|Column nr.5 2001|
Two Rivers - Three Days
Aprils last gasp and heavy sigh could be felt standing waist deep in the rushing Carson River about two miles from the famous Sorenson Resort near Markleville California. The water temperature was 39-41 running cold and fast, no other fly tosser could be seen. My brother and wiser sisters all new much better then to get blown around on the fast Carson this early in the season. No bugs anywhere and only streamers and attractors stand any chance under these conditions, tried my own "White Dragon" and nothing happens. Then tried one of my killer "Lady Di" red belly Black Woolly Bugger looking thang. Oh well, its endless beauty with alittle snow and alot of fast cold water up here in the Alpine County area. Tired last vestiges of winter still linger, you can smell it in he air. I walk and throw over a mile or more of the water up and down stream and not a bump or a sign of any surface fish activity, everywhere birds and new growth grass as green as green can be. The feint smell of snow comes and goes as the mornings slowly heat up to the high 60s. It a most peaceful living breathing pictorial of sweet spring quietly taking control and reshuffling her deck one more time. I throw where I know the fish will be waiting and nothing happens at all for hours at a time. This is when fly fishers can easily say "no problem, no fish, no big deal! I had the chance to stand in this cold water and become part of this show for a heart beat and that will always be more then enough. Two days of this routine leaves me only wishing I had more time to spend trying more flies and places unfished. The third day I drove an hour and a half from South Shore of lake Tahoe down much lower to around three thousand feet to a place on the American River running high and fast.
The American River is running moderate and not quite as fast as the Carson up higher at over six thousand feet. What a difference from the mighty Carson which seemed alittle too fast and had little if any bug activity. The water is not as cold and alien as the last two days up higher. Within an hour I had caught and released several 10 to 15 inch trout and all was well on this productive stretch of water. I have been using my own streamers: "Fallon Slayer" and my "White Dragon" have been fooling the hell out of the local residents this morning and late afternoon. I work the streamers along all the far edges and then let them drop off of two big rocks. I love working early season "Magic Bullets" (see last column for more details on early season streamers).
Basic Fly Fishing School Celebrities
Virginia Duffy and Chuck Champion have just completed my two day basic fly fishing course in Shingletown California. It was great fun spending two days with these two future fly fishers from Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Chuck is the publisher of the terribly influential Access Magazine which you will find neatly tucked inside your Sunday newspaper. This outstanding publication reviews and highlights web sites all over the world. Virginia is the CEO of a successful marketing firm where the customer can relax and be sure their needs are carefully cared for! The thrill of this two day session for me was the fact both of these outdoorsmen had never picked up a fly rod or any other fishing gear in their lives.
My two day class consists of a long morning of class work focusing on all basic material such as knot tying and equipment. The second morning its off to the water and practice, practice, practise.... I was very surprised during the first morning class work to find both Chuck and Virginia had no problem understanding the basics of this rather complicated sport. In fact Ms. Duffy was one step ahead of me all morning and possessed a natural grasp of all the tiny details one must understand. The second day began with Chuck consistently making thirty-thirty five foot casts right where he wanted his fly to land. Mr. Champion has natural casting ability and will do well with alittle practice. Virginia managed to entice several trout to follow her streamer (Fallon Slayer of course) all the way in as she became adept as quickly as I have ever seen! In fact these two savvy easteners were perhaps the fastest zero to competent students I have ever had. It is nearly impossible for novice beginners to truly grasp the skills needed to actually get started. The dexterity one needs to learn proper knot tying can scare away many would be fly fishers. Then of course learning to cast can be far more daunting then imagined. In my fly fishing life many have been called and few chosen to stick with this complicated sport. This is why I salute Chuck & Virginia two American Sportsmen now equipped with basic fly fishing skills ready to catch fish. If any of you roaming fly fishers run into these two eastern charmers, give them a big hug for me and watch how they both cast like old hands.
The real joy for me was the time spent shooting the breeze with these two down to earth successful outdoorsmen. Chuck and I seem to grasp the undulating spasms of contemporary pop culture with the same talons. Virginia was a delight and could be very funny with her tales of life in marketing biz. We seemed to communicate on the same wave length when it came to our pets and life in general. Thank you Chuck & Virginia two American kids doing the best they can enjoying life and taking time to dip their toes in California sand. Those seeking more info about Access Magazine contact phone 781-453-3990 or on the web www.accessmagazine.com.
