Fishing has been insane on my private bonefish flat. After six nights in my hammock i met my dad here and we moved into a hotel where were currently loving life. Im going night time tarpon fishing right now lets see what happens!
Im currently camped in front of a deserted bonefish flat by myself. I sleep in my hammock and battle the bugs at night. During the day im seeing cudas, sharks, jacks and alot of big bones! The first bone i saw the other day i caught, a hefty 7 lbs. i cant believe i have this amazing flat to myself! Its a little bittersweet slaying big bones by myself, cause afterall happiness is best when shared.
It all started in Minneapolis when I was unexpectedly upgraded to first class by a cute delta agent before boarding my plane to London. Within minutes I was sitting in my posh oversized seat drinking a mimosa eating shrimp cocktail dingblast it. During my flight I found it quite hard to get any sleep due to the second and third courses and ice cream sundays and movies they kept throwing at me. O well I thought, I could live this lifestyle for a while. Meanwhile the atlantic ocean was below me, raging mad and gigantic. I spent 9 hours flying over the ocean I was going to take three weeks sailing back across in a tiny boat in a few days time, with out ice cream sundays. After a tiring 24 hours spent with a friend drinking kask beers in London with no sleep, I boarded a flight to Lanzarote in the canary Islands (owned by spain off the coast of morocco) to meet up with the family of five from the UK who I would be living with for the next month and a half. After provisioning and getting to know each other for a few days we left the sunburned germans in the canaries, and set our sails for the cape verde islands off the coast of west africa. During the seven day sail down the coast we could see the faintest lights off in the distance, the lights of Western Sahara, Mauritania, and Senegal. Our first sight of land was an Island called Sao Vicente, which we pulled into at 4 in the morning and cracked big beers once the anchor was dropped. Overall we spent eight days in the cape verdes, but the island that holds my heart is called Brava. Being the southern most and smallest island of the cabo verdes and also out of the traditional trade wind route for sailors crossing the atlantic, it sees very few white people a year. Within moments of showing our intentions of anchoring stern two, the Local lobster fisherman called albert was swimming towards our boat to swim our mooring lines ashore. Soon after the hook was dropped every kid in the village swam out to the boat. We soon had 15 kids surrounding our dinghy showing their skills as free divers making me watch while they dove 20 feet down to sit on the bottom. After a taxi ride around the island exploring volcanoes and talking with locals, we met a guy named John John, not to be confused with De De or the other guy I met named Doo Doo. After sitting around with John John for a while he told me he was a fisherman and would like to take me out tmrw, he showed me his boat and then I remembered the reef we passed on the way in and how big the waves were, he said there would be three of them and we agreed on a price and said he would pick me up on the boat at 730 the next morning to head out past the reef. On the way out he told me stories about each one of the guys capsizing at one time or another, having to swim back to shore for 8 hours. After 3 hours of trolling for tuna with no luck I tried to teach them fly fishing but they found it hard to throw a ten weight after years of hand lining with bait. So instead they taught me a thing or two. For two hours we jigged up snapper, strawberry grouper, jacks, tuna, and various edible fish. The waves we battled all day were twice as big as our 14 foot wooden boat, but I had to trust their native intelligence, and when each big wave came I looked at their faces and they were calm as could be, so I knew I had to be. When we finally left Brava to start our sail across the atlantic, the locals we became friends with stayed on shore waving us off. I will always remember my Buddy John John standing on shore waving us off until we were a dot on the horizon, I knew he had a twinge of sadness about him from a hard life in a remote african island in the middle of nowhere and I knew he probably went right back to work after we were gone hopefully with a smile on his face. Our 13 day sail across the atlantic was five days faster than we planned, and I dont have enough time to go into it here, let me just say we battled 30-40 knots for 5 days with two reefs in the main, without a headsail, and we were still doing 9 knots. Times like that make for better times ahead, Like the first sight of land, and the smell of a rainforest, and the first night of undisturbed sleep, and dipping your toes in the sand, and jumping off the boat for a swim, and sitting at a bar in the caribbean happy as hell to be talking to a perfect stranger. Yesterday I said goodbye to the Melville family to start travels of my own. At the moment im hiding in a hotel room in St Vincent in the Caribbean where I will make my way north tmrw to plot my bonefish attack. Somewhere somehow someway, there has to be a bonefish flat nearby that I can hang out on for a month with my hammock and not do anything else but live deliberately and fish every minute of every day. Thats my trip report so far. Goodnight.
