Q & A With Captain Justin

Introducing the idea of our Q & A series…

I have toyed with the idea of doing an ongoing Q & A at several different times and have finally gotten around to starting this.

Other than the fact that I love to fish for cutthroat, I really love sharing this fishery with all of you. I love seeing the fishery grow, and it is awesome to hear I may have helped someone understand this fishery through answering their questions. I have some goals for the next year or so that will allow me to do that more than I already do. But for now, the blog, Instagram, and Facebook are where we are at. I think this will be a fun little series. I will continue with the Q & A as much as I can throughout the year and do a “Best Of” at the end of the season.

Q and A

Q – What are your set ups (rod, reel, line, leader)?

I have 4 rod and line setups on the boat at any time, with those consisting of Floating, Intermediate, and two Sinking lines. Obviously not every situation is going to call for these setups, however they will work 99% of the time.

  • Floating- 690-4 (6 weight 9′ rod) Sage X, Sage Spectrum Max reel, RIO Outbound, RIO 0x Big Nasty leader down to 3x FluoroFlex Plus tippet. I like the total length of my floating leader to be about 10′.
  • Intermediate- 690-4 Sage X, Sage Spectrum Max reel, RIO Camolux intermediate, 6′ Big Nasty leader to FluoroFlex 3x tippet. Total Length is about 8′.
  • Sinking- 690-4 Sage Salt HD, Sage Spectrum Max reel, RIO Outbound Short type 3 sink, 6′ Big Nasty 3x FluoroFlex (on clear days) 2x if there is color to the water.

Q – What is your favorite structure for those bigger cutthroat?

Well… I think this answer requires a 4 parts. I think it’s common for most people to think they “luck” into bigger fish by accident, however there is always a reason the bigger fish are there. Solving that puzzle will increase your odds at encountering larger sea-run cutthroat. Below are the 4 things I look for to increase our chances of encountering large fish:

  • You need a lot of current crashing into the structure you are fishing. A bay filling up or emptying out on a piece of structure for instance creates great opportunity for big fish to ambush bait.
  • Access to shelter is super important for the fish to grow in size. For example deep water, dark holes, kelp and/or longer eel grass, and undercut ledges all allow for good hiding. Anything to avoid predation and aid in the ambushing behavior we just mentioned. Less stress equals larger growth.
  • A reason for the fish to make the effort to hang out. Typically the “big fish spots” hold a few big fish, year round. The reason for this is they hold different types of bait and different times of the year. During the big influx of sand lance, the migrations of smelt, the chum fry, shrimp, herring… These are places that are year round good for a meal. A big fat fish doesn’t want to migrate every month anymore than a big fat guy wants to run to the salad side of a buffet.
  • Cold water. As a rule, if the water warms up, the big fish don’t hang there. Warmth = Stress

Q – Did Brita tie this fly? It’s super nice!

After Hours

I tie nice flies too, thank you very much.

The truth is she might have tied this one particular fly, and she does occasionally give me a fly or two to fish. If I am super busy I might hit her up for some once in a while. However, I really like tying flies and I tie my flies weighted how I want, as bulky as I want, and for the kind of water I like to fish. Also, I just plane like showing my clients my flies.

I am super picky about how my clients fish the flies, where they fish the flies, and when they fish the flies… I don’t just tie on any fly for any situation. Fortunately, Brita loves me and knows that so she occasionally will tie flies with my style in mind.

The answer is, you should assume it’s mine unless I am bragging about how amazing Brita is. She’s the best fly tier I know, and I am unbelievably proud to fish her flies and share them with people… However… I’ll be honest, this question hurts my ego just a bit.

Q – Whats the best tide for Sea Run Cutthroat?

Look, just go fishing. The fish do not care, go down current of a good piece of structure and go fishing. Sure some areas fish better at certain tides….. but they don’t fish at all if you are not fishing.

Q – Top three favorite fishing snacks?

Well, this is a fun question. Nowadays its Coffee, Hempler’s Beef Sticks, and LaCroix (Coconut). If I do two trips a day I love the brussel sprouts at Alderbrook Resort.

Q – Best tip to become a better caster?

Q & A

One word answer: PRACTICE. But, for those that don’t like that answer, I’ve included another detailed response.. If I could give one tip it would probably be to quickly come to a complete stop and just feel the rod unload. Most folks get it once they feel what it is supposed to feel like. Casting is fun, and when its done right it feels so good. I really love teaching casting lessons, and I do them for free at Alderbrook all summer long. I assume we could probably give more than 1 piece of advise.

