Bright Days

Bright Days

Bright Days

School Of Chum Fry On A Summer Morning

Occasionally, we like to fish in good weather.  You know, shorts, bare feet on the casting deck, sunglasses for more than protecting against bad cast.   It’s starting to look like summer out there on the water.   I see a lot of people saying,  “Now that the suns out, the best of the fishing is behind us.”  This my friends, is simply not the case.   There is however different techniques in the summer to make sure that the bright days are not spent fishless.  Sea Run Cutthroat are predators, here are some tips to make sure your fly remains prey on the brighter days of summer.

Wake Up

If you want to fish a floating line in the summer, you will have to wake up early.  You can fish with a floating line and still get some fish in the mid day sun… You just won’t catch as many fish.  It’s that simple.  The shallow water is going to warm with the high sun and push the fish off into deeper water.  Nighttime allows the shorelines to cool off and the bait and Cutthroat to move back into the shallows.  Fish the low light and get your shallow water fishing fix in before the suns super high and beating down on the flats.  There are plenty of opportunity to get the floating lines out and stock the shallows in the summer if you wake up on time.  Check your tide charts and find a good tide early in the morning.

Bright Days

Fish The Riffle Water

Don’t get it twisted though, that high sun does not turn the fishing into a tanning session.  Find that main tidal current.  Those riffles through the structure are like a sun umbrella on your patio table.  Sea Run Cutthroat like to use that riffle to break up the sun while they are hunting.  Breaking up the light helps hide the fish from predators like birds while they are behaving the predators and munching the last of the chum fry or small herring.

Bright Days

Go Deeper

There are lots of little tricks to getting your fishing in when the sun is high.  However, when the sun is high and consistent, none is more obvious than you need to get deeper.  Finding the shorelines with access to deep water is a huge key to our success.  Casting into 3′ of water when the fish are holding at 13′ feet is not going to result in much success.  We like to make a handful of passes through these spots.  We will start by fishing that 10′-20′ deep range with type 3 sinking lines and fishing our flies down deeper and slower.  Then fish that same stretch from 5-15′ a little faster.  Finally, fish that 3′-10′ section even quicker.  This assures us that our flies have fished through all of the best structure and allows us to feel confident that we did not miss any of our fish.

Bright Days

There are a lot of problems to solve in a days fishing.  That is what separates a successful day on the water from a fishless and frustrating one.  I hope this helps you solve a few of those problems on the bright days of summer.

April Fly Selection

April Fly Selection 

Sea Run Cutthroat have a unique menu this time of year.  Swarms of Chum fry in the shallows, Herring hanging on drop offs, and small sandlance on the Eel grass. It gives an angler a few extra things to explore as they are out looking for Sea Run Cutthroat.  When picking/tying your April Fly Selection we have a few considerations to think about.

Chum Fry

Chum fry of coarse has to be the main focus due to the shallow water sight fishing that they encourage.  Cutthroat porpoising like they are sipping caddis flies on the Missouri river in Montana… Chum fry are an absolute blast.  Check out some thoughts on Fly Selection.

Chum Fry Flies

When the schools are small, we like to fish a real accurate chum fry profile like the “Chumbodies Baby”.  I like the red egg sack head because it makes my small fly stand out a bit.  I also fish this fly steady, but slowly.  Keep tight with the fly, but don’t make it run to fast.

April Fly Selection

Chumbodies Baby

If I see thick schools of chum fry,  I like to fish epoxy minnows, and really tear through the schools with fast strips and flashy chum fry profiles, if the bait is an inch, I would go a bit bigger, 2-2 1/2″. Why? It just seems to work. I like to pull the fly quite a bit quicker in these situations and try to find the feeding fish.  When we have thick schools of bait and not a lot of crashing fish, I tend to think the fish are gorged or just not around, and we need to find them quickly.  A good ol’ Epoxy minnow is a great searching pattern.

