Sunday, July 29, 2012

I Like Big Bugs... and I Cannot Lie! Part 3

July 12, 2012
What an evening! I feel like I've been in a trance for the last two hours. It was 95 degrees at 5:00 PM. The water was low and as clear as gin. I had to be super sneaky. It seems ridiculous, but it takes a lot more energy to move slowly and with no noise. To roll no rock under your foot, to splash no water, to not trip on a long mat of moss or stumble on some unseen snot-slick boulder requires more energy and muscle than to wade more casually. But absolute silence and stealth are essential for success with big fish especially under these conditions. If you fail, even for a a moment, and make a  mistake, you've likely blown an entire riffle and its runout. In these clear water conditions, it's easy to know when you've blown it. A 20+ inch brown or rainbow hightailing it for a weed mat or sprinting for the next run downstream drops your shoulders and pulls a quiet "shit!" from your lips! 

I raised two fish tonight... two fish in two hours... only two.  There were no other swipes or rises or heart stopping misses. Only two swirls in two hours. Both fish were 22". Both were deep strong males. Both required a curve cast around a bend to a deeply cut bank upstream. Both ate like assassins! Both were all worth the effort... worth the attention to  silence. 
I love big browns... I love big bugs! 


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ragged Island Bonefish Video

From Ragged Island comes this short bonefishing video. If you're looking for pristine and untouched, Ragged Island and the Jumento Cays to the north is it! This area hasn't been fished in a couple years and offers the most pristine fishery in the Bahamas. For more info, call 800-211-8530.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Destination X: Northern Bahamas Trip Report

A month ago, we published the trip report by Doug Jeffries on his June 9-16, 2012 Destination X Live-aboard exploration in northern Bahamas with the Water Cay Lodge Guides. To refresh your memory, this is how we described Destination X in that posting:

There are those seductive spots on the map. Those hard to reach, off the radar areas that have fishing like the way it used to be. For much of the year due to weather concerns and/or fuel costs, these spots are usually beyond the reach of guides for day use. They are remote, pristine and rarely fished... and why Destination X was created. We wanted to get to these areas on a limited basis and then keep our mouths shut about exactly where they are. Angling Destinations ( has always wanted to get off the beaten path and offer our clients unique angling opportunities. It is in this spirit that we offered the following Bahamian adventure. On this trip we wanted to explore one of best fishing areas in the Bahamas. In the past, we have camped on remote cays in this area (yes, the names shall remain unknown!). This year headquartered aboard a live-aboard catamaran the Destiny II. We employed two of the best guides in the Bahamas, Sid and Ezra Thomas. 

Now we have a report on Curt Killar's trip the following week June 16-23, 2012 as reported in the Richmond, Virginia Times-Dispatch. Here is a link to the story by Andy Thompson in the newspaper published July 22, 2012:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ladyfish Video from Ragged Island

Ladyfish are the poor man's tarpon. Ragged Island has several spots where these great fly rod gamefish are found. While not as strong as their brethren, they are like a cross between a tarpon and a bonefish. Ladyfish jump like crazy and are a hoot! While not the marquis species on Ragged Island, there are found consistently and man do they pound the fly and jump. They'll give baby tarpon a run for their money! 
Click here for the video from You-Tube: Ladyfish Video

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I Like Big Bugs and I Cannot Lie... Part 2

July 1, 2012:
I like big bugs / Part 2
Today was one of those classic summer hopper days:
It was in the nineties with no wind. A few wispy cirrus clouds were seen thru the sweat and sunscreen that was dripping into my eyes. Today was a typical big bug, mid-summer day. The creek was low and clear. It was the kind of day that you commit to stealth and an accurate cast or go home. Days like this are both both easy and hard. Easy because of the huge flies you use, hard because of the fish you fish for. On a big bug day:

There is no squinting at tiny dries. There is no changing to a #20 blue dun on a baetis hatch so you can find your fly in the reflection of a white billowing thunderhead. There is no fumbling with fingers to put on a #22 parachute Adams so you can see your fly in the shadows from streamside willows. There is no searching frantically to find your little fly in a sea of tiny naturals during a blanket hatch. 