… To Be Continued …

This was fun and I plan to do this more often in the future! I hope you guys enjoyed the Q & A. Feel free to email, message or… Instagram comment/direct message me any questions you want for the next one. I think we will have part 2 of the Q & A out next week!

Coastal Cutthroat IF4

Its Party Time People…

January 10th we have the International Fly Fishing Film Festival at the HULA HULA in Seattle! We are raising tons of money for the Coastal Cutthroat Coalition! This might be the most anticipated party of the year!

There will be a auction and raffle for guide trips, gear, swag, and flies. Buy some tickets, party hard, and know you are supporting a great cause! We have a pretty awesome “Package” that we have donated as well (more on that later).

This event has become a staple in the fly fishing community in Western Washington and beyond. We are excited to see all of you there and raise a ton of money for the Coastal Cutthroat Coalition. The greater Northwest is so fortunate to have such a great group of people supporting its fisheries whether in the field or with their pocketbooks!

In the past we have donated a full day guide trip in Puget Sound and a dozen flies. Although these were awesome, and we have had a good time. Furthermore raised a total of $1500 in the last three years at these events alone. We wanted to do much better this year!

This year we teamed up with our friends at Alderbrook Resort and donated a 2 night stay at the resort and a full day guide trip from the resorts beautiful dock. We are so stoked and plan on helping make this event the most successful one yet this year!

Thank You!

A huge thanks to Keith Robbins, the staff of the Hula Hula, and the folks at the Coastal Cutthroat Coalition for helping keep the science rolling and the fishery as exciting as ever! We are so fortunate to have this community come together and support such a great cause!

Continuing in the gratitude we want to thank Alderbrook Resort for helping out in putting together the best package we have ever done. Also all the other folks who are donating, buying, and all around helping out with this event!

Bid on our trip and party with us at Alderbrook Resort this spring!

Winter Problems

Winter Problems

Sometimes we all get them, Winter Problems, the biggest one being “It’s too freaking cold out, and/or I’m to freaking tired to fish.” Let me tell you… One of the two guys in my boat bailed out last minute on New Years day… Furthermore, he started texting around the time we started landing fish; SO, I thought I would share these with you.

“Oh man, sorry I couldn’t go, I wish I was not so tired!”

“Wish I was there.”

“I regret not going!”

“Hope you guys are having fun!”

“Are you catching anything?”

However, we were to busy laughing, catching super nice cutthroat and fishing to pay any attention to that. We kinda kicked ass all day on the fish. So our thought was just, “Should of woke up buddy.”

The biggest challenge in everything when it’s cold out is just finding the motivation to get out and go. Well, here is your motivation;

Reasons To Get Out

Let me tell you, these fish prefer the cold. Sea Run Cutthroat need the cold. They are less “trouty” in the cold. These guys are more predacious, thicker, stronger, and fight harder in the cold… Plus when it’s cold you get to call your lame friends who bail out names like “$%*$y”, “%!^@h”, “lazy”, and “still on the hook for half the trip.”

Winter Problems
Captain Mike slinging with a buddy on Hood Canal

In closing I would like to say, have a awesome 2019, we are off to a awesome start and can’t wait to see you this year! Let’s continue the mission to have more fun than ANYONE else on the planet, we are going to work hard to make sure we can keep that going! Further more, If you need help getting over your winter problems we have a few openings left for January 2019, and I will personally call and wake you up if you need help with motivation!

Fishing Report October 25 – 5 Keys To Success!

Fishing Report October 25

You know what they say?  Time flies when you are having fun!  So, besides rapidly screaming through the month of October, we are having a blast!  Fishing has been off the charts, we have shared the water with awesome folks, and we have been straight up slammed!  October has lived up to its hype this year once again! Heres 5 keys to success!

So whats the keys to success this late in the month?  Let me tell you!

5 Keys To Success

1.)  Find The Fish

It’s simple, you don’t want to waste your time probing fish-less water.  However, you also do not want to skip over a good fish spot in the name of moving.  Balance it out. We try to do more than one pass over a certain piece of water if we are finding success. First we cover it fast and see if we find some action, a follow, take, or fish! Second pass is where we methodically try to fish with a porpoise and make the most success on a spot. Occasionally we get them all on that first pass, but if we don’t see any action we move on.

