Sixth Sense or Chelada?

So this past weekend I had a chance to get out on the water with two friends, Baron (3B Fly Charters) and Jarid (JM Fly Fishing).  Since I moved to Houston, Baron and I have gotten to fish together frequently and he’s one of the best anglers that I know and fish with.  Oddly enough, even though I met Jarid about five years ago when we were both living in south Louisiana, we had never fished together so I was pretty stoked to get out with him and Baron both.  I knew with two great anglers on my skiff, we would be in for an epic day.

Our plan was to get out for a half day and try to whack some fish and then head back to Jarid’s family’s house for a fish fry with the spoils of our outing.  We met at Jarid’s in the morning and crushed some scrumptious breakfast tacos Jarid had picked up to start the day.  I was already liking Jarid’s style and I immediately knew two things.  One was that we would definitely fish well together and the other was that he must take his Mexican breakfast experience to the next level.  Little did Jarid know of the rich sustenance in which Baron and I indulge at the start of each of our fishing trips.  We launched the skiff and rode out through West Bay and it was time for us all to bring our Mexican breakfast to a higher level.  Of what do I speak, you might ask?  That’s right, I speak of none other than the 25oz bud light chelada.  Yes, the bold, full bodied beer bloody mary with just the right amount of clamato twang is a staple in our fishing diet, giving us the strength to pole and fish the flats all day in any condition that mother nature might throw at us.  We popped open our cheladas and Jarid quickly gave his approval.  And thus with the strong nutrient of Mexican breakfast filling our bellies, the tone of the day had been set.  With a new energy and and a healthy buzz we made our way into the marsh in search of redfish.

We rode deeper into the marsh, killed the motor and Baron started poling an area that I’m not entirely familiar with.  Jarid inched forward towards the bow of the skiff and said “there are schools of redfish here, I can hear them”.  I thought to myself yes, that’s the type of optimism I like to surround myself with on the water and I shared in his optimism, especially following our excellent breakfast, that we would find many fish in the marsh that day.  Ahh yes, the redfish are calling… I day dreamed and sunk into thoughts of schools of redfish sucking down our flies.  Then as I saw Jarid look around and say “over there” and point over 100 yards to the other side of the marsh lake I realized that he was not just day dreaming of schools of redfish.  “Yeah, I see the shrimp popping”.  He had actually heard a school of redfish on the other side of the marsh.  Now was this the result of a sixth, super sense or fish sense if you will?  Or possibly the consequence of an epic Mexican breakfast involving tacos and cheladas, yielding strength to an already strong sense of hearing and sight?  That is the question I chose to pose to on this blog today because I cannot answer it.  While I have experienced the awesome power of a chelada early in the morning, my senses have never been so heightened that I could sense the presence of schools of redfish hundreds of feet away.  All I can say is that it was one of the most impressive things I have ever seen.  Baron pushed the boat as quickly as he could as Jarid pointed out what neither of us could see or hear yet and then when we reached within 40 yards we saw what Jarid had long ago sensed.  Shrimp were popping as a school of 6 or so redfish chomped down the shore line.  I threw the fly out in front of the school and waited for them to approach but then wait, something happened and they veered off course and I was not in the strike zone.  I tried to turn quickly to fire off another cast and then Jarid said, don’t worry, another bigger school is coming.  I wheeled around and another school was approaching down the same shoreline, chomping and with shrimp popping in front of them.  Jeez, this guy’s fish sense is ridiculous.  Baron positioned the boat and I fired a shot just ahead of the school this time not wanting to miss the opportunity and hooked up with a nice marsh fish immediately.

The result of Jarid's sixth sense... or chelada...?

The result of Jarid’s sixth sense… or chelada…?