April Fly selection

Epoxy Minnows

Now if I see cutthroat crashing chum fry and slurping them down like crazy… The “Frisky Fry” gets tied on the floating line.  The small gurgler like head will keep the fly floating and skipping on the surface, but allow the bulk of the fly to skim just under the surface.  If the Chumbodies Baby is the technical assault weapon, the Frisky Fry is the Whoopy Cushion “gotcha” of the group.  I like to strip this fly just fast enough to make a commotion on the water and wait to see the bucket swirls of fish coming to the surface.

April Fly Selection

Frisky Fry


Sandlance are my favorite baitfish for sea run cutthroat.  If sandlance was a people food it would be the nacho. Every cutthroat loves a sandlance.  April is when we start seeing fish key in on them. Sandlance tend to spend most of their time in April schooled up along the edges of Eel Grass beds, and where a steep beach starts to flatten out.  So If you have a steep drop off at the edge of your beach, its probably not the best place to find schools of sandlance.  Sandlance are quick swimmers who dive when being chased and like to hide down in the eel grass. Cutthroat gobble these things up like candy bars and fat folks.

Sandlance Flies

Sandlance can actually grow to be a pretty large baitfish.  However, in April I tend to flirt with the 2 1/2″ epoxy minnow, or the 3″ Money Maker for most of my sandlance patterns. The epoxy minnows serve me double for when the chum fry are pushed off the shallow water and are hanging on the edges of Eel grass. The Money Maker is my go to fly for 99% of my Sandlance imitations.  The baitfish profile cast easy and has a ton of movement in the water.  This “Flat Wing” style fly uses a illusion of bulk without creating actual bulk and becoming buoyant.  Design along with the tungsten bead allows the fly get right to business fishing from the first strip.

April Fly Selection

Money Maker

I hide a tungsten bead in almost all of my sandlance patterns, and like to give a three second pause before I start to strip.  This gives the fly time to dive like a fleeing baitfish before the retrieve it.  Our retrieve stays pretty much the same for these all year long.  Short strips, start slow and end fast, don’t pause.  If you have been on the casting deck of my boat before you have seen the fish chase them in, and if you have made the mistake of pausing you have seen the fish veer off of your fly and disappear into the depths of Puget Sound.

April Fly Selection

Money Maker/Sandlance/Flatwing


Herring is a overlooked bait source for Sea Run Cutthroat.  I think much of this stems from the folks who write the books on Sea Run Cutthroat tend to be beach anglers.  Herring hang on the dropoffs and ledges in Puget Sound, making them hard to reach for most beach anglers on all but the lowest of tides.  Cutthroat will target herring when they venture into the shallower bays and when the herring are in big numbers.  Typically when we are fishing with Herring flies we are targeting bigger Sea Run Cutthroat trout.

Herring Flies

When we are tying Herring flies we need to remember a couple of things.  One, these are not narrow baitfish, so we need to provide bulk for the material.  Two, these are larger flies, so we need to pick the right hook.  Number one you can learn at a fly tying class, and number two I have some pretty strong opinions on.  The two hooks I like to tie my Herring flies on are the Tiemco 800s size 6, and the Ahrex NS110 size 4 or 6.  The heavy gauge wire will keel the hook well with a bigger profile fly, and the larger gape in the hook will make sure your hookups are well placed in the corner of the mouth.

April Fly Selection

Herring Money Makers

My herring flies are typically variations of the Money Maker, or traditional Flatwing.  Both of these patterns are sparse while keeping a larger profile in the water.  April is a great time of year to fish Herring patterns as they ball up near the shorelines.  The large cutthroat will leave small chum fry to target the larger nutrient rich Herring.  When retrieving the fly, you should be steady with short strips as the bait is pretty tightly balled up.  If you pull the fly in quickly you will tend to foul hook bait, or pull the fly out from under the bait balls where the cutthroat are hunting.