2.)  Fish Flashy

Sure, a good ol fashion Wooly Bugger will catch them, as well as a dull classic Clouser Minnow. Perhaps you are correct.  However, you’re dull fly won’t be seen from 20′ away and have strikes from fish that you might miss without the glisten of flash.  Likewise, skip the super realism of summer bait balls and go to a more searching pattern.  Get the general profile of a baitfish and make that bad boy shine.

3.) Dress Warm!

No one likes being cold.  With the fog we have been having and the general dampness of the air, make sure you stay warm. Check out Captain Mikes blog on some hfelpful ways to stay more comfortable.  Let us know if you need us to bring an extra layer for you.

4.)  Branch Out

Late fall and early winter is a great time to be on the water.  The fish are plentiful and there are less crowds than summer time.  Check out that spot on the map you have been wanting to explore.  Shoot us a message and ask for some new spots you haven’t thought of. Maybe reach out to that buddy who you have wanted to fish with.  You never know when you might strike gold with a spot!

5.) Tequila

Bring your guide chocolate tequila from Mexico! What the hell man, that stuff is crazy good.  Sort of like a Mexican Chocolate milk.  I can’t remember the name of the bottle, nor do I know spanish… I will call it the El’Buzzed El’Coco Cow.  Yes, That does help the fishing.  (For the record,  I am not a big drinker, and  I will absolutely not drink with you on the water…)

Closing Argument

These are just some keys to success; However, we have said it from day one.  Those having the most fun win at the game of fly fishing.  I truly believe if you are in fact fishing; Meaning your fly is doing somewhat what it was designed to do in fishy water, if you are having a great time, you will catch fish.  It’s proven day in and day out on my boat.  It’s  not about being the best, the most equipped with the latest gear (although we always are, thanks Sage Fly Fishing) or even having the most know how, its about fishing smart, and having fun.  Cutthroat are honest fish. They are even more honest when the weather is cool and they are on their shallow hunting grounds.

The cool weather has the fish moved up in the shallows and hunting strongly this time of year.  It’s a pretty spectacular time of year to get out there!

10/15 October Fishing Report

October Fishing Report

 We have already covered the fact that October is down right amazing.  This week we have been welcomed to the water with beautiful fishing conditions.  Slick water, cool weather, and sunshine that has no end.  Did I mention we have been starting at 8am? Yeah, 8am… Eat it August!  I love October.

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being spectacular sea run cutthroat Fishing and 1 being what happens when you try to fish in your bathtub… I’d say fishing is a full on 10.  The cutthroat are gobbling down anything we have tossed at them.

October Fishing

We have been finding most of our fish on intermediate lines pushed up on the shallows.  3-6′ of water has been our main target this week.  Have we found some in the depths? Sure have, but why bother when there are plenty pushed up shallow?  We have been using a wide variety of general baitfish patterns.  Mostly Money Makers in peach and orange or chartreuse and peacock.  As a bonus,  top water fishing has been awesome this October as the fish are pushed into the shallow water and more densely populated.  To round things out,  we have been fishing some worm flies  just to switch things up over the oysters.

To be honest, we have been having a lot of fun trying to see what the fish won’t eat.  They are not exactly picky… More like a vacuum than a traditional trout.

Coming up!

We have some great weather and fishing  the next couple of weeks.  Get your dates, a boat open on the 20th, 21st, 23rd, and 26th.  Let us know and we will get you on the water!

October Fishing Report

Future Dates

If you are going to miss out on October, I have a secret for you!  November is a lot like October… just a little later.  Fishing continues to be great, Cutthroat move closer to their estuaries, and we continue to have more fun than anyone else you know.

November 2nd, 6th, 10th, 13th, 16th and 18th.  Let us know, we would love to share the water with you all and show you why we love the fall out here on Hood Canal and Puget Sound!

October Fishing

Captain Mike’s Guide To Beating The Cold

Captain Mike’s Guide To Beating The Cold

(A brief note from Captain Justin: Captain Mike sent me this a bit ago and I have postponed posting this for when it gets cold. Now as it gets cooler I thought it would be more appropriate.   I don’t think there is a more qualified human being than Mike to do this.  Thanks man!  You are one of the best humans, fishing guides, and writers I know.