The man with the sixth sense ( ...I see red fishes... )

The man with the sixth sense ( …I see red fishes… )

 

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Baron in a Mexican standoff with a bay fish

 

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Just another day in the marsh…

All in all it was a great day on the water topped off by an awesome fish fry with great company.  Z came over, we fried fish, played frisbee and enjoyed the rest of a beautiful day.  Jarid’s family’s hospitality and cooking were amazing and while I have a tremendous amount to reflect on an be thankful for in that day, my mind keeps going back to dwell on just one thing… Was it a sixth sense or do I need to start pounding more cheladas?

Count Down to LA

Sitting around tying some flies on this breezy day for the upcoming trip to the marsh in November.  We are pretty fired up about getting out there.  Here’s a quick time-lapse video from the keys earlier this year, along with some of the back end of the craziest shallow water snapper session ever.

 

‘Glades and Gatuhs!

Ok, it’s been a while since I’ve posted any updates so I think a catch up post is overdue.  We’ve been down to the to the glades now twice and had a few trips in Galveston in between.  The fishing in the glades has been pretty good.  Most of our fishing has been with friends and family and we haven’t been getting out and chasing the fish with the fly rod very much, but it’s been pretty fun.  Usually this time of year we would be mainly focusing on the outside islands. We have been doing that, but also we’ve been fishing some smaller water and little creeks and it’s paid off with tons of baby snook and tarpon, which are some of my favorite fish to target with a fly rod or light spinning gear.  Summer time is always good fun running from storms and hitting the outside islands when it’s just too hot to not get in the water and cool off a bit.

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A little dock side tarpon action. Z’s favorite past time.

 

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Hanging out on the beach with a typical summer storm coming in.

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Trout in the little wood river.

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Micro tarpon in a micro creek.

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Baby snook action on the fly… always a good time.

The fishing in Galveston has been great for some, but it seems like every time I get a trip out it’s blowing 20 in my face and we don’t have much luck.  I am really starting to come around to this fishery though and have been enjoying it more and more.  My buddy Baron and I were out one day and seeing plenty of fish but as soon as the rod would come back to get a back cast out the fish would spook and blow out from 40ft away.  We poled around and managed to get spooked out fish or refusals on all of our flies.  Then I told Baron, you know I have never caught is a really big trout… at home we call those Gator Trout.  Of course that instantly stuck, well you know because it’s just a hilarious thing to say in your most redneck voice.  As Baron or Amos or whoever he was at this point and I poled down the flat talking about huntin big ole gatuh trout a monster materialized right in front of the boat, and I mean maybe 15ft.  Baron placed the fly in without spooking him and stripped a few times and hooked up maybe 10ft from the bow of the boat.  All I could think to do was scream Gatuh Trout!!!!! as loud as I could repeatedly for the next 5 minutes or so as we wrestled the fish to the boat.  We pulled her out and I continued to do the only thing I could think of which was scream gatuh trout at the top of my lungs.  We began guessing her size and weight and maybe the alcohol influenced this but neither of us thought to use the scale on the bogo grips (which I had boated the fish with) to lay that question to rest.  Instead we decided to measure a fly rod against the fish and later determine that it was somewhere about 29″ in length and then guestimate size somewhere from 8.5-9lbs based on that.  Oops.  Didn’t change that it was a monster and definitely the biggest trout I had been involved in catching.  Have a look for yourself at this big ole gator!

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Dat righ der is one uh dem big ole gatuhs!

 

“Rivers know this: There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

When Bill called after Christmas and asked , “how’s late April for you?”, I figured maybe the family was gonna be down in the area for a visit.  But when a text came through from Billy with dates that would work for all of us to get out to Klamath Falls, Shannon and I were pumped.  So I let the boys know that I wouldn’t be able to be there at the Key’s Spring Equinox trip this year, for the first time since it’s been a tradition in 2006.  But as luck had it, the weather was shit during that time period, and we booked for May instead.  So off to Oregon!

