Custom Flies

Custom Flies have been Brita and my bread and butter for years.  Brita (on Instagram as Seafly907) has been an artist with a feather since she was a kid and I do alright at the vise as well! Working in fly shops for most of our adult lives we developed relationships with clients and vendors to make a small living selling flies.

Custom Flies

Shrimp Daddy

This fall we had a pretty big back up in our home fluff factory. Our downstairs flooded, and we got a bit backed up keeping up with orders.  So if you were one of those folks I want you to know that we are back in business!  (If you are a carpenter or flooring person, we will trade trips and flies!)  I finished about 6 orders last night and we are taking more as they come!

Order Up

Custom flies make great gifts, and make you feel great when you open your fly box!  One you are supporting a local fly artist which is always a great feeling.  Two you know the fly you are throwing is up to your specifications, and/or your tiers professional opinion. The last thing is, you know in all likelihood, it’s a one of a kind!  Your PHD local fish have not seen this trick before!

One of our most successful blog post ever was our Match The Hatch blog, and the photos from it are a great example of why custom flies make such great sense. Shoot us an email with your ideas, or ask for our opinions on we think about certain fisheries and bait fish imitations.  With years of experience and 100’s of dozens of flies out the door we will make sure you are well taken care of!

custom Flies

Brita’s Match The Hatch Squid

Custom Flies

Electric Shrimp Jr

5 Ways To Beat The Winter Chill

The days are getting shorter,  it’s cold,  and you just want to get out!  The fish are still eating, and to be honest they are not even picky right now.  So why are we all cooped up in the house?  Here are some ways to beat the chilly season!

1.) It’s Washington State, get yourself some good rain gear.  Getting soaked makes for a crummy day on the water, and it makes it almost impossible to stay warm on the water.  Solid rain gear might be a little bit pricey, but I promise you that you will fish more, and enjoy it more here in Washington.

2.) Fish from a boat.  Obviously I am bias on this one. But you can dress quite a bit warmer and stay much more comfortable without your legs in the water.  Staying mobile is always a better way of fishing in Puget Sound.

Michael Folded

3.) Less is more! You don’t need to fish for 8-9 hours in the winter time.  I believe the half day is the way to go this time of year.  Run and gun for 3 1/2-4 hours then go get a warm meal at Alderbrook Resort or Tides Tavern.

4.) What to wear this time of year in the boat?  30-40mph in the cold is pretty chilly. However if you dress for it, its no different than skiing or snowmobiling.  I recommend a base layer, sweater, jacket, and rain jacket for your top.  For your pants a base layer, warm pants, warm socks, and rain pants. The rain gear will break the wind, even if it is not rainy out, so don’t leave home without it.

Winter Fun

5.) Winter doesn’t last forever,  However in Washington it sure can seem that way.  This is a great time to get better at casting,  learn how to tie flies,  and catch beautiful winter Sea Run Cutthroat in the wildest places in Hood Canal or Puget Sound.

Fly Fishing is a beautiful sport, it makes our lives much more interesting and fun.  Don’t take half the year off when you could be out there enjoying it!

Heat Wave

The heat wave is in full swing here in western Washington. The mercery levels are sky high, the waders are collecting dust in the closet, and those mid day runs feel great! It’s supposed to be 100 degrees here on Puget Sound this week, its a great time to be on the water.

Here are a few tips to keep your lines tight with the hot weather.

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1.) Start early! 5am at the dock can be tough, but the fish will reward your efforts. The top layer of water is the first to warm up, so getting out before the sun has beat down on the surface will keep the fish up higher in the water column. Naturally this will help when targeting fish with a fly rod.

2.) Hide some weight in your flies. If you have been on the water with me, you know I have confidence in my flies.  Flies need to sink this time of year if you are targeting big fish. The fish are hanging on the drop offs with good current, so our flies need to get down to the cold water in the current.

Baitfish

3.)  Stay hydrated.  We are outside for hours on end, waving a stick.  I don’t really think of fishing as a sport, however, it is a semi-athletic endeavor.  Staying hydrated not only will physically make you feel better, it also helps with mental clarity.  The better you can think and feel, the better you will fish and more enjoyment you will get from it. (Sunscreen is also something to consider)

4.)  Take a break! 100 degree weather is f@%king hot.  If you need to take a break, take it. The fish will be there when you are ready.  Run the boat into the shade, walk into the woods, whatever you need to do.  The day is long, and you can take a break and still have great fishing.