Cold

Your Wet You Don’t Have To be Cold

Raise your hand if you like to be cold.

(Brief scuffle ensues.)

Alright, now that the one madman is out of the room, we can have a reasonable conversation.

Reasonable is probably a relative term; I hate being cold. I loathe it. I would rather be waterboarded…

OK, that’s too far. (Also, I imagine any torturer worth their golf-cart battery would use ice-cold water.) But yeah, I really do not like to be cold. That being the truth, I have also spent 40+ years (20+ of those years professionally) pursuing sports which require frequent wettings, often in less than warm conditions. I have swum out of whitewater rafts in November and once guided West Virginia’s New River Gorge on a day when the high was 17°F. Was I chilly? Yes. Did I call off the day because it was cold? No, because I know how to dress so to be relatively comfortable in the wet and cold. OK, yes, also because it was February and I really needed a paycheck after starving through the winter… but that’s beside the point.

We Fish In Cold Water:

Individual bravado aside, here in the Pacific Northwest we fish in cold water, often with more cold water hanging in the air or falling from the sky. Perversely, those latter conditions can make for better fishing than we might find on a bright bluebird day. So we don’t get rained out; when we wake in the morning and see those clouds and wet air rolling in, we smile and our hopes begin to rise.

But then we walk outside and remember: It sucks to be cold.

It’s even worse to be wet and cold. Unfortunately, clambering through wet second-growth to get to a trout stream or chasing cutthroat from a boat in the driving rain means wet, or at least damp, is inevitable.

So, what’s the answer?

Step 1: Stay home on less-than-ideal-conditions days.

Just kidding, just kidding…

The real answer: Accept the inevitable, prepare, and remember that being wet does not mean that you have to be cold.

Eat right and stay hydrated:

(Disclaimer: Few reputable nutritionists would recommend as a daily diet the plan I’m about to lay out.)

Start with breakfast. Hell, start with dinner the night before. Make sure the engine of your metabolism has the fuel it needs to burn warming calories all day. A lot of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Maybe twice what you would eat in a normal meal.

Drink water. Drink water before, during, and after your meal(s) and while you’re on the water. Without this step, all that food is just going to sit. Give your body the fluid volume it needs to carry all those calories and nutrients you’ve consumed.

Dress in layers and NO COTTON:

Old news, I’m aware, but news I see ignored on a daily basis. Cotton absorbs and holds more water than your body can effectively heat. And your goose-down jacket, when it gets wet, is going to lose loft, effectively negating its ability to keep you warm. It is the 21st century, though, so you have a ton of clothing fabric options that will retain heat when wet. Most of these are the newer synthetics, but there are a couple natural fibers that will also serve. Just, again, NO COTTON!

Think of your clothing as a capsule. The idea is to hold warm air in a bubble around your body while limiting the amount of moisture against your skin. If you can do that, even if you’re wet, you will stay warm.

Take a good look at the weather (both current and forecasted). The clothes you pick for that day should require no more than three layers, not counting rain gear. Fewer layers mean fewer options for regulating your temperature. More layers means… We all saw A Christmas Story, right? If you can’t put your arms down, how will you double-haul?

Example 1:

OK, so the forecast for the day is a high of 50°F, rain, no sun, and when you wake up at 4:00AM it’s 40°F with heavy fog. Time to lay out your clothes.

Your three layers consist of base, mid, and outer.

Base:

Your base should be tight to your body and of a material that will wick moisture away from your skin. This is where those natural fibers really shine: I like both Smartwool and silk. They’re both stretchy, very warm, and comfortable against the skin. There are also many synthetic choices of base layer. These have all the best properties of Smartwool and silk, but they also share one serious flaw: They retain, and maybe even magnify, smell. Just something to keep in mind for that end-of-the-day stop at the local eatery. Whichever you choose, make sure to tuck your shirt into your long underwear when you dress. Skipping this step will mean lost heat every time you bend over.

Mid:

The mid-layer should be tight but a little less-form fitting than your base. On the upper half, this is the layer on which I like to have a hood. Also, if the day warms, this is often the layer you end up wearing as the outer-most layer, so consider a fabric with some wind stopping ability.

Outer:

The outer layer is the big warm air reservoir. Patagonia’s Nano jackets and pants come to mind. When you are first trying on this layer at the store, make sure it fits properly over the layers you plan to put underneath. Too tight, you’ll actually squeeze out some of that warm air; too loose and you will get too much air movement, like a drafty house.