April’s A Transition

Overall April is a transition month.  The Cutthroat are spreading out from their winter holds.  The eelgrass beds are growing back to their summer thickness, and baitfish are moving back into their summer shelter.  Your April Fly Selection is all about being prepared for summer style bait balls, or spring chum fry…

April is also all about the All-Waters Spring Clean Up on April 29th! BBQ, Beaches, Fishing, and making Puget Sound great again.

Good Clean Livin’

Good Clean Livin’

I have been talking back and forth with The Flood Tide Co. the last few days! Great guys, and amazing company! Not to mention Paul Pucket’s artwork is awesome.  I was telling them that one of the big reasons I love their company is their slogan; “Good Clean Livin'”.  They asked me to write up what “Good Clean Livin'” meant to me on a short little form.  I was using my phone to fill it out, and felt I didn’t quite do it justice.  However, if truth be told, their slogan was sort of the inspiration for how I run All-Waters Fly Fishing.

Good Clean Livin'

All-Waters Fly Fishing – Good Clean Livin’

I have been working on All-Waters Fly Fishing in one fashion or another for many years. It started out as just a blog with inspiration to get my name out there as a guide. That just never took off,  epic failure.  Then I was selling flies so people would buy them, hear about my guiding, then hire me to take them fishing.  I still sell the flies, and people hear about me through that for guide trips… However, I didn’t need a website for that.  I was stuck, and had this dream, that I couldn’t quite figure out.

Good Clean Livin'

Then I saw this little company from the Low Country, just doing what they want to do.  Making cool artwork, having fun, working, and supporting their local conservation groups… With this cool slogan  “Good Clean Livin'”  I was immediately drawn to their rad hats and shirts, however, I was taken back by how powerful that slogan paired with the general attitude of the company…

Boom! It hit me! “Just do what you do best!”  So All-Waters started by picking up all the things we were passionate about, Having fun, fishing, conservation, fly tying, and teaching, plus we got to start that blog back up!  It only made since to hit up this awesome company and say “Thanks!”  Turns out, they are as awesome as they appear!

So What Does “Good Clean Livin” Mean To Me?

Good Clean Livin’ to me means a lot of things. Like most good things in life, it’s not simple to pin down.

Good Clean Livin'

It for one thing means giving back to the resources we work with. It’s why we try to hard to continuously promote Coastal Cutthroat Coaltion and the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group.  If you love something, the way we love our fishery here, you have an obligation to bring some positivity to it.  It’s one of the things we love most about our career, we get to spend it in one of the most beautiful places in America.  If we do our job the way we feel it should be done, it will bring a positive message to our clients and customers.

Good Clean Livin'

Good Clean Livin’ undoubtedly also means enjoying life! Our saying every day we are on the water is; No matter what, we have more fun than anyone!  Whether on the water, or hanging out at the resort with a cold beverage.  We are always having a great time!  We have some party’s coming up that support that claim as well! More on that later though!

Good Clean Livin'

Furthermore, Good Clean Livin’ has to involve community.  What good is a good thing if you can’t share it with your friends?  We would be nothing without the community we surround ourselves with.  Our friends at Sage, Alderbrook, Fly Men Fishing Company, Flood Tide Co, our other guides we surround ourselves with, and our awesome clients and friends we share the water with! Not to mention the community of fishermen and conservationist on the Hood Canal and Puget Sound.

The last thing we believe about the slogan “Good Clean Livin'” is that it has to mean putting in the work.  We work tirelessly to to provide the best service, the most fun, and give you the best memories possible. We believe in working harder than anyone else and also, working at making sure it stays fun for us!  I believe if we continue to focus on these philosophies we will continue to be the bench mark in the PNW saltwater fishing services. We love the work, and so far, there has been zero backing down from putting in the effort to make sure everyday is more than you could ever ask for.

What’s The Point?

Well, the point is, we are proud to call Flood Tide Co our friends.  We are stoked to share our life with you guys as our customers and friends.  And we are looking forward to some more Good Clean Livin’ this spring.  Looking forward to sharing some more days on the water with all of you, and making some awesome memories!

Make the best of your spring fishing!

Make the best of your spring fishing!

