|Column nr.2 1999|
One of San Francisco's most attractive and respected television news anchors Kate Kelly and avid fly fisher and her husband have fished the world together. In upcoming columns a special section will be dedicated to this fly fishing dual. Its no secret many woman have become hooked on the sport. My article on Karen Graham ( See Butterfly & the Trout in this webzine ) has garnered many wonderful comments. I hope to have an update on Karens latest adventures in upstate New York. Karen Martin another world class avid fly fisher person and her husband Senior California Department Of Fish & Game Biologist Dr. Mike Martin are featured later in this column. I will be doing an in depth profile of this outstanding lady fly fisher in the coming months. Those who wish to know more about the legendary bamboo rod maker and sportsmen Walton Powell, please read my article in this webzine titled "Lord Of The Flies" at the end of this months column address and phone numbers for Walt Powell will be furnished. As mentioned in my first column, I will spotlight several outstanding rod makers of Bamboo and graphite, along with noted sportsmen and woman addicted to the air ballet.
The day before opening day was very interesting, Walt Powell introduced me to James L. Reams of Fall River Mills California. Jim is an accomplished Bamboo Rod Maker and life long fly fishermen. I have been introduced to many sportsmen who have attempted to fashion raw cane into functional works of art. Unfortunately many of these well intentioned individuals fall short of producing well designed, hand planed, tempered, tapered rods worth buying. I was quite surprised to find this level of workmanship and attention to detail. Its no secret to those who know me, I have a soft spot for fine bamboo. I will feature James L. Reams in a future article. His address and phone number will be attached to the end of this column for those wishing to investigate quality bamboo. Each month one or two rod makers will be mentioned or featured in this column. If you consider yourself in this expert category, please contact me through this monthly column. As is the case in all sports, fly fisher persons usually fall into two distinct camps.
Fly fishermen seem to come in two main flavors: The fellow who loves the sport and if possible spends a week or two on the water. Then we have the lunatic fringe who live breath and often mimic the life cycle of German Browns and fat Rainbows. These over the top types (me included) are known to go through wives, girlfriends, and family quickly. Because they never seem to be ANYWHERE AROUND! One can spot these overly focused souls spending a little too much time at the local magazine rack devouring every tiny obscure published word on the sport. If you were to spend any time at their homes, (not that they would notice) you would find them glued to the chair next to their fly tying table, bits and pieces of every sort of feather and hackle known to man scattered as if a hungry hawk had just completed his evening meal.
How often have you been subjected to the pathetic whining of a loved one uttering a phrase like this "Why do I have to constantly hear about nothing but opening day or how perfect your latest tied fly is? Why are you always either coming or going to some trout stream?"
Well, lets have a moment of silence for the huddled hordes who thank god will not be taking up space on my favorite two dozen streams this season.
It took me about 30 seconds as a five year old standing near a stream full of healthy trout to decide this addiction was for me. I raised my right hand and then and there swore a blood oath to any and all gods listening.
I solemnly swear to spend ridiculous amounts of money and time in the quest to one day learn how to consistently tie flies, perfectly present, catch & release as many trout as I possibly can. "Its been a few years, and I still have a way to go. There have been exquisite moments when everything felt just right, and after two or three mends of fresh thrown line hits the water, SLAM
Of course god bless the sportsmen who aren't completely possessed. We have to rely on someone to run this country while were up to our butts in cold water. Oh well, the advent of better then normal winter rain has once again left Upper California looking like a watercolor painting in 3-D. Rivers and streams I fished were running high and chilly, most areas were not crowded and the winds were tolerable at best. The "Little Tuly"is a wild trout zone, as are many areas circling majestic Mt. Shasta. I fished this year with a five weight graphite nine footer. I only threw hand tied flies which were tied by the legendary Walton Powell. I brought along my good friend Mike Garragus television producer. We have been scouting trout and scenic areas to begin my series of videos featuring many of the worlds most famous fly fishers of both sexes. Mike and I practised sneak and stealth techniques for creeping up on still sleepy rainbows holding in the few shallows of the "Little Tuly". Many critters were out and about including Garter Snakes, many ducks, geese, deer and other stream dwelling creatures. it was chilly and pretty, a wonderful opening day in California.