Casting for recovery
This outstanding national breast cancer recovery program has touched my heart and soul. CFR provides an opportunity for woman with breast cancer to experience physical, emotional and spiritual healing through fly fishing retreats in wonderful natural settings. Founded in 1996 this non profit group has been offering recovering woman a new approach to exercising sensitive muscles and tissue via fly fishing movements and gentle casting. I love this concept and have for years advocated the spiritual healing aspects of the sport. In their brochure one quote stands out for me
"It has something to do with peace, contentment, and soul-satisfaction, and the realization that for a moment, at least, nothing in the world matters" Corey Ford .
The atmosphere at these retreats is most peaceful and nurturing ending in evenings with a fireside chat and recap of the days adventures. Students are encouraged to seek their own comfort level, each retreat has a health care professional and a psychotherapist on sight. The idea of melding streamside peace and quiet with the easy rhythmic motions of fly casting hits a high note on anyones healing piano. Seline Skoug M.S. Executive Director along with Susan Balch Program Director and their highly competent staff have created an oasis of healing calm.
It has been my own personal experience spending time all over the world throwing flies. One can easily forget whatever it is pressing upon the spirit while listening and feeling all the sensory effects waiting within the magic realm of the water gods. Those recovering woman who may be feeling isolated and abandoned will not be disappointed contacting CFR. Within the loving, nurturing confines of these retreats recovering woman can breath easily and share with each other their individual goals and dreams. CFR is not just about fly fishing by any means. Participants have related that have come away with much more then hoped for. Some hope for a cure, others for improved management of their disease, others simply wish for the gift of more time...
If you have anyone in your circle or in your family with breast cancer, I urge you to make a call to CFR and provide alittle love and fly fishing as part of any recovery strategy.
Orvis the renown fly fishing company has announced a $50.000 matching grant and others are strongly urged to consider their own gift within reason. I will be issuing regular updates on coming events and anything related to this noble cause. Those seeking more info contact Susan Balch at 1888-553-3500 or on the web www.castingforrecovery.org.
23 Marlin in one day!
Fantastic fishing tales are not uncommon in the world of outdoor writing. In fact in my life many stories that have filtered down have proved to be wishful hopes and dreams of what fishermen either imagined happened or the fine dust of time has obscured the truth. Mike Steirs owns a successful recreation vehicle company in Bakersfield California. He is an avid outdoorsmen who has owned a beautiful luxury estate in Cabo San Lucas for many years. This Vietnam Vet has fished all over North American waters and has thrown lines into the most productive aqua south of the border. Mike knows the difference between a fairy tale and a credible sea story.
The area near Magdalena Bay about 150 miles north of Cabo on the Pacific Ocean side of the peninsula can be at times one of the most Marlin infested areas on earth. On this particular trip December 6, 1995 Steve Lasley skipper of the fishing yacht Mirage knew the waters like the inside of his boat. Because of the variety of seasonal current changes notably the merging of the tropical Davison current and the Southward California current, which produces nutrient rich water for an abundance of hungry baitfish. The sheer numbers of Striped Marlin migrating from the south and west congregating just outside the bay were mind boggling. Skipper Lasley harkened back to those great days "Its the truth you know, we probably fished 20 days that year and released 255 marlin. I have had guys who fished their whole lives and after experiencing this sensory overload of too many marlin to count, Were spoiled as they had days never to be imagined!" Mike Steirs started out that day looking for Wahoo and then the clouds parted and there they were floating inside a 25 mile zone absolutely jammed with marlin. Mike says "Man, I could have thrown hotdogs and hooked these fish!" The los Angeles Times ran this story and it has become legend down Baha way. Now these boys were not over at Sammy Haggars Cabo Wabo throwing down Margeritas all night, They are simply among those fishermen whose charmed lives allow them to experience extraordinary moments most outdoorsmen only dream about.
It is a sight which never leaves dedicated blue water fly fishers a huge pod of Marlin slamming into "Meat Balls" or gangs of baitfish as there called down south. The waters actually boil and as a lifelong fishermen Mike Stiers is a lucky guy and he knows it "Man, when I think about how much fun we had that day, 23 marlin and arms so sore, had trouble lifting a brewski. What a sight, we had double hookups and more excitement then words can describe." We tip our hats to you Mike Steirs, one of the chosen ones...