Spring time is the best time of the year for us! It’s a chance to get some sun light back into our lives, we see all of our clients for the first time of the year, and we start seeing other anglers out on the water.  However, for most, it’s a time of year to dust off the rods, and get back out there! So why not make the best of your spring fishing?

Here are some tips that will make your spring, the best one yet!

Study the map!

– Spring is all about chum fry and finding the bait. Look for the places that bait will congregate! Here is 3 things to look for:

  • North of a chum salmon creek. Chum salmon typically don’t migrate deeper into the sound.
  • A obsticle that bait will have to swim around, such as a point.  Chum fry are poor swimmers, and points make slack water that will group the bait all together.
  • Shade from the sunny shorelines.  Chum fry don’t want to be sitting ducks for…ducks, and other birds.  They will go deep when the sun comes up or hide in the gravel, putting down the frenzy of feeding fish. Think high banks and over hanging trees.
Be Prepared!

Hood Canal Views

– It’s spring, the weather might shift and you might need to shift your fishing along with it.  Or your wardrobe. Here’s what we mean:

  • You head out and it’s overcast and cold. However, as the day scoots along the sun comes out and pounds the shorelines.  You might want to make sure you brought more than just your floating line along.  Also you might want to have a few weighted baitfish to plug along those drop offs!
  • The forecast is calling for 68 degrees and sunshine… Who trust the weatherman in Washington’s spring? Bring and extra jacket so you don’t end up at the taco joint drinking beer instead of fishing.
  • It’s the first big push of fishing for you of the year! Make sure you have your fishing license and all of your gear together! Nothing sucks more than thinking you are prepared and your guide telling you that you need to go online and get your license.

Have a Plan B!

-Our success is because we are prepared. Not just that our rods are rigged correctly, our flies are sharp, and we have more fun than everyone else.  We go out to the water with a plan A, B, C, and D.  Here’s some advise for this spring.  We are not saying you will need a back up plan, but often a strong plan for the day will keep you on the water and in the fish!

  • Plan A- Fish the estuary water with chum fry and look for frenzied Cutthroat.
  • Plan B- Head out to the first point and search the edge of the current and slack water for popping bait and frenzied trout.
  • Plan C- Search the shaded shorelines for bait.
  • Plan D- Plug the drop offs and structure with weighted flies for fish searching for bait down deep.
Spring Fishing
Try something new

 I can only speak from my own experience.  For example, for years I had two methods for catching cutthroat, and if those two techniques didn’t work, I would say “well… the fish are off the bite, we are not going to catch them today.” Now, both of those techniques were fairly effective probably worked 85% of the time. 10% of the time they worked poorly and we scratched out a few fish. and 5% of the time, we got blanked because we were just not versatile enough to figure it out.

  • Tie a new fly that you know others fish. For example, I NEVER used to fish sculpin patterns or shrimp patterns.  Now when we need a technique change or the fish are coming up deep from the bottom in the winter and not committing. We know how to get them.
  • Stray from your normal sink rate. Fish deeper water or fish the flats.  Become more versatile in the water you can find fish in.  We have seen big fish swim through shallow troughs on the flats when the water temperatures are down. We also have had many days when all of our fish came out of 25′ of water in the summer.
  • Let go of the reigns.  I learn a lot from fishing with my friends.  When I let Brita dictate our day on the water, we fish stuff I normally skip over.  Also when Mike’s running the boat, I gain a new perspective of spots that I fish all the time. Every now and then you have to set your ego aside and say “how would you approach this problem?”
Spring Fishing
Commit To The Plan

-Sometimes you just have to take the beating. Wait out that tide shift or that rising water temp.  Some times you just have to commit to the cause.  I can’t tell you how many times our plan is to fish through a crummy tide waiting on that 9:30 tide shift. We will pick up a few fish, but then it turns on! We might fish water that is not the plan A waiting for that tide to shift before we go to the best place of the day.