Every year 10 or so of the coolest guides on earth get together to take over the world. We at Grand Teton Fly Fishing know how to party. Our trip this year consisted of Scott Smith, Neil Chamberlin, Ben Brennan, Jeff Currier, Max Laprade, Tom Montgomery, Dave Smith, and myself. It was a great end of the year trip with many fish caught and many wild times. We fished some of our home water here in wyoming, ate like kings, and took lots of pictures. We were expecting the nymph fishing to be all time, and we all showed up with our best san juan worm boxes. To our surprise the dry fly activity was amazing.
Guide season is winding down and with that comes new adventures. Im writing this post hoping someone can help me find a job in the fly fishing industry somewhere in the world. If you know of anyone in another country Bahamas/New Zealand/South America/Mongolia/Russia/Alaska/Belize, etc that needs a guide for the winter please let me know! Im interested in any leads at this point. In the mean time please enjoy these pics from the last few weeks.
Today is my first day off in 36 days and I wish I was guiding. I tried to sleep in this morning but popped out of bed early and started on projects that have been pushed aside for far too long. My garden, my truck, this blog post etc. Life is fast paced during the summer here in Jackson hole, I don’t know whether im coming or going some days. The season started out strong with many days spent on the Green River, the South Fork, the Snake, and the Fire hole. The rest of the season is projected to continue as is, with high flows from the Jackson Lake Dam dropping 500 cfs every two weeks. Mid september should be some of the best fishing we have seen in 100 years! Enjoy these photos from the last 2 months!
Once, I had a day off. So first thing I did was Call me buddy James Fraser. We put in about 16 hours of work and explored and fished and had a great time. I don’t get to fish too much on my own time anymore, (unless im in the Bahamas, New Zealand, Fiji or South America) but during the summers my time is spent guiding people. So when I get a day off I always enjoy fishing with buddies.
I had the privilege to fish private water in Idaho the other day with my buddy James Fraser. James works for Friends of the Teton River, spending his days studying rivers, and creeks, and fish, often times with a fly rod in his hand. Fortunately our job that day was to catch as many fish as possible, measure them, tag them and release them. James will be lucky
enough to fish this spot next week and compare his notes so he can get an idea of a population count on this river. The fishing was amazing, every cast we were hooking fish. Which also meant that every fish we had to pull out our clipboards and pencils and tapes and record every fish, it got tiring! On the hike down to the river we stepped over a four foot rattlesnake which I failed to get a picture of cause I was so scared. We also saw a lot of Bear sign, ripped open logs, and torn up brush.
I fished two days with my friends Bob and Jamie last week. It was a great time and the fishing was outstanding. Bob and Jamie are from Boston and they had a good visit to Wyoming. Every cast we caught fish on certain stretches, it was almost too good to be true. Great job Bob and Jamie Ill see you next year!!
This place is amazing, no matter where I go in the world I always love coming back home. Wyoming is one of the best places on earth, with numerous lakes, rivers, open spaces, grass, flowers, blue sky, more animals than people, dirt, rocks, and mountains. No matter where I go I carry where I’m from. A few days after I got home I got a call from my Buddy Jeff Currier to meet him at the Henry’s fork for the annual Ranch Marathon. He also mentioned our good buddy Mike Lesota was driving all the way from Portland Oregon to be there for it. So I better be there. I started packing my truck with camping gear and called my buddy James Fraser (who I spent the winter in NZ with) and told him Id be picking him up in Driggs. The marathon is kind of a big deal, and no matter how hard we party the night before we always wake up at 6 am to get the day going. The marathon is from sunrise to sunset fishing from the log jam all the way to Osbourne bridge followed by draft beers and massive Trout hunter burgers.
The fishing was tough. I didn’t catch a fish all 15 hours and the white caps were big. You couldn’t tell which way the water was flowing it was blowing so hard. We finished up the day of fishing with beer and food, and Woke very early in the morning to get home and get the day started.