There are fish in the rivers in some numbers, but the rivers down because of El Nino "But a good guy can catch a nice fish". On the next day fishing Lonely and the Groin tributaries was like fishing the dam Trinity River in Mid - Winter! - Got the casting down, with a five weight Sage and fast sink tip, using florescent egg fly (others were using PTs and Hares Ear patterns). Flogged the water for about five hours without a bump. Home for afternoon tea
The next afternoon all hell broke loose, we went back to where we spotted the two good fish at Taurangi-Taupo. No dice for first two hours, wind was ferocious. We had to cast down wind, down stream or sail it near river banks, a real challenge. We spooked about 7 nice trout, no one else fishing but us. Twenty minutes before Sunset working the run near where our car was parked and thinking this is about where we spotted the good fish. Well since it was light and so flat (had my clear lenses on). Said to myself - I'll just float this baby over to where that fish was the day before and see what happens? Strike indicator on surface (Have to use special Lake Taupo indicators which are bushy and very strange) Strike indicator stops! Hook up. FISH ON! I'm yelling and hooting - Karen is 200 yards down stream and making tracks toward me like I'm on fire. This is a seriously nice trout - I'm stoked. This is nirvana- and well worth the swim across the Pacific. This genetic cousin of mine from California is wilder and feistier then I remember my last Owens River Rainbow. He reels off 30 yards and starts on the backing. Then does a 180 and decides upstream is better. I get him calmed down and he comes to me with little further fight in about ten minutes. I then gently remove hook and ease him back into the ice cold waters. Back to the lodge for venison and a delightful New Zealand Pinot Blanc." The area fished is unspoiled and too pretty (see photo ) Another quality fly fishing experience can be had on Mohaka River - cabins are rustic, but well kept - contact Riverland Outback Adventure, RD2 Napier, NZ: Phone (06)834-9756 or Lake Waikaremoana in the Urewaera National Park (64) 6837-3803. By the size of these fish and the many varied waters, this sounds like a grand adventure. The good news is its not very expensive, check it out.
How can I resist rummaging through my mental tackle box and discovering little gems of distant fly fishing adventures worth mentioning? During a ten year period living near Yosemite National Park in California. I had countless special days throwing tiny 16s at over fed Brookies, Rainbows. and Golden Trout. At one of the parks main gates near the Merced River (full of German Browns ) I got the bright idea to climb about forty five feet off the water onto a huge boulder. I could see many good trout moving all around from this vantage point. I threw my hand tied Mosquito's with ease at passing fish, until hooking up a solid three pound Rainbow. I had forgotten one important aspect of this type of fishing, how in the hell could I get that fish up the face of the rock without him snapping loose?
The park entrance is full of tourists and bus loads of sight seekers. I had a large gallery of Japanese camera toting fans watching me play this trout for some twenty minutes Only a moron would have attempted to catch and land a big fish on that steep sided rock. I played him until he tired. One of the tourists yelled out to me, "Can't wait to see you bring him in!" As I slowly brought him up the rock I thought man will I be lucky, then the tippet snapped and off he went. That was the day a trout caught me and made me look like the fool I was. Until next month, here are phone numbers and address's of Walton Powell and Bamboo rod maker James L. Reams.
Walton Powell is selling his special series of 30 of his signature double helix multiple modulus graphite rods at a special price under 300 dollars. He only has these 30 to sell. Phone # (530) 336-5179.
James L. Reams lives in Fall River Mills California, P.O.B. 685,' 96028, Phone # (530) 336-6773. His Quality Bamboo Rods start at less then a 1000 dollars and go up from there.
Excellent fly fishing shop on the way to Mt. Shasta area is " Fly fishing Unlimited "Toby Uppinghouse proprietor knows the area very well. Phone# (707) 446-0760 446-1206.
© Dan Fallon 1999 Read his biography
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