Those who have faithfully followed my monthly column are aware of my undying reverence and love of fine handmade Bamboo fly rods. In my sporting life I have the supreme privilege of owning and using Bamboo made by the legendary godfather of modern Bamboo, Walt Powell. I have fished with Mr. Powell and had the honor of carrying his near perfect 4-5-6 weight Bamboo from Alaska to California. My past adventures with Bamboo include trips to Alaska after King Salmon carrying Winston Bamboo fashioned by the master rod maker Glenn Brackett. Glenn has been making many of the finest Bamboo rods I have ever seen. In this rarefied master craftsmen realm another solid Bamboo artist comes to mind from the town of Fall River Mills. James Reams is known to have magic hands that can build from scratch or repair Bamboo as well as anyone alive. These fellows are at the top of the Bamboo making hierarchy. Last year I got the bright idea to FAX ten of the leading Bamboo Rod makers and see if any of them might like to lend me several of their very expensive Bamboo Rods to go after King Salmon light tippet records in Lake Marie Alaska. Glenn Brackett of Winston Rods was he only guy to say "Sounds great Dan, how many Bamboo rods do you require?" Those rods all seven of them were put to the toughest tests imaginable. In a weeks time I had hooked and played many Kings in the 28-45 pound class and those Winston Bamboo Fly Rods never failed. Within the mysterious confines of world class fly fishing Bamboo made well and fished hard is still the weapon of choice for every fly fishing maniac I know.
The 27 time Vogue Magazine Cover Girl and Estee Lauder spokesperson Karen Graham. Whom I wrote about last year (see article) has revered Bamboo and became a featured fly fisher in the prestigious Bamboo Fly Rod Magazine run by a good friend Mark Metcalf.
Mark is a Bamboo warrior of sorts in as much as his excellent magazine raised the bar when it comes to all things relating to fine Bamboo. Mark and I have worked on several projects around Bamboo and I hold him in high esteem. Famous sportsmen from Bing Crosby to Clint Eastwood have used Bamboo. The Hollywood sports set and many world leaders, ex American presidents have all used and cherished this almost mythical fly rod. Why exactly is that you may be thinking ? Bamboo a natural grass like plant grows in or near good water. The ability to translate the slightest movement straight to your heart & soul has captivated many who have fly fished with fine Bamboo. In my world the finest equipment has always played a role in the excitement of the sport. When I uncork any of my Bamboo Fly Rods and catch that first hint of old world varnish and feel the perfect balance. Its the best way to begin a day on the water. Those of you who wish to sample the very finest in graphite, take a look at my signature custom fly rod series created by famed rod maker Ira Stutzman up next in this update. I have asked our new President George Bush to accept the first rod in the series. I would love to fly fish with him and discuss my feelings on our great open spaces.
It gives me great pleasure to announce the honor bestowed upon me by the world renown fly rod maker Ira Stutzman owner of Hells Canyon Custom Rods" out of Oregon. Ira has been making special exotic wood handled fly rods for many years. Ira has made custom rods for President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn. The company has never offered this signed limited edition rod series to any other fly fisher, I'm truly humbled and urge all interested sportsmen to read my field test review of these artistic, yet fully functional works of art in last months column. Only 100 rods will be built and are offered as follows: Each rod is serial numbered and will include customers name with inlaid Chucker Feathers. Each rod comes complete with a balanced J. Austin Forbes Reel and Airflow Fly line. The rods will come with a special custom high grade leather case with brass cap. The cap will be engraved with customers name and serial number of rod. The rod is offered as a 7 foot 3 inch 3-4 weight- 3 piece graphite, with special Nickel Silver ferrules and hardware. A perfect traveling small stream rod that can become a hand me down treasured heirloom. This rod casts as well or better then any rod I have ever used and its quite special. If a customer would like another weight or length or any other special consideration? Ira will build to suit on request. The price is $2250,00, for more info contact Ira Stutzman at (541) 742-4828 or click on his web sight at www.hellscanyoncustomrods.com.
BEGINNER FLY SCHOOLS
Those who have been calling and E-Mailing me in regard to either my Yosemite fly fishing school this spring or the Shingletown school. Can get more info and exact dates by contacting the world famous Yosemite Hotel Inn B&B at (800) 317-3244 and speak to Lynn. The Shingletown beginner fly school is held at the tranquil WestonHouse B&B, contact Angela at (530) 474-3738 or on the web www.westonhouse.com. These beginner class's are two mornings, I provide everything except a license. Contact Dan Fallon at (415)332-3803 for more details. Both of these schools are also geared specially for woman who wish to enter this hallowed ground...
Written by Dan Fallon, June 2001 ©
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