I am finally home after an awesome winter of Fly Fishing travel and Sailing Through Fiji. Before I Talk about this summer and guiding I want to share a few more pics from Fiji. The last 2 weeks on the boat we were all extras in a Bollywood movie, Dancing on the beach, walking the beach through fake dance parties, enjoying cocktails with the actors and actresses, and just having a great time. Keep your eyes and ears open for a 3D Bollywood movie called “warning” and if your lucky enough to see it you will notice me dancing and partying with the best of India.
The food on Slow Dance was always amazing, as we had a personal Chef on board. Mahi Mahi or Wahoo for Lunch (when available). And all the coconuts you could ever want.
When I head to Bombay India I will be hanging out with some of my buddies from Bollywood. The movie shoot was a riot and I only wish I could have been there for more of it.
Alot has happened since the last time I wrote you all. I got to Fiji on April 12, and since then its been a crazy unexpected random chain of events, and its all been so awesome. We never made it to the Lau group like I had originally said, in fact Im not even on the same boat that I was on when I first came to Fiji. Everything happened so fast. In the matter of a week or so our boat broke down, the engine ceased, our head sail ripped, 2 of our three water tanks were not working, solar panels were not in order, we didn’t have enough anchor chain or for that matter a working anchor, and rice and noodles and beans were getting very old and with no refrigerator. Also, a 38 foot boat is pretty small when you have 4 people living on it. So none of those things were a bid deal and Elaine Eskil and I were ready to tough it out, until we met two South African brothers in a bar who needed a deckhand, a stuartess, and a first mate aboard their bosses 92 foot steel cutter catch. It didnt take long for us to make our decision and two days later we had moved off of “VAL”, (no hard feelings Nick) and moved on board “Slow Dance”, an absolute beautiful charter boat based out of Los Angeles (www.sailslowdance.com), with three fridges two freezers, two water makers, sea kayak, fishing gear, two Dingy’s, (our primary Dingy is 70 HP and we have a smaller Dingy as well) I have a flat screen TV in my cabin with bathroom, shower, granite counter tops, no big deal. My title on board is fishing technician/deckhand, Elaine from Ireland is the stuartess, Eskil from Sweden is the first mate, BJ from South Africa is the first engineer, Sean from South Africa is the Captain, Victoria From LA is the chef, and Ron from LA is the owner. Its a beautiful boat and we are having the time of our lives now. We are required 4 hours of work a day in exchange for food(amazing food) and beer and the chance to see some of the most amazing places on earth. On our free time we swim, snorkel, fly fish, climb mountains, fly fish, explore, and fish. We have seen countless islands now and have met amazing people, villagers, and people who come up to the boat when we are anchored and welcome us to their island and socialize and trade stories and all the while having a great time. When sailing we are always trolling and have caught Tuna, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, and I always jig for grouper when we have finally anchored. With fridges and freezers on board we eat fresh fish whenever we want, eggs and dorado you know? So we will continue to fish and sail and enjoy until I fly home June 21 to fish every single day and get payed for it. By the way next week we start shooting a Bollywood movie on board, they have hired Slow Dance for a two month movie shoot of a Bollywood remake of a movie called Open Water 2 3D, Bollywood’s first 3D movie. Then the boat will continue on to Vanuatu, Salomon Islands, Philippines, and on to Thailand. I have been offered a position on board when guide season is over to sail the boat around the Philippines and on to Thailand so we will see what happens. Anyways hope you all are doing well, cant wait to see you all again. Cheers.
Hello Everyone! I hope your all well. I’m in Fiji and have been for almost 2 weeks. I will be here for the next two months living on a sailboat with some Friends, Fly-Fishing, Spear fishing, and exploring some amazing islands. We have been in the marina for 2 weeks prepping the boat for 2 months at sea. There are no Supermarkets where we are going, there are no conveniences of home. We are headed to the Lau group, which is eastern most Fiji, actually closer to Tonga than to Fiji. The people of these islands ate each other as early as 30 years ago. Its going to be an amazing trip and I will try to write when possible. We have an amazing four person crew. I will fish every day so expect to see some great fish pictures.