  • When planning your day, don’t beat the hell of out water that has not shaped up yet.
  • Pay attention to how your favorite beaches shape up when the tides shift.  Where is the slack water? Where is the fastest current? How does the eddy set up?
  • Fish your way into the best spots.  Watch how your fly line reacts to the current as you approach a rip, sometimes the water is ripping below the surface and you can hardly see it move from the top.

I hope these tips help make your spring fishing the best yet!

All-Waters Fly Fishing Weekly Fishing Report

Alright guys! We have had some pretty awesomely terrible weather this week.  Recovering from the Fly Fishing Show, Spending a few SUPER cold days on the water, and having some cancelations due to ice and snow.  We have been scrambling to catch up ! However, We promised a weekly fishing Report and here it is!

One Quick Side Note 

First off! It was awesome to meet a ton of you folks at the Fly Fishing Show! We knew we had a ton of people following the “Fish Stories” however, we didn’t exactly know who they were!  I can’t wait to share the water with you folks as the weather warms up and the fishing season gets rolling strong.

Now To The Weekly Fishing Report!

Weekly Fishing Report

This week was all about hiding from the wind.  Even on the days that seemed decent, we were constantly getting sneezed on by mother nature.  However, when we found some reprieve and worked our magic, we caught some really nice fish.

 We are still on the program of keeping close to the small streams feeding Puget Sound and Hood Canal.  The bulk of the fish caught this week came from casting to 10″ of water.  In addition, most of our success was from seeing the fish before casting to them. When it worked out we were rewarded greatly for it! When it didn’t, the cold and wind made  it hurt a bit more than we are used to.

This was not the week to be wimpy on the water, and I applaud the folks who shared it with me!  We had a kid from Maine tough out the cold and catch his first Sea Run Cutthroat (a slob) and some wild Canadians on a Washington Tour checking out some of our best trout fishing.  Thanks for coming out and we hope to see you again when the weather is not… Well… Down right miserable.

Weekly Fishing Report

Weather Report

The weather should be warming up from here on out!  A few showers in the forecast however I will take that over freezing rain, snow, and the other “four letter word”! We look forward to the spring like conditions!

Open Dates Coming Up!

We are excited as can be about this coming month!  Most of our dates are booked up however, we have a few you can jump on now!  We are open Saturday March 3rd, 6th, 9th, 13th, Sunday the 18th, and 21st. We suspect to fill all of these dates as they come up and we are looking forward to sharing the water with you!

Brita’s Fly Tying Classes

Brita’s Fly Tying Classes:

Brita has a couple of fly tying classes coming up in February!  We don’t do as many of these as we wish we did, so we decided to pick it up a notch.

Fly Tying Class

First, her intermediate saltwater fly tying class will be on February 10th.  This class will cover Chum Fry, Poppers, worms, and baitfish. This will be a 4 hour class from 3-7pm in  the Bremerton/Silverdale area. Call or email for more details.

Fly Tying Class Chum Fry

Also, she will be holding a class on Flat-wing flies on February 24th. This will also be a 4 hour class from 3-7pm in the Bremerton/Silverdale area.  I can not think of anyone more qualified to teach a class on these dynamic, beautiful, and effective flies.  Call or email for more details.

For both of these classes we will supply all materials, instruction, and some refreshments, The cost of the classes will be $150.  Please bring your own vises and basic fly tying tools or let us know so we can supply them. We announced the classes yesterday on social media, and have 3 spots left for Intermediate Fly Tying, and 2 spots left for the Flat Wing Flies.  For all the materials or tools you would like to bring check out The Avid Angler to grab what you need!

Fly Tying Class Flat Wing

Stay tuned for more up coming classes!


New Year Fishing Report

New Year Fishing Report:

I am aware that I say this every season.  However, nice days in the winter are one of my favorite times of year to get out on the water.  The fish are VERY active and willing to move to the fly.  Also, the big fish are up on the shallows from their usual summer deep hiding spots.  The big seasonal high tides bring in a totally new factor to the fishing.  So, without boring you to death lets get this fishing report out to you!