Now you tie on a short leader with a 3X tippet. Now you just throw on a Chernobyl, a tarantula or one of 6 billion hopper patterns and have at it. When the fly hits the water you can see it... there are no struggles to find it. You don't have to worry too much about your presentation. A sloppy, slapping entry sounds just like a hopper blown into the creek from streamside grass. You can get lazy when fishing big bugs... maybe casual is a better word.

Today was one of those days. It was a day of big bugs and big trout including this 24" monster that was nosing up into a very shallow riffle. His tail broke the surface briefly in the riffle. This is how I spotted him. This simple clue helped me immensely for if I had not seen his tail, I might have spooked him with a cast made just downstream of his position. But now I knew where he was. I threw a # 6 olive hopper above him and let it drift a few feet to his position. Even as big as the fly was, it was still hard to seein the sharp reflected sunlight of late Wyoming afternoon. The big buck brown made it easy though. He slashed at my big fly throwing a plume of whitewater that caught the sunlight in a hundred bright droplets. If I'd missed this take, I would officially be an idiot. The big brown jumped twice in a foot of clear creek water, then powered downstream. I chased him hard with my 4 wt. held overhead. I struggled to keep up. Eventually, he sought cover under a mat of weeds. I spooked a big snapping turtle when I netted him inside the weeded mat. He was a fish to remember... one brought to you by a Wyoming summer and big bugs...

Did I mention I love big bugs!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I Like Big Bugs and I Cannot Lie... Part 1

In Wyoming, summer has now reached it's apex. The days are long and often hot. The grass is deep and the deer are sleek because of it. Life is slower now, easier and without the edge winter brings on its icy shoulders. Summer in Wyoming is pastoral except for when rain clouds organize from perfectly clear skies. Soon massive roiling thunderheads send flashes of brilliant white light into the mountains and roll thunder out into the grasslands. After the storm, the winds die quickly. After an afternoon storm, the sun soon pops out to ride a blue sky. If the storm rumbles through at night, stars soon shine brightly in an atmosphere cleansed by the storm. In either case, the only reminder of the storm are tiny flashes of light on the horizon and the rich smell of ozone in the now humid air. It is then that you can hear the earth exhale while the plants drink from the rains. Life is good, life is easy... it's summer.

For the angler, life is easier too and all on the surface if you want it. While baetis, pmd's and caddis hatch during these months, it's the big bugs that make this time of year special. Hoppers, cicadas, crickets, damselflies, beetles and other assorted huge arthropods fatten the summer trout. The biggest trout take up the best lies next to cutbanks or in the shadows of the willows. Here, they can remain hidden, but can also snatch any big bug that is blown from the tall bankside grasses or falls from the bushes. The trout are not shy in grabbing these protein-rich offerings and their imitations. The take on a big bug is violent and thrilling. These moments with big flies and big trout ARE summer for a trout fisherman in Wyoming.

What follows is a multi-part series presenting big days with big bugs for big trout. I'll post them as they occur. I hope you enjoy them. Next is Part 2.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fishing with Anna

My good friend Anna Riggs visited us in late June. Anna, her husband John, and I have traveled around the world together having been to the Bahamas, Mongolia and the Amazon. On this visit, Anna fished with us for six days and got to explore many of the private ranches in our area. Anna and I got to fish together two days. One day we fished for cutthroats in the Big Horns and the other day we fished the Hole-In-The-Wall area near Kaycee, Wyoming for rainbows and browns. We had great weather and terrific fishing both days. 

On our Kaycee day, a strong breeze had fanned a lightening strike into a full blown forrest fire. In the morning the smoke scratched at our throats and cast a weird rosey light on the river. By mid-day the smoke had cleared, but by late afternoon a shift in the wind brought the smoke again, this time in even thicker waves. The fire was annoying, but effected our fishing NOT one bit... we caught dozens, hell scores, of feisty rainbows and solid browns. We were on fire (not literally)!

The bigger fish held in the shadows and occupied the better lies. Every run presented a new puzzle to solve and new water to read... 

We used big terrestrial patterns... harlequine hoppers, chubby Chernobyls and Turks Tarantulas. It was a the perfect summer day! The kind you dream about in February...