My last week in New Zealand was a quick tour of the South Island one more time, We had a few towns in mind that we hadn’t been able to see, Also Sky’s birthday was on the 31st, and we wanted to spend it in Queenstown. On the way down we camped a few nights on the beach, ate beer can burgers, and fished a river mouth for a spectacular fish called a “Kahawai.” This fish lives near river mouths in the ocean, and can be taken on the fly. We found camp and set up our tents and walked straight to the river mouth from the van. I had been in this area previously and it took me a while to remember exactly where the best camping spot was. When we got to the beach i didn’t expect much, as I knew Kahawai were a challenge on the fly. We spread out and casted blindly for a while, throwing our biggest trout streamers. It was low tide and the sun was setting, which exposed a flat a few hundred yards across. I waded out waist high and got to this flat, and panicked. I immediately started seeing tailing Kahawai! That rush of Bone fishing on a saltwater flat swept over me and I was focused. I casted in front of the gang of Kahawai and started stripping like mad, and suddenly hooked up. My 6 weight felt like a toothpick when up against one of these saltwater beasts built for speed. The fish broke me off on 15 pound test, on his first run, I just couldn’t stop him, I started yelling at the other boys who were elsewhere, and James came running. I quickly told him what had happened and pointed at the school, he ran out while casting and put his fly in the school and he too hooked up and got broke off. I was right behind him and back in the water in a minute with another fly and hooked up again, it was a Kahawai blitz and i couldn’t believe it was happening. Luckily this one I fought for 10 minutes and was able to slowly walk up the beach and land him.
The suspense continued for another 2 hours, where each of us landed a handful of nice fish. It was mad, it seemed every cast with waves crashing into us and the tide coming in, we were catching fish. We often got broke off and laughed about it, because there were so many fish on that flat there was always another to take its place. We decided to keep a couple of these and cook them up to supplement our dinner of beans that night. With a bottle of wine and fresh fish cooked over open flames with fresh lemon, it couldn’t have gotten better. One of the most memorable fishing experiences I have ever had, because it was so unexpected. The action was so intense, James thought of the idea of throwing poppers at them, sure enough first cast a few Kahawai battled over his popper and he was able to land one.
Two days ago we emerged from the woods after spending 6 days in one of the most remote places in New Zealand. We Hired a helicopter to drop us off in this remote area so we could spend our time fishing two rivers that were high on our list. We got flown in last Monday morning at 7 am, a day ahead of most of you, and got picked up Saturday night at 6, Went straight to the bar and guzzled a few ice cold beers, and had a feed fit for kings. The trip was incredible. Conditions were perfect, not a single drop of rain, and a lot of very happy fish.
The day came early the morning of the 16th, as we all had our alarms set, gear packed, a bit nervous not knowing what to expect, hoping we had everything in its place. Alot of time and preparation (and money) goes into a trip like this. (Although I do love that nervous anxious feeling you get when your about to do something big, it makes you feel alive.) I woke 15 minutes before my 6:00 alarm and was then calm and ready. I woke the other boys up and we suited up, and didn’t speak a word to each other, just thought about hopping in the chopper and getting there and making sure to do it right. We arrived at the hanger at 6:50, and the pilot was there fueling up and we went over some last minute details like where to pick us up at, we then threw our gear in and waited for the windows to defog, The pilot had shown us where the fire extinguisher and the ax were kept, and told us not to walk behind the chopper, cause we would get cut in half. We jumped in and put on the headsets, put on our seat belts, wrote down our names and weights on a piece of paper and took off. The sun was shining and the sky was red, there were also low lying clouds that lingered below us to add to the omniscient feel of flying. During the flight Our Pilot Wayne, took us to see a shammy, which is a type of high country goat, sure enough in minutes we were hovering over a pair steep on the mountainside, far from anybody’s view down below. The flight was only 25 minutes in, so I had to cherish every second. When we finally got to our destination, it was only a few minutes of shuffling around grabbing our gear, with Wayne yelling at us to hold on to our loose thermarests, so they don’t get caught in the rotor. With a wave and “good luck” he was gone. We went from the center of town to one of the best brown trout fisheries in the world in under a half hour. The chopper took off and we were quiet for a minute then that was it that’s the place we wanted to be, we knew there was no one around and that we had the river all to ourselves. We put our packs on and started the trek upriver. We were prepared to spend 3 days on this river, so on the hike in we started slow, and immediately started seeing fish, one pool had 5 fish in it all between 4 and 6 pounds. So we rigged up and started fishing and casting to the occasional fish with our 40 pound packs on, which is never that productive. We continued upriver all day fishing the good water well, and always keeping in mind a spot to set up camp. During our trek in we walked into a beehive, Sky got hit 4 times and James once, I ran out of there and luckily didn’t get stung. 