or people I would have rather been with at that moment yesterday. Get out there and love something.

IMG_0188

 

-Dave

It’s all about the little things.

Well friends, the holidays are right around the corner. There is undoubtedly extra stress packed on top of our normally crazy busy lives. For me (Dave) I’ve worked basically 18 days straight and finally had my first weekend off a few days ago. That was a long haul, but there is some light at the end on the tunnel. So my stress is trying to pack in all the holiday shopping into 10 short days.

The rest of the crew have their own stresses as well and unfortunately for us and I’m sure most of the anglers reading this, our main therapeutic stress reliever is fishing. But this time of year, getting a few hours on the water is a lot harder than it sounds.

IMG_0081

For the hours we have been able to get out to our favorite alkaline lake it’s been slow fishing for sure. This happens every year though, the lake goes through its temperature changes and the bite slows down dramatically. There are a couple banger days thrown in, but for the most part it’s a 1-2 fish day and occasionally the dreaded skunking happens as well.

But many times when you do get a bite this time of year, it’s a good sized fish on the end of your line. There have been reports from all around Pyramid of some pigs being caught.

FullSizeRender

But I’ve said it many times before; fishing isn’t always about catching fish. It’s about being outdoors, with friends or solo. It’s about watching the sunrise or sunset. It’s the first breathe of cold crisp air after a week stuck at a desk or in front of a computer screen.

After my 18 day stretch I was able to head out to Pyramid for a few hours of the evening bite and in that 3 hours or so, everything was right again. There wasn’t a fish caught, or even a bump of my flies. But just being out there watching the sunset, enjoying Mother Nature it just solidifies my belief that life really is all about the little things.

This holiday season amongst the stress, traffic, shopping malls and financial burdens, just try to take a deep breath and relax knowing that in the end you’ll be able to spend time with friends and family and hopefully get a few hours on the water as well.

IMG_0051

To all of you that have followed our blog, liked our photos on Instagram or have shared this site to you friends we greatly appreciate all that you do. This has been a very cool year for us. We’ve been able to share our adventures, fished in some cool places from high mountain lakes to the ocean and many places in between.

We have made some great friends along the way as well. So to all the old friends that have been around forever and to the new ones we meet almost on a weekly basis, I hope this holiday season treats you well, you get some quality time with your loved ones and you get time to enjoy the little things in life, hopefully while your line is tight!  

IMG_0067

I read a cool little article from Gink and Gasoline yesterday that had 8 tips on how to be a better Fly Fisher written by Tom Rosenbauer, but I thought the majority of those tips could apply to fishing in general. This was #8 on the list and I think it’s a great rule to live by.

“Stop being so serious.  Never take your fishing or yourself too seriously.  You are just a tool with a silly pole playing with fish.  How stupid is that?”

Happy Holidays!

-Dave