Typically, on a day like I’ve described above, I would wear two layers on the bottom (long underwear and my Patagonia Shelled Insulator pants) and three layers on the top (long-sleeve undershirt, medium-weight hoodie, and a synthetic-down jacket). My rain bibs would go under my outer jacket; my rain jacket would top everything. If I was stream fishing, the outer jacket would go inside my waders to avoid it getting soaked if I waded deep. Then my rain Jacket over everything.

Ultimately, what you want is to be able to regulate your temperature by adding or losing layers. With that in mind…

You Do Not Want To Sweat!

Go back and read that line again, it’s important. What is the purpose of sweating? To cool us. If you dress so warmly that you sweat, you will eventually get cold. This is more a concern when stream fishing, where the day often starts with a hike to the river. On these days, you should be almost cold when you start out; you’ll warm as you walk. If you get out of the guide’s truck and feel comfortable standing there at the trailhead, shed a layer or two.

It’s a different story on the boat. Running in an open boat at 35mph creates a 35mph wind. If you are comfortable when the boat is sitting still, the wind chill is going to make you cold once the throttle is wide open. I often find that the best answer to this is just adding my rain jacket over the clothes I’m already wearing. This creates an effective wind block and lets my clothing hold onto the air that my body worked so hard to warm.

As to that raingear… Jacket over bibs or waders. This is the layer that keeps us from getting soaked by cold rain or melting snow. It is also the outer layer of our warm-air bubble. A breathable, waterproof, (Gore-Tex, etc.) fabric keeps the rain off while also letting out the steam made by our working bodies. Nylon and rubberized fabrics do well keeping the water out, but they hold in the steam. Eventually, this will make you wet, which will make you cold.

Forget about staying one hundred percent dry:

I have yet to find any outfit—including a custom-made drysuit—that kept me fully dry. What we want is an outer shell that keeps the great majority of rain or snowmelt out while allowing the bit that does get in to run back out. While the shell is d

oing its job, our inner clothing should wick moisture away from our skin, not hold onto excess water, and fit in a way that allows air to be held and warmed by our metabolism.

It’s The Accessories That Really Make The Outfit:

We’re talking about those little touches here.

Hat. Your head, face, and neck have a large surface area, roughly two square feet, about the same as your back. Would you want to be outside in the cold with your entire back exposed to the elements? No? Then wear a warm hat.

A buff or scarf. In the boat, as I said, you get cold while running. Your neck is a big hole in the top of your upper layer, letting that 35mph wind get in and steal your warm air. A buff or scarf makes an excellent baffle in that hole and can be pulled up over your lower face while running.

Gloves. Can you stand them? If so, wear them. I wear them, but I also buy the best-fitting, fingerless, gloves that I can find. If you’re going to handle a fish, take them off first. The gloves will stay dry, your hands will stay warm, and you won’t pull slime off the fish. This is good for the fish, and for the way your gear bag smells the next time you open it.

Footwear:

Justin was mocking my socks-under-sandals look just the other day.   Side note: My feet, which were in and out of the water all day, were toasty warm. In the winter, I’ll wear rubber boots, but only once it’s miserably cold out and only when guiding. If I’m actually fishing, I’ll still rock the wool socks and sandals, the latter of which will get kicked off once I have a rod in hand. I hate to be cold, but I refuse to bomb a perfect cast only to find I’m standing on my running line. If you do wear rubber boots on the boat, make sure you can kick them off with minimal work. This is a matter of safety. Swimming in rubber boots is, well… let’s just say difficult.

Avoid alcohol:

Alcohol dilates your distal blood vessels, allowing heat loss through your skin. (That being said, once I’m back in the warmth, nothing chases off the inner chill like a glass of Redbreast neat, just in case anyone is thinking of tipping with anything other than cash. Justin, I hear, likes Don Julio.) Leave the beer in the cooler and drink some more water instead. On that note…

Pee When You Feel The Urge:

You’re drinking water, right?  Well then, your kidneys will make pee. If you hold onto it, your body will lose heat into your bladder. Yes, man or (especially, sorry) woman, it is a chilling, difficult, task in cold weather while wearing all that clothing, but after you’re done, you’ll be warmer.

