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.”

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
twilight.
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!

Solving The Problem Of Picky Cutthroat

I think we can all agree that Sea Run Cutthroat Trout are aggressive fish.  Although, following that statement, occasionally they do get picky!  On these days you can see the fish, you can watch them sipping like trout on the Ranch section of the Henry’s Fork.  These are the days that make balding men wish they had hair to pull out.  Sea Run Cutthroat tend to smash baitfish pretty regularly, these are the days they just want something else.

  1. Get Stealthy.  The first thing I do when my clients are getting the rejects is add a couple feet to the tippet.  For most days 6-7′ of 2x Rio Fluoroflex is enough. When the fish are following and it’s just not happening, I like to add a couple extra feet of 3x to that.
  2. STOP!  When we know the fish are there, and we are being sneaky with our leaders, and still not getting the takes.  I like to STOP!!! Stop casting for 5 mins. Drink some coffee, watch the water, take in the sights.  Just freaking leave the fish alone!
  3. DEEPER!!   Play with your depth,  I have had full days where the fish would not eat a fly on anything except floaters.  In that same respect I have had whole days when they would not eat a fly more than a few inches off the bottom.  Try playing with the depth, this is our number one problem solver.
  4. Switch It Up!  Perhaps, while you were leaving the fish alone maybe you noticed the juvenile anchovies swimming around.  Or, you noticed the fish were working the shallow points for sculpin or shrimp.  Remember, these fish WANT to eat, so its our job to feed them what they want.  These fish will even find small creel like Amphipods or Isopods occasionally on the menu. 
  5. Move It!  Some times, you have to own the defeat.  Don’t waste a whole day on a pod of fish that are not willing to eat your offering.  I call this “Finding happy fish,” and I think its an important part of fishing.  You know the fish are there, and you can come back and try again after the tide shifts.

picky trout

When the fish are getting picky, these 5 moves keep us in the fish.  I believe it was Albert Einstein that said; “I am not a rocket surgeon, however, we can’t keep trying the same thing over and over again.” Furthermore, if all else fails, I know where you can find the best tequila on the Hood Canal.

Staghorn Sculpin – The Party Goblin

Staghorn Sculpins, Party Goblin, Bull Head, Son of a… Are just a few names for this adventurous little guy.  We need to pay some respect to the “Party Goblin.”

Savage Sculpin

These little jerks ambush bait all over Puget Sound.  They prefer sandy bottoms, but we accidentally hook the larger Party Goblins over all sorts of bottom structure.  Typically, When picking up a sculpin or two, you should think about picking up the pace.  Sculpin are not slow or lazy, but their an ambush predator not a sprinter like a trout.  Sculpins are plentiful and diverse in size all over Puget Sound, making them great prey for Sea Run Cutthroat.

As far as bait goes, I believe sculpin are not Cutthroat trouts favorite. This could be because of their spiny heads, or the fact that they are hard to find in the rocks. However, in the winter, when the bait is scarce and the pickings are slim… The Party Goblin becomes a savory treat for the big Cutthroat trout that need the calories.

Britas Sculpin

Brits Baby BullHead

Tiers Tips:

  • Burry your weight behind the big fat heads
  • Show off those white bellies and big fins
  • Profile is all that matters (be creative)
  • 2″ is about all you need
  • Check out the Fly Men Fishing Company Sculpin Helmet
Sculpin

Bad Picture But Shows The Profile

Polychaete Worm Step By Step

After multiple request here’s a quick and rough Polychaete Worm Step By Step.  This is a super simple pattern for anyone.  I am not sure it matters, but I went with Peach and Brown.

Hook: Ahrex NS182

Bead: Hareline Gritty Bead (kind of fun)

Body Braid: Hareline Mini Flat Braid Orange

Wing Flash: Senyo Predator Wrap Pink, Angel Hair PMD

Wing: Marabou Peach & Brown

Dubbing Loop: Predator Wrap, Ice Dub Shrimp Pink & Olive Brown, Senyos Shaggy Dub

Polychaete Worm Ahrex

Ahrex Gritty Worm

1.) Pinch the barb and slide on the gritty bead up to the eye.  I’ve tied unweighted Polychaete Worms that fish fine, I just like the bead better.

2.) Tie in the Bodi Braid and move the thread forward. Any Earthy tone will work fine, I happen to have this right at the desk.

Worm Wrap and Loop

3.)  Wrap the shank up to the thread and tie off.  Create a Dubbing Loop just big enough to hang up on your vise.

4.) Blend your wing of Peach Marabou, Predator Wrap, Brown Marabou, and PMD Angel Hair.

5.)Tie your “wing” in reverse style at the same point as your dubbing loop.  This method will help keep everything neat and tidy when finishing the fly.

parachute worm

6.)  This is probably the only “technical” step on this simple pattern. You want to wrap a good thread base around the “wing”.  This step is similar to tying a parachute dry fly pattern. Start by wrapping the thread AROUND the marabou about 6-10 times.  You CAN skip this step, but your fly will foul about 100 times more than if you add this step.

7.) Create a dubbing loop. When blending try to add the Senyo’s products in the middle. You want to leave the predator wrap a little bit long so it picks out nicely. You can trip the straggly long stuff later.

Worm getting dubbed

8.) Twist your dubbing loop nice and tight, the brush/pick it out. You will want to make sure you don’t have any fat spots in the dubbing rope.  If you are lazy and leave any fat spots you will crowed the bead and finishing will be rough, or the dubbing will fall out and you will have a loose head when you go to fish it.