2 hours later Sky was climbing up a steep sketchy bank and fell backwards 5 feet on top of his fly rod, and broke it in half. Not a great start to a trip…Luckily I was prepared with an extra, and let him use it. When we finally found camp, we were all ready for it, and put down our packs, had a snack, and laid out our things. I immediately spotted 2 fish in the pool that we were camped at. Without hesitation or noticing whose turn it was I laid down a cast while the other two were watching, and to my surprise caught a 5.5 pound brown. When we got it to the net I couldn’t believe the size of the stomach on this fish, He must have eaten a few mice or a bird recently…
Moments later after a few pictures then watching him swim away, the other fish I had spotted was still there, I didn’t think he was going to eat and didn’t even think twice about my cast, but to my surprise again, the fish ate the same dry fly the other fish had eaten only a minute later. Normally in New Zealand when you catch a fish in a pool the other fish in the pool will spook, but not today today was a good day. This 6.5 pound pig ate the same Cicada as the mouse eating 5.5 pound fish…
I truly couldn’t believe I would catch 2 big fish in 2 casts. But after that happened we immediately started moving, and found a pool right up from our camp where there were 4 fish feeding, I had just caught two so gave a few turns up so the other boys could get some. Sky hooked into a pig and actually broke the hook on the fish. By that point it was getting dark so we decided to head back to camp, and cooked up a mean feed of roasted garlic, onions, peppers, bacon and red sauce pasta. We went all out that night as it was a celebration night. After a long summer guiding for me this was my payback, I had been looking forward to this heli trip for months, so we rolled out our sleeping bags and went to bed early.
We woke to the sound of a Helicopter the next morning, We ran out of our tents to wave them off, but they did not see us. The heli disappeared into a clearing 200 yards downstream, and we thought there was no way they didn’t see us. Sure enough 5 minutes later a guide and his clients emerged from the bush, James let out a yell, and the guides body language totally changed, he looked up and saw us camped right in front of where they landed. He started walking towards us, so we met him half way. Now you never know how these things will pan out, since we were in front of him we had the river and it would not have been fair for him to drop in front of us as we were there first. I could tell he was a bit frustrated, although we were camped out in the open, and when we heard the chopper made our way out to the middle of the river to wave them off, they just weren’t looking. So he was a fair and honest guy, and said we were in the wright and he was in the wrong and he would use the satellite phone and have the chopper come back and pick them up and take them to another river. I’m glad it went smoothly, I could see it not going as smoothly as it did if they would have dropped a bend in front of us. After that we went fishing. And started spotting fish, I gave James and sky the first two fish we saw, (cause we take turns here in New Zealand to be fair) Both of those fish spooked and it was my turn now. I spotted a fish and made one cast with the same cicada the 2 fish had eaten the previous day. After a big fight James netted a trophy fish for me, an 8 pound brown, biggest I have ever caught! This was too good to be true, an 8 pounder on a dry fly first thing in the morning…
Pretty decent 8 pound fish to start the morning. The day didn’t slow down much after that. We all had some of the best fishing of our lives, and didn’t stop for lunch. Sky went through a streak this day, like I have never seen, (although I had a similar streak 2 years ago in NZ) He broke off six fish before he was able to land one. We were all laughing by the end, knowing the fishing was so good, breaking off fish after fish. Most of the day went like this…
The fishing was amazing for those next two days. We would get back to camp around 830 or 9 at night cook dinner and head straight to bed, then wake up have our oatmeal and coffee, and start hiking to the pool where we left off the night before. Whoever cooks is off dish duty, and trust me oatmeal is getting old. We have a great system down for our dinners and breakfasts, lunch is also communal but simple, PB&J and tortillas, plus any snacks you brought for yourself. For oatmeal we do 3/4 of a cup of rolled oats per person per day for breakfast, plus a bit of jelly, brown sugar, coconut, and raisins. Delicious. For Dinner we mix it up with either pasta, or rice. But with the rice sometimes we do tuna or chicken, and always with a pack of dried onions, 1/2 a cup of lentils for the protein and either a Indian curry sauce or a Asian stir fry sauce. We always bring a pack of soup mix to have while the food is cooking, there’s nothing like a hot drink while your waiting for you food to cook, it goes down smooth and always swishes around hot in your belly. All else after that is personal, sometimes well surprise each other with chocolate, a true delicacy in the bush. We always try to go to bed having drank a lot of water and eaten a lot of food. Its really your only comfort in the back country. Moving on.