Eat:

Like undressing a little to urinate, eating will actually make you feel colder (This is due to the food being less than body temperature, compounded by your body’s shunting of blood to your digestive tract to deal with this new load of food.)  but you have to keep the engine fueled up.  If you ate enough for breakfast, intermittent snacks will probably get you through.  I like Clif bars.  High energy, portable, and if you keep them in a mid-layer pocket they’ll be warm and gooey, which makes for a nice treat on a cold day.

Hypothermia:

This is what happens when you get too cold.  Despite all our preparations, it can happen, and it can be life-threatening.  Know the signs (clumsiness, confusion, slowed breathing, shivering or, worse, cessation of shivering without being warmed) and be willing to call it a day well before things reach this point.  Fishing is awesome, but it’s not worth dying for.

Parting Wisdom:

River or boat, there are a few things you should add to your cold-day gear list. Mostly these come down to safety. I like to have a way to start a fire (You should beach and get out of the boat first, btw.), extra water, extra food, emergency warming blanket, and one more layer than I think I could possibly need. In the boat, I also suggest wearing an auto-inflating Personal Floatation Device (Mustang makes several excellent options.). I wear one even on warm days, but on a cold day, wearing ten pounds of clothing, with ocean temperatures often in the high 40°F’s, life-expectancy in the water can be measured in minutes. A PFD is, literally, a lifesaver in this situation.

Being prepared for a cold day will not only let you get on the water more days, it will make those days safer and much more enjoyable. Winter brings some truly large fish up out of the depths into fly fishing range. It also chases a lot of people off the water, which results in less pressure on those big fish. And when you’re home, showing people the pictures of the netted monsters, you’ll get that question: “You were out on the water today?”

And you won’t be lying when you say, modestly, “Aww, it really wasn’t that cold.”

Renaming October- Fishtober

Renaming October- Fishtober

October is always a bitter sweet month to be a fishermen in Puget Sound.  The fishing is always pretty good out in Puget Sound, but it does not get better than October.  Sure spring is great, summer is fantastic, and Winter has amazing flats fishing… But October… Oh goodness.  Fishing in October is down right perfect (November is pretty sweet as well).  However,  there are a few down sides…  October marks the end of any hope for flip flops and shorts.  It ends any hope of the occasional bikini hatch at the resorts (I hear the comments from the dirty old guys!). No more swimming when we take a break for a snack. All of that aside, it’s perfect fishing, and I suppose what more could we ask for?

October slob

Get To The Point Will Ya!

What makes October perfect for fishing?  Well, I have asked myself this for about 8 years now.  I think after a ton of contemplation I am finally ready to say… It’s complicated.  Cold weather, less bait, concentrated fish, experience.

Chill Pill

Let’s start with Octobers weather, it’s unpredictably predictable.   October will average air temps in the  50’s.  Which means we will see similar air temperatures to sea run cutthroats favorite water water temperatures.   In conclusion there will not be a die off in the feeding throughout the day.  In contrast, July is wonderful, but once the mercury peaks, we are probably done with the best fishing for the day.

October Bend

Fish Snacks

Moving on from weather, is food sources.  October sees a decrease in baitfish from Septembers endless supply of fatty protein. The fish are still fat and happy, and obviously still well fed.  However,  the pickiness you see in late august/early september is completely void in October.  If you are going to be forced to put shoes on to go fishing for the first time of the year, you might as well fish to happy slob fish.

October Is For Concentration

Continuing on down the list… I always say October is the perfect time of year to fish for Sea Run Cutthroat, this is only true if you find them.  Cutthroat concentrate together way more in October-December.  In the summer we do these endless drifts down shorelines fishing every pocket and piece of structure.  When October hits (the first big cold spell) we notice that the fish concentrate more on certain spots.  Will we catch a single fish once in a while if we drift? Sure! Often though, you will find vacant beaches where we fish in the summer. Those fish have moved onto their cold weather holds. However, if you find the pods of feeders, we tend to double up, or have a dozen fish follow the fly in.  This is the time of year we will have a small fish eaten off the line by a larger cutthroat.

October Doctor

Time Served

Last is experience.  When we first started fishing for cutthroat we were stuck to the beach.  We fished the public (and often private) beaches that we knew we could pull a few fish.  The cold weather would come and some of these beaches would be best suited for contemplating life, and others would all of a sudden make you feel like a fishing god.  As we started exploring more, spending more time on the water, and getting off the beach, it became clear how these fish behave, and we started growing opinions on why.   This is a great time of year to pay attention to the successes and failures on the water.  October changes things out there more than any other time of the year.