Dubbed and whipped worm

9.) Next, Start wrapping behind the wing, and make sure to fill it all in to the bead.

10.) Whip Finish behind the bead, try to get between the dubbing and bead when you finish the fly to hide the thread.

art worm

11.) Optional. Your  Polychaete Worm is done, but you could add some funk to it by marking it up a bit. I say funk that worm up.

Finished Worm

12.) Day dream about the poor fish that will eat it.

 

Fishing Report

We have been spending a lot of time out on the water this winter.  Winter Trips have been pretty epic so far this year and in between we have been exploring some new water we found (more on that coming soon).  After many discussions and tons of feedback I decided we are going to commit to 1 fishing report a week.  Simple, Short, and to the point.  Hopefully we will be able to do 6-8 a month, but I am committing to 1 a week and that should get you the information you need for your upcoming trips, and fishing.

So here you go!

Puget Sound Fishing Report:

Fishing Report Jumper

With the great weather we have had recently the fish have been looking towards the surface.  Most of the week was spent with the floating line and smaller baitfish imitations getting hit just under the surface.  We had awesome action on fast moving Polychete worms for the first part of last week.  However, As the week carried on we found them more focused on Sculpin and Smelt patterns.  The Majority of the fish are hitting in the shallows and flats  (1-5′ of water).  I suspect a lot of the surface action we had throughout the week was due to the fish keying in on small shrimp buzzing the shallows, but we were able to nab them on baitfish and never switched over to the shrimp patterns.  The fish we are catching were aggressive, fat, happy, and covered in sea lice still!

Couple Smelt Flies

Up Coming Forecast:

After Tomorrow’s (Tuesday) Mega Wind we should be “Mostly Sunny” through Christmas!  With Great weather on the forecast and solid fishing I think we should close out 2017 with some great trips!

If you have any feed back for us about the fishing reports let us know in the comments or email us Justin@all-waters.com

Winter is here! Take advantage of the Floater!

Like it or not Winter is here in the Pacific Northwest! Days are shorter and wetter, and steelhead are trickling into the rivers.  Chum salmon are all but wrapped up and everything seems to have a squishy texture to it.  Well, that means fly tying and half day season is upon us.

winter topwater

Feeling cabin fever already?! That’s because we live in Washington, and you are not supposed to be cooped up inside.  It’s time to get out the floating line and take advantage of some great top water sea run cutthroat! It’s not worth trying to cram another fly in that sadly full fly box of yours!  With the beautiful views and the great fishing, it’s a shame to waste the winter inside!

This is the best time of year for the floating line!  We can pull out the gurglers and  traditional baitfish patterns this time of year and really do some of the most enjoyable cutthroat fishing of the season! Cruising the shorelines  tossing the floating line this time of year is a blast.  The water is nice and calm, and with a jacket and some active fishing it is a pleasant time of year to catch fish!

Washington State has a ton to offer the year-round fly fishermen, between the winter steelhead and the sea run cutthroat we do not really get a lull in the fishing! If the rivers blow out and your steelhead guide has to cancel, you can just run over to the Hood Canal and never leave the Olympic Peninsula and still get great fishing!  Here are some tips to keep you hooked up this time of year!

  • Current seams- The bait is scarce this time of year, so the current seams are critical to cutthroats hunting plan.
  • Fish The Floating Line! We have great topwater fishing this time of year. When the fish will not commit to coming to the surface, move just below on the same floater!
  •  Make a disturbance. If your fly is moving quick and making a commotion, the fish will find it this time of year. We have the advantage of the fish being aggressive this time of year, so lets have as much fun with that as we can!
  • Keep moving, as you work a stretch of water just keep moving on down, when you find the fish they will let you know!
  • No bad days! Fish hard, keep at it, and make a day of it. This time of year calls for hot coffee, great fishing, followed by a cold beverage to reward your efforts!

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!

Stella&Cam

 

Fall Fishing Is Here!!

Fall fishing has set in this last week!  Crisp mornings have kept the big fish on the shallows waiting for a meal!  The big tides have the bait fish scattered throughout the shorelines like a buffet!  The afternoon winds have the fish looking up for a chance at easy pickings from the surface. October has started off with a series of big hard fighting cutthroat!  Our guess is this fishing will last through the rest of fall!

Fall Swim Up

I can not say enough about the topwater fishing this fall! Gurglers have been our most productive patterns for the last week, landing big fish, with violent takes.  casted into the shallows and dragged off the drop offs we have seen some of the biggest top water fish to date. If you like fast action, super visual takes, and exciting jumps, I’d suggest trying this method out. Our best techniques have been to cast out and pause. Start slow and quickly speed up to a fast retrieve. Make sure you fish these all the way to the boat, because you don’t want to miss a fish on the pick up!

Big Fall Fish

Fishing the baitfish, Our most productive colors right now are out silver, white and teal. or silver white and peacock. Short and strong strips. The name of the game this year is to let the fish know you are there. Make a commotion with the fly. These fish are fattening up as the baitfish is dispersing. Short, violent strips, and make sure you leave that rod tip down and pointed at the fly. Finally, speed up as the fish are chasing, and strip before you set that hook! Flashy flies seem to have the most action this time of year, so when in question, add flash. Chartreuse, Teal, Silver, White, Olive, and Blue all seem to be good highlights right now. November we traditionally add a lot of orange and peach to the mix!

Michael Folded

Come get yourself some action, we have a handful of dates from now till november!

Captain Justin Waters