James landed his biggest brown of this trip so far, a 6 pound beauty that when caught, kept going upstream in a rapid, a true beast. He fought it and I ran around the river smashing my knees on rocks (all for a good cause) to net it for him.
Often times when we have been walking for a long time with not much to eat, we will talk about the food we take for granted back home. Foods that come to mind, versions of all our mothers spaghetti, all you can eat sushi, Alaskan king crab legs, pizza, eggs and bacon is a popular choice also, you have no idea how mouth watering and torturous it is to think about all those fresh foods out there in the world just waiting for us. It makes the celebration dinner that much more enjoyable, and makes you think about taking the little things for granted next time. Mom I cant wait to get home and have some of your spaghetti!!
When we moved on from our own private secluded river, we fished and hiked 10 k one day to get to a back country hut. These huts are all over the New Zealand back country, and are very well established. The DOC or , Department of Conservation takes very good care of them, and most of them are always stocked with dry firewood, a luxury in the moist back woods of NZ.
On the final day Wayne was 10 minutes early but so were we so it didn’t matter. We were siting outside calm and glad when we heard the chopper echo high through the hills. He pulled up right to the hut that we had stayed the night before, with out much talk our celebration we climbed in, made sure not to get cut in half, and left the back country. I gave James shotgun and we headed towards civilization.
When we landed we were happy to get back and shower and get ready to go out on the town for some dinner. There is nothing like hard work done right, and sitting with my friends talking about the whole week over a few cold beers was enough to put a horn on a jelly fish. That was our last back country trip for a while, we have to turn gears a bit and focus on our plans after New Zealand, we will do some day fishing here and there so stay tuned on our next adventure, which will never be too far away.
We just got back to civilization after spending six days in the bush. We took a helicopter deep into the bush, to focus on fishing two remote rivers. We had an amazing time, not a single drop of rain, lots of fish, and I got one really big fish…
Expect stories to come over the next couple of days, I have alot of cool stories to tell and i have some amazing pictures to share… Only 2 more weeks in NZ for me, this was our last back country trip, for now we will focus on day trips, and will be heading down to Queenstown one more time…Also selling our van, and planning our next adventures beyond NZ. Stay tuned for more, and thanks for following my blog over the last three months.
We had the privilege of fishing with long time guide and fly fishing pioneer Tony Entwistle yesterday. Tony is great friends with my boss Jack Dennis in Wyoming, and knows alot of the same people that i know, because after all the fly fishing community throughout this world is quite small. I had always heard of Tony, and finally met him through some friends here at the Kiwi Park. When Tony invited us fishing I knew for sure it would be a great experience, and i couldn’t miss this for the world. We all caught fish, but that was not the point for me, I wonder if that’s really ever the point? We did a shuttle with both of our cars, dropped our car off put all our gear in his car and drove downstream. I didn’t want to hold anyone up so I threw my gear on as quick as I could and tried my best to keep up. We started walking upstream and immediately starting seeing fish, ( I mean Tony starting seeing fish…) We were looking so hard I almost went cross eyed at one point, I was trying my best to spot fish before Tony but it never happened. I couldn’t even keep up with him while we were walking and then when we finally got to a good pool I felt like I wanted to spend 10 minutes on a pool but he would dismiss it in under a minute. Overall a great day spent with a Fly Fishing legend! Thanks alot for a great day Tony I cant wait to take you fishing when you come to Wyoming!