5.) Slow down, one thing that guiding has taught me about fishing is that it’s the down time that helps you catch the fish.  Look around, study the water. This time of year it is so critical to fish to the bait fish, fish in the tidal current, and fish to the drop offs/structure. Taking time to slow down and make sure you are doing these things will certainly help a ton.

These 5 things are certain to make your time on the water significantly more enjoyable. Fishing is a great way to stay cool during a heat wave. See you on the water!

To Catch A Predator- Stripping A Fly

There is no denying it, Sea Run Cutthroat fishing is becoming popular.  Fortunately, here in Hood Canal there is room for it too! It’s hardly a mystery why this fishery is catching on,  cutthroat fishing is super fun!  Stripping a fly through the cold, clear waters of Puget Sound and Hood Canal is a great way to spend a day!

Since we have concluded that stripping a fly is fun, let’s make it more productive as well.

Much of our success with Sea Run Cutthroat fishing can be attributed to simply getting the fly in front of them.  Therefore, on days when the fish are deep, we need to let our lines and flies sink down to their depths.  “One, two, three, four, strip.”  Counting down let’s our flies do their job at the right depth.

“Point that rod at the fly!” No one likes a lazy stripper, neither do the fish!  Accordingly, need that fly moving under a tight line to your hand. Pointing the rod tip directly at the fly keeps your line tight, your strip set ready, and the fish shaking in their scales!

Stripping A Fly

Play the game! One of the best parts of fishing is watching a fish move to a fly! Once they turn into a predator we need to keep that game going. No zebra stops when being chased by a lion. Just the same, no baitfish is going to pause mid chase from a predatory cutthroat trout. “Strip till you feel that steel punch them!” This is what we are all here for.

Following these rules will keep you hooked up while enjoying our fishery.  Get That fly down to them, keep tight, and play the game. Stripping a fly the right way will help you catch your predator!

Tyler Strip And Jump

 

#KickPlastic

Starting now!  All-Waters is going to #kickplastic.  We want to continue our effort to further serve our local fisheries and this means protecting them as well! What better way than to distance ourselves from the harmful effects of disposable plastic water bottles?  We are excited to join many other outfitters and fishing guides in this movement!

Every day on the water the discussion is how pristine the water appears.  However, every day we pull at least one item of trash out of the water.  I would guess that 50% of that trash consist of disposable plastic bottles!  We have decided that we want to lead by example and are challenging all other guide services in the Puget Sound to join us and help #kickplastic out of the fly fishing scene!

The average week of summer we go through about 20-30 bottles of water, some weeks even more! That is roughly a metric $h!t ton of plastic that is just tossed in the recycle bin each season just from our boat alone!

From here on out we ask that all of our clients bring a reusable water bottle on your trip. I will be carrying two Hydro-Flask water jugs and a handful of extra cups with lids! We have the Yeti available to all of our guest and encourage all to throw in any beverages you might want to bring along as well.

 

Cheeseburger In Paradise

Out in the wilds of Hood Canal we are still seeing plenty of Chum Fry. They are about an inch and a half long, starting to fatten up, and jumping all over the surface. We are still even able to catch some small cutthroat on good ol’ Epoxy Minnows and other chum fry patterns. However, the larger fish have pretty much all transitioned over to the bigger fattier meals. Meaning if you are going to get a big fish to chase a fly down and crush it, you might start thinking of the other baitfish in the water.

epoxy minnow

Hood Canal has literal buffet line of baitfish in the water for the next 6 weeks, and what we find is that representing all of them and none of them at the same time seems to be the most effective fly choice. In other words a fly that might represent the profile of a Sandlance, Smelt, Anchovy can be more effective than say one that is meticulously designed to be a single species of bait. The amount of life in the water right now is unparalleled for the rest of the season, so there are plenty of possibilities for patterns and we find that having confidence in them and keeping them fishing results in the most hook ups.

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Looking in the water from the casting deck can be mind-blowing in May- June.  I took a good friend of mine Mike out on Monday to explore some new water (more on that in the next post) and he asked if he could run the push pole for part of the day. which made me realize that I had only ever cast off the front of the boat maybe 3 times ever. So he got his work out for a while because I was blown away by how much life was in the water, and just wanted to look down and I think I’ve earned the “Bow Hog” status for a few hours. I envy each person that gets on the deck for the next 6 weeks of the giant baitfish migrations.

mikefish

Wilderness

 

I have always been the guy that gets obsessed. I obsess over the details of anything I become passionate about. When I first became obsessed with the idea of becoming a fishing guide I decided I wanted to first become the best casting instructor I could be. If you have come fishing with me in the last 10 years you probably have noticed, I can’t help but point out the little things you can do to become a better caster. It’s because I spent my rent money and moved into a car to take casting lessons from as many instructors as I could. Not because I couldn’t cast (I did get WAY better) but because I wanted to see all of the different ways someone could teach how to cast a fly line.

tail1

My recent obsession has been finding the most wild places to catch sea run cutthroat within the Puget Sound and Hood Canal. Some of the places we found are a bit of a run to some pretty fantastic spots. We left from Alderbrook a couple of days ago and fished some of my favorite pieces of water on the entire Hood Canal. I don’t go to these places every day, you can’t walk here, there are places to catch fish on the way, however when I get the urge to find some wilderness we make the extra run, and these fish NEVER see other flies.