October is here, we are stoked. To be completely honest, all of the cold months are pretty wonderful.  We will give you the tips on how to take advantage of it soon.

Coastal Cutthroat Giveaway

#guidelife

We are back!

Sorry for the delay in posting.  We’ve been… Not Posting.  But, we are back!  To celebrate it being October, being able to breathe after a busy season, also to celebrate the fishiest time of the year. We are donating big to the Coastal Cutthroat Coalition giveaway.  They are auctioning off our package!

Rules!

To enter here’s what it takes; Head on over to the Coastal Cutthroat Coalition Parasite Watch page.  Report what you catch in the month of October.  The more days you fish and report, the more times you are entered to win the giveaway!

Give Away Prize!

1.) Rio Coastal Quickshooter Fly Line-  We understand that the majority of cutthroat fishing is done from the beach.  We want to outfit you with the best beach line on earth. Bam!

2.) Yeti Rambler 20oz Tumber–  Look, It’s October!  Coffee needs to stay hot, and after fishing cocktails need to stay cold.  No one does it better than Yeti.

3.)Sage Hat and Buff- While you are stopping at that barista in the morning you want to look fly right?  No one looks better listening to Kool And The Gang like a fly fisher in a Sage Trucker.

4.)Flood Tide Co. Koozies– Look, I’ll be honest.  I bought koozies, shirts, hats…. I decided I looked way less ugly in the shirt, and Brita looks really good in the hat.  It’s October, keep your fall IPA cold and quit complaining.

5.) A half dozen flies tied by yours truely.  Old School Money Makers, Disco Shrimp, CutiePie Sculpin, Flashy Flatwing, and a shimp I played with.

6.) Stickers, a few Flood Tide, All-Waters, Sage Fly Fish… Possibly a Rio Products one…

Look, we have more fun than anyone. No one loves this fishery more than us. So let’s share the love!  Go fish, report and get the giveaway!

I hope you all had a great summer! Now that the madness has slowed down a bit, we are back to our usual schedule!

Afternoon Delight- After hours Trips

After hours Trips!

After Hours

Last week just flew by and I know a lot of you didn’t find the time to get out!  Fortunately this week, really the next 10 days, has awesome After Hours opportunities!  We are geared up and ready to get out for the 5pm-dark After Hours trips all week and looking forward to it!  With enough light to stay out late we can start as late as 6pm and run till 9:30.  The tides are shaped up awesome, the fishing has been amazing, and we have been taking advantage of it ourselves!

After Hours

Looking forward to another great week of fishing!  Early mornings and late afternoons are going to hold the best fishing of the day!

This does not mean that mid day fishing has been slouching either.  We have had awesome fishing in the mid day sun keeping our flies in the cold clear water.  We’ve had to make some adjustments to deal with the warmer brighter weather but we have had a great time!

Bringing the kids out has been popular the last few years and with this warm weather comes warm water in the lower reaches of hood canal!  Meaning Swim Season is here!  If the kids want to swim around lunch time this is a great time of year to bring them out as well!

Connections

Connections

The connections I have made over the last decade have made me feel unbelievably fortunate. To elaborate a bit, I have been able to share the water with folks who have done all sorts of great things.  Climb Kilimanjaro, fish Tiger Fish in Africa, Played in the NFL, US Special Forces, business owners of all kinds… Business, Travel, Summits, Sport, Entertainment, you name it.  I have been able to connect with some of the worlds most interesting people on the water.  It’s one of the things I love about my job.  I get to share it with all of you.  Also, I get a brief glimpse into the life,  careers, families, and passions. While you may be the one on the trip, I am a brief tourist in your lives as well.

Other than the connections I make on the water, tying your tippet to the leader, I am fortunate to continue that relationship off the water. I get calls from clients at least once a week “I want to catch a tarpon, can you help me out?” “I’m headed to Belize for permit, what do I need to bring?”

Where to go, who to book, and how to prepare.  Whether it be casting lessons prior to the trip, or how to outfit yourself for success. But most of all, how to put it all together. How does your backing connect to the spool? How do you connect your backing to the fly line? Leader to line? Line to tippet? Tippet to fly? How the hell does all this work together in order to hold onto a 100+lb fish?