We’ve been spending time on both Puget Sound and Hood Canal.  Colvos Passage has been fishing great this past week as well as ALL of Hood Canal.  We have launched from Gig Harbor, Manchester, Alderbrook, and Salisbury in the last week and found big fat happy fish from each area.

Our fishing is different this time of year.  We have to search the massive high tides, so don’t expect anything to come without a little work.   We have been following a strict game plan throughout the day which has been covering a lot of water, and fishing very methodically once we find the fish.  A lot of our regular structure has been vacated due to the high tides and fish moving closer to the streams.  So the search game has been started and once it is figured out the fish have been pretty schooled up and happy.

First,  check the structure right outside of the estuaries.   This tight to the creek fishing has been VERY good.  We have just looked for the holes in the structure.  Estuaries tend to be quite shallow and have “dips” which have been holding the fish.  Our usual summer spots have been holding fish still, they have just moved from the drop offs onto the flats.  Making those type 6 lines unnecessary.

The fish this week have been amazing. With the big fish coming up onto the shallower water we are seeing many days straight of catching outrageously large fish.  If you follow us on Instagram you saw a short  full of profanity video of a monster Sea Run Cutthroat.  I will say that this is the best time of year giants, and if you fish this season correctly you will likely have a shot at the biggest fish of the season!

Weather Forecast:

Saturday is going to be “niceish” and after that… The future forecast looks quite dismal.   With the river systems on the rise, likely to flood stage, and the cutthroat fishing so good we will be fishing.  We will have a post coming soon on making the best of a rainy week on the water chasing Cutthroat.

However… How many empty spots are in that fly box?  We will also have some more step by step fly post coming in the next week as well.


Winter Is For Giants

Winter Is For Giants.

If Fly Fishing is all about the experience.  Winter Fly Fishing is all about enduring parts of the experience and enhancing others.  Sea Run Cutthroat move around this time of year, making part of that experience all about the hunt.  We have been on the water most of the winter and let me tell you, the hunt has been rewarded!

This time of year makes the summer look easy.  It almost makes me feel guilty for how much fun we had this summer.  We can always find a few fish to harass, don’t get me wrong.  But if you are going to be on the water, when the high for the day is in the low 40’s, you should hunt for the giants.  The winter is for giants, and the giants will humble  you.

There are a few things you need to know before heading out the door.  If you are cold on your walk to the truck, the boat ride…  Don’t schedule a trip in January and not dress for the occasion.  Furthermore, If you plan on catching giants, don’t look in the school yard.  We can catch lots of fish throughout the day, putting in the work for the big ones will have lots of fish.  But they might not come on the first cast…  The first hour…  The first stop even.  But once the fly lands in the kitchen, and the oven turns on. We are going too cook up a beast.

The hunt is what this is all about, we are starting in the normal spots we would in the fall, then start searching.  Tides are seasonally at their highs, there is more water than in the summer to move to… and its cold.  The powerful winter tides are rushing in and out to change the landscape.  The big fish no longer need to be down deep, or off the tidal zone to find the cold clear water.  They are moved onto the skinnier water chowing down to get fat and healthy.  The fish may have even moved closer to their spawning creeks and off the old reliable summer structure.

The hunt makes everything more fun.  Working together with our clients this time of year is a ton of fun, and having the amazing success has been even better.  I don’t think I have ever had this much fun in the winter.  We have stalked trout all over Hood Canal in the past few weeks and truthfully in places I have not fished much. We have started on a shoreline we have fished 100 times and ended up catching fish for miles in a different direction that we started.  Keep an open mind in the winter, and be prepared to learn some new tricks of the craft.

So, here are a few tips to get your big fish of the winter!