Tylerimig1

The first spot we stopped is the Cliff Creek (thats what I call it, not it’s name.) and we found quite a few smaller fish munching on Chum Fry, this was a good first stop to get the skunk off and get in the groove of catching fish. Also a good spot to get the dirty jokes started for the day. The fish were ultra aggressive, we just never found any size here.

Release shot

We then went full on committed to finding big fish, and that is what we did. We lost the first one, it always FEELS like thats the biggest one of the day! However after that we seemed to be on a roll of big solid sea trout! Finding big Sea Run Cutthroat seems to always happen if we commit to the cause, and I couldn’t of asked for a boat of better guys for the job. Thank you guys!Tylerimig2

A few sunny days

rob t2017

We’ve had a few sunny days here in the last week, the fish seemed like they were as thrilled with that as we were! I do believe Sea Run Cutthroat might be snobbier about the weather than most of us fishermen are. They seem to dislike pressure drops or any time the weather goes from nice to crummy. Not to say they won’t eat a fly during those times, because they certainly will, however they prefer it to be consistent and they seem to like some nice weather!

This past week was proof that a crummy day on the water is better than any nice day at the office. I started the week off taking out some folks from my friends at Sage Fly Rods. Nicole and Amanda met me at Alderbrook Lodge, had some coffee, and we headed out into the rain. Our first stop Amanda caught her first Sea Run Cutthroat, I told my first inappropriate joke, and we went on to put a hurting to the fish until lunch! We beached the boat and took an extended lunch at one of the more protected sandy spots on the Canal. Best part was even I got to harass some fish at this location!

release

For the most part the rest of the week was pretty rainy, however it started to get sunny out and we soaked it in for all that it was worth! Thanks to everyone who came out this past week! I hope the memories and tradition carries on!

happy fish

Cheers

Capt’n Justin Waters

Dare I say Spring?

 

all-waters_logo_colors-03I am hesitant to say it, however I think we are finally starting to get some spring weather. I have spent two whole days on the water this past week without being rained on! Oh yeah, and the chum fry are pouring from the rivers!

Olympics 1

We have been spending most of our time on the Hood Canal, from Twanoh State Park through Quilcene Bay. Mostly meeting up in the morning at Seabeck General Store or at Alderbrook Lodge and the fishing has been great! This past week we have even had some great weather to enjoy with the great fishing!

prettyone1

What we have been finding when chasing the cutthroat keyed in on Chum fry is that after a certain point in the day they have been gorged on the bait. We can watch the fish react to the fly however they become lazy and we have to fish very slowly to them. So our method has been to strip long twitchy slow retrieves through the schools of bait and this has resulted in soft, halfhearted attacks from the cutthroat OR what has seemed to work better is to bring the boat out in front of the schools by a few 100′ and fish to the fish who have not been gorging on fry for the last week. Thats when we get our crushing takes that we have all become accustomed to with Sea Trout fishing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Puget Sound has been starting to pick up with the Cutthroat fishing, however it is still a bit early for the lights out fishing in the areas we mainly focus on, so we will be staying on the Hood Canal for the next couple of weeks and enjoying the more remote fishing!

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Weather Break

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This past week has been a little cured with weather. As well as the next couple of days, However we are back on the water after that. I am back on the water from then on out.

johnny1

This past week was the Fly Fishing Film Tour and we helped raise about $4,000 for the Coastal Cutthroat Coalition, we donated our second trip of the year for those and have raised about $1,400 on our own so far for 2017. Thank you to Sage Fly Fishing and Scott Fly Rods for your generous donations as well!

fish

It has been a week of getting the fly boxes and boat ready for a busy season. Our spring tying is almost done and orders are getting out the door quickly. Chum Fry and Flatwing’s are getting spun up as quick as possible.

A ton of dates are filling up and we are getting ready for the most successful season yet. And the numbers of fish dumping back into Hood Canal chasing the chum fry are are going up every day.