Connections are the name of the game in Fly Fishing. Without the right connections, your fish will swim away with your fly, leader, line, or just break everything and swim away with half your rod.

So lets start this thing off!  We will start with the backing to reel and work our way right down to the fly.

Arbor Knot

Connecting Backing To The Reel

This is a pretty beyond simple knot… In fact it is so simple that when Mike Lawson first showed me I didn’t really get it.  There are a few ways to make this connection, however, this is the most straight forward connection available.

If you notice, Simons accent makes this knot come together beautifully.

Loop To Loop

This is the fast, strong and simple way to get two loops to join into one. Backing to fly line, line to leader, and leader to leader making a solid connection.

Simon was the coolest guy I have ever talked to… Right up until he called Dancing Queen a “great hit”…

 

Albright Knot

“I don’t have a loop in the back of my fly line! What do I do?!  I don’t have tools, or line welding knowledge!”  First, don’t panic.  The Albright Knot will take care of you.  This is a great knot for most backing to fly line applications.  Particularly for anything involving trout, salmon, steelhead…  Back to you Simon.

Jeez man, That Simon has us covered today!

Tie Fast Nail Knot

“Justin, the fly shop sold me this crazy tool because I broke the loop off my favorite floating line battling barnacles at Purdy Spit.  I went to the one with bad customer service so they didn’t show me how to use it!”   No worries my fluff chucking friend.  Zack has you covered here…  I will say this before we get to the video.  I do not think this is the BEST way to attach a leader to a new fly line.  Use the loop to loop connection in that case.  They are strong, quick, and I really like them.  However, if you are battling kangaroos in the outback and they bite the loop off your fly line, this will keep you in the game.  Go buy one of these tools, learn how to use it, and toss it in your pack.

Loop Knots

There are a lot of reasons to know loop knots.  One, you can skip the last few knots we learned (you should know them anyways) if you know how to tie them up and how to use them.  The first loop we will learn is the Perfection Loop.  This is the handy loop in the end of every prepackaged Rio Leader.  This is a great loop to know for doing a “loop to loop” connection to your fly line.

The next loop we will learn is the Double Surgeons knot. This knot can be used for the same thing as the perfection knot, attaching leader to fly line, or backing to fly line.  This is not as strong as the Perfection Loop or the Bimini Loop, however its quick and easy if that break strength is not as important.

Leader To Tippet

I am going to go ahead and say it right off the bat.  There is two knots I use almost 100% of the time for trout, salmon and steelhead.  First,The Blood Knot, 98% of the time. This is the best knot for attaching MOST leader to tippet situations. If you suck at the Blood Knot and you are going to tie a crummy one.  The Double Surgeon is a good alternative.  I will occasionally use a Double Surgeons Knot if I can not see (fishing at night) or in the freezing rain (hands are not working).  However, thats fairly rare.

  Additionally,  I use the Improved Blood Knot for tying two pieces of tippet with a big jump in size.  Zack actually was the one who showed me that knot, and I have appreciated it greatly over “I hope that stays.”  This knot works great for in a pinch when you hit the end of your spool of tippet.

We are going to give Simon a break and let Zack knock this one out of the park… Remember how Simon was classy and used Chap stick?  Now, watch as Zack chooses to drool all over the screen.

Fly To Tippet

Finally! How do we put our stabbers on the fishing string?  Well, there are obviously 4,000 different knots for this.  I am going to go over my two favorite ways. First, the Non Slip Mono Loop.  This is our go too for Sea Run Cutthroat, and most weighted or baitfish flies.  I want to get the most out of my fly, and this allows it to swim naturally and move freely in the water.

Back to you Simon!

Now,  When we are up in the mountains and using dries and nymphs mostly we need a knot that is small, strong and secure to the hook. That’s where the Improved Clinch Knot comes into our arsenal.  Here’s Zack to finish this thing out!

 

Let’s Wrap This Up

Fly Fishing is all about the connections we make.  With the environment, the fish, the guides, and even the equipment.  If we miss our connections we can spend all the money in the world on booking world class trips, $1000 fly rods, and the best accommodations the world has to offer.  But we will miss the opportunity to truly be in the game.

Thanks Simon and Zack for unknowingly being our star actors for this fish story.  Thank you Rio Products for your wonderful library of You Tube videos as well!