  • Search for deep pockets on shallow flats. We have found fish schooled up on the deep pockets of a flat on outgoing tide.
  • Try big flies on the deeper shorelines.  We have had multiple smaller cutthroat stollen by larger cutthroat in the last few weeks.  I promise, a 4-5″ baitfish is not to big to be gobbled down by a 18-24″ cutthroat.
  • Your normal beach is dead?  It’s time to look on a map and fish your way toward the closest likely spawning creek.  It’s that time of year where the fish are getting ready to head to the bedroom.  They are eating any bait they find on the way there.  I know,  romantic how they go to dinner before they… you know.
  • Dress for success! Do not underdress to get out fishing.  It’s simple really, you are not going to fish intelligently if the entire time you are worried about how cold you are.  We carry a goodwill store of fleece just to make sure people are warm and comfortable on the water.
  • Let the fish tell you they are there.  We are not catching one fish this time of year.  If you find a single fish, there is going to be a dozen more where it came from.  Winter fish stick together!  If you make a handful of cast and don’t find anything, keep moving until you find them.  Then once you found fish, methodically pick through the piece of water to find the rest.


Mike’s Fishing Report 12/19/2017

Our good friend Mike Hanford sent in a fishing report from 12/19/2017. I have been on the water the last few days and couldn’t get it up until now! So without further delay, heres Mike’s Fishing Report.

Mike's Fishing Report

Mike’s Fishing Report

“December 19, 2017
There were gale-force winds today. Luckily, in the Sound, there’s always somewhere to get out of the wind…
Despite knowing that, I still wasted my first ninety minutes out on Carr Inlet taking a beating in my small boat. As soon as I launched, I turned away from the shallow oyster bed (which was on a lee shore and where I knew the fish probably were) and bashed into the wind and waves to round the long point to the south, where I fished deep water while navigating foot-tall whitecaps. I spent most of a fishless hour-and- a-half with my fly line wrapped around various boat hardware. Eventually I came to my senses and gave up on that foolishness, letting the wind and tide blow me back around the point and carry me down to the oyster bed.
This particular oyster bed is short, perhaps a hundred yards long, but it does end on a soft point coming off a wide shallow mud flat. There’s a nice long rip current, lots of boulders, all those oyster shells; a cutthroat paradise. It’s just so damn short! The fact that you can float the whole thing in fifteen minutes is probably why I ignored it in the first place.
I spent the rest of the day—only another ninety minutes, unfortunately—floating downwind until I passed the point, then motoring back up to start my drift again. I fished a weighted bucktail flatwing and hooked at least one fish on every drift, including one heady period when I hooked up three casts in a row, although the third time was not on a fish but on a low-flying little grey duck. It was a moment of
pure coincidence; as my cast unrolled, the duck flew in from the right and passed directly beneath my falling fly. Luckily, the hook did not set in skin, but it did end up covered with feathers that I hadn’t added when I tied it the night before. The duck itself gave a single indignant Squawk! When the fly first landed between its shoulder blades but at last sight was still flying, steady and low, speeding off into the
I netted eight or nine fish—a few of those in the “Damn, nice fish,” category—and even the short ones were fat and chunky, well fed. The black sky, wind chop on the surface, and scattered rain had bolstered their confidence. They ate close enough to shore that I’m sure I would have done just as well had I been fishing from the beach. One of them ate in water shallow enough that when it first felt the hook and bolted, its tale sent up a wake of whitewater spray.
It was dark by the time I got back to the ramp. Despite the cold high wind, the rough conditions, the unfortunate duck, and the rain, it was a great evening of fishing.”

Mike is a great writer and one of the best fishermen I know.  Also the only person other than Brita I have ever let run my boat.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Just The Tip- Tipping Your Fishing Guide

I have dreaded writing this out for a while. Tipping your fishing guide keeps coming up in the past 6 months. I assume this is because of a post I made on Washington Fly Fishing.  Here is MY as non bias as possible opinion.

Should you  be tipping your fishing guide?  Well, of coarse this is a complicated answer;  Do you tip your waitress when he/she does a great job?  Did your guide work his butt off for you.  Do you feel like your guide showed you a great time?  Why did the subject even come up?