We took Henry Winter fishing the other day. Henry lives in one of the best places in the world to fly fish for trout. Henry has been practicing in his backyard and i have been helping him. I can tell he is in to it, and from this point forward I think Henry is a fly fisherman. We went out to his local river for 2 days, and on the second day we found quite a few fish. We spotted a fish feeding and watched it for a while, and finally told Henry to cast at him, I could tell Henry was nervous, but he got right up there and started casting. Now that first fish spooked, but we found one down the line that Henry was able to cast at, and before any of us knew what had happened, I had jumped on the fish and tailed him, and Henry was sitting there in shock. It was a great day. Heres a picture of Henry’s first fish on a fly rod.
Our Buddy James Fraser has joined our team aboard our “New Zealand Fly Fishing Traverse.” James lives in Victor Idaho doing fisheries studies for Friends of the Teton River, where he gets to spend every possible second fishing, tagging, floating, and overall studying the local trout populations in the Teton Valley. James knows a thing or two about Trout and their behavior. And of course how to catch them. He has been a great addition to our crew, and proved himself worthy on a 5 day river trip we just returned from. Its great to have a third again, after our buddy Voges left Sky and I have been doing a few random things really, for example raging with 1500 other like minded people for New Years in Nelson.
Fly Fishing in New Zealand is total teamwork, It takes alot of work to land a fish, with the fast current and the huge slippery rocks everywhere, it can be a real challenge. You notice in the pictures our faces are covered with “Buffs” those are for the sand flies, and the gloves too. The bugs are so bad deep in the backcountry, 100% Deet wont even do the trick. We backpacked far up this river, we wanted to get far away from any road so we walked for 4.5 hours without even casting, because we knew we had to get out in it. It takes discipline to pass up all that water and all those pools to get to the good water but it did pay off. I love being outside, I belong on a river next to a huge mountain with a backpack on, with all my food on my back, walking and looking around at rocks and water, and just cook my supper and laugh. Thats when im happiest.
This past river trip was special because it was the first trip we have been on where the river didn’t flood out from underneath us, or even a drop of rain for that matter. Its finally summer and the rainy season is over which is a relief, I almost floated away a while back. Out in the bush we sort of wake and rise with the sun (almost). Although i do like to sleep, and i do like conversations late into the night staring at a campfire. The average day goes like this, Wake when we wake, put your wet clothes on in your tent as the sand flies wont let you stand bare skin for even a second outside, wander around listen to the birds, say goodmornin to the others, boil the water for coffee, then boil a little extra for the oatmeal coconut jelly brown sugar raisin breakfast, brush teeth, depending on how far you are up the river pack day pack with essentials, if you need to move camp another day then pack up tent and full pack and move another few hours upstream to get out in it, filter water, make sure you have all fishing gear, make sure you have the group gear, PB&J, tortillas, camera, and net, then start the long day of moving one step at a time looking, scanning, peering, into the most beautiful pools and runs you’ve ever seen, taking turns on each side of the river working as a group, taking turns sight fishing, if you pile a cast and the fish spooks, your turn is over. This goes on all day sometimes into the night, stopping for lunch and snacks, then back to camp to cook a huge feed and start a fire and drink tea and look at our pictures, proud and glad, and talk about how big of a meal were gonna eat when we get out of here cause we earned it. And its all amazing. We get to walk rivers all day every day and stare at them, for what you say? Well I don’t really know, but for now I’m here and your not and well just keep it at that.
We have some big trips coming up, so stay tuned when we finally get to do our heli trip, way into a remote NZ river. But before that we will do some day fishing and enjoy the simple things.
We dropped Michael off at the airport today, after 2 weeks of exploring flooded rivers, the fishing remained a constant challenge. We fished every day while Michael was here, doing day trips and also 2 day backpacking trips, It was alot of fun to have a third in our group for a while. The truth is im pretty tired now, im back in Christchurch and there was another set of earthquakes just yesterday, and sitting here in our room we just felt a little aftershock. Its pretty sad to drive around the city right now, its a deserted ghost town like you would see in a zombie movie. I think this will be our last time in Christchurch…We had a great Christmas tho, we spent it in a little town called Kaikoura, which is a surf town on the north east corner of the island. We had a nice Christmas eve dinner, and were able to save some time for a few cold beers at the local pub. Usually Christmas to me means hanging out with Family on a snowy day in Wyoming. Its nice to be here in NZ in board shorts and a tank top on the beach tho…So heres a few shots from the last two weeks, Michael and I with a miracle fish i caught in a flooded river on his first day in NZ, and a shot of the van.