Look, I will be the first to admit, being a professional fishing guide is the best job in the world! I love every second I spend on the water with you guys. We catch awesome fish and we tell dirty jokes. We often share life stories, and we have a kick ass time every day! What more could I ask for?  Being the best fishing guide possible has been my life’s ambition for as long as I can remember. Hiring guides is a huge bonus for me.  Those two things give me a unique insight on the subject.

First, most of us were not around when the tradition of tipping your guides started.  I have looked on dozens of websites in preparation for writing this, and could not find how the tradition got started.  Research did show that most fishing guides when not tipped, feel they did something to offend their clients.  I can relate to that both an independent guide and a guide who has worked out of a few different lodges and shops.

Tipping your fishing guide should feel good at the end of the day.  If it does not, I personally would prefer you did not do it.  I personally do not factor my tips into my budget for the week, I look at it like a bonus.  I pride myself on my clients coming back to fish with me every year.  Tips are often a way to cover overhead like fuel, lunch, and services for the boat.  If I come in under budget for the week, that is a huge bonus for us, if not that is okay. I would say that 95% of clients do tip, and of the 3% that do not, they rebook on the day of the trip.

Here is how tipping your fishing guide typically goes;  There are three different types of clients when it comes to tipping.  One who talks about the tip from the first step onto the boat,  the other than hands you cash, and then the credit card tipper.  As a guide, we appreciate them all.  The first however makes all fishing guides feel awkward. We are not working for that tip!  Save it for the end of the day. The next guy pays his bill, hands you $50-$100 and tells you “Thank you, I hope to do it again.” This is how all guides like to leave it. The last is the Credit Card tip. This is the main way people pay.  If this is how you tip, make sure you tell your guide before you pay your bill.  The last two ways are the best ways to handle this.

This is the biggest thing with tips.  The best guides in the world can not avoid this. The dreaded skunk day.  Fortunately our fishery here in Puget Sound/Hood Canal does not have many of these… But we have had it, and as a fishing guide, it is the worst.  I would honestly rather be in the clients shoes than in the guides spot on those days, I remember the first time ever, I felt sick, sad, depressed, and rethought my entire life’s ambition.  It is the worst feeling you can possibly be in, and it is way worse to be the guide than the client. I’ve been skunked on $5,000 tarpon trips, $500 trout trips, and yes, here in Hood Canal it’s happened. The fish sometimes win, and as long as your guide puts in the effort, this should not reflect on the guide.  It just happens.

Look, tipping your guide should feel good, or don’t do it.  Just know that it is a tradition, and if you are not going to, let the guide know how you felt about the day. Give a review on their social media page, book another date, and all around be grateful.  Most fishing guides are living their dream on the water, and made serious sacrifices to do their dream job, just knowing their clients appreciate their hard work means a lot.

For The Guide:

Be honest, this is a career famous for lazy, late, unprofessional people. If you are any of the three, you do not deserve your clients bonus at the end of the day. A tip is not required or even expected, it is a act of appreciation for your extra effort.

Here are a few things you can do for your fishing guide as a client:

  • Show up on time! You are only doing yourself wrong by not showing up on time. Weather, Tide, and daylight all factor into the fishing you are about to go on.
  • Be patient with yourself and your guide.  They will judge your skill level as the day gets going and adjust accordingly.
  •  Be polite.  Don’t trash their boat and don’t get trashed on their boat!
  • Write reviews: These matter more and more to fishing guides these days. Word of mouth is still the best way for a guide to get known!
  • Tell people: Tell your friends, neighbors, coworkers, I know alot of guide who are starting out and could use the extra help.  If you notice the guide is fishing one particular company, let that company know what a great time they had with them.
  • DINNER AND A DRINK IS FOR DATES, NOT FISHING GUIDES.  Obviously there are exceptions to all rules. However, by the time they get their boat ready, put it in the water, fish, pulled out, washed down, and ready it for the morning. Thats 10-12 hours. I rarely have a cocktail with my clients anymore, not because I don’t love my clients, but because my kids wont remember my name if I do!