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Fort Lauderdale Airport getting hammered by storms

Our flight at 6:05am was delayed for an hour and a half because of this storm blazing through most of Florida that day.  So we missed our connection in Houston to Portland.  We got off the plane as our connecting flight had finished boarding and they wouldn’t let us on, even though our plane was still at the gate.  I got a text from United stating they were aware we missed our flight and they had booked us on the next flight to Seattle, then on to Portland.  That wouldn’t work as we were to be amtrak bound from Portland to Klamath at 2:30pm that afternoon, and we wouldn’t arrive until 4:30pm.  We began the bargaining process at the gate we were to board to Seattle on.  The lady there told us that our luggage made our original plane and would be sitting in Portland for us when we got there.  There’s no way that was possible, but she insisted.  At that point, I was parched and a bit pissed.  So Shannon and I found a restaurant and ordered up a cocktail and began texting with Billy Z. Aka the Marshian ‘Bob Loblaw’.  He got on the computer and found that if we could get to San Francisco before 9:30pm, there was a flight to Klamath at 10:15.

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So we got on the San Fran flight, AND our luggage mysteriously materialized and actually followed us all the way to Klamath Falls, where we finally landed at 11:15 pm or so, which meant we had been traveling now for 24 hours with no sleep.  But it was nice to have landed in a 24 or so seat plane with Billy parked at the front door of the airport and no one else around.  I guess I hadn’t thought about it prior to that day what it really took to get to where the Z’s live!  Loblaw cracked open a cold Deschutes Red Chair upon arriving at the house, and we bs’d for a cpl hours before a hard pass-out.  We spent the next day sleeping in a bit and touring around Klamath, getting the lay of the land.  Late in the day Shan and I borrowed the van and cruised out to some roads around Klamath Lake.  It was nice and clear out, and there was some good views.

Mount McLoughlin, about 30 miles West of Klamath Falls, OR

Shannon put together a deletable baked ziti for dinner which we crushed by a fire in the backyard.  We emptied a bottle of vino and a few beers before we crashed out, needing to be up around 4:30am or so to follow our guide across the mountains to fish the Rogue River in the morning.  The plan was to fish for steelhead, and the guides rod was rigged with a ‘sindicator’ (which is a bobber) and a long length of leader to a stonefly, and another drop down to some other small fly.  Nymphing.  I hate it.  It’s not much fun to throw, and if you do catch a nice fish you are guaranteed to have a bobber photo bomb in the picture.

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Somewhere, lies a bobber

While I completely understand it’s a must go-to for fishing deeper, fast moving water (well I’m learning, anyway); if given the choice, I’ll go dry fly fishing every time.  That being said I live in Florida, and only get to do this type of fishing every once in awhile, so sling those sindicators I will.  Fishing was pretty slow in the morning, with a few missed bites while getting the hang of drifting the rig properly again.  The Rogue River was very beautiful as it meandered through forest and residential areas.  A few fish were caught on the indicator rigs, but they were very small.  Around mid-day, we anchored up off a fork in the river where the current laid down a bit, and gave it a shot.  While we sat there, flies began to emerge and soon they were everywhere.  Small trout began rising on them, and finally we got our chance to switch things up and throw some dry flies.

We were pretty happy about putting away the sindicators!

We were pretty happy about putting away the sindicators!

I watched a fish rise 2 or 3 times before I slid the fly in and watched it drift through the zone, and the nice little cutthroat did what it was supposed to do.  Unfortunatley it came unbuttoned boat side, but it got the next couple hours going.  Loblaw and I caught 4 or 5 each the rest of the day.  No trophies, all small.  And only one photo, the first one I got to hand on a dry.  After Al’s trip to Chile, it’s not even post worthy, but it’s a first!

Fishing dries is a blast

Fishing dries is a blast

It was a fun day on the water.  It had it’s downsides of not being able to switch up ends on the boat, and no getting off to stretch a little, but all in all it was a fun trip.  Our guide was great, his name was Brandon and he fishes in the fall thru spring and whitewater guides in the summer.  Bill and I did decide after the day, we’d plan our next trout fishing trip around throwing dries..

Loblaw spots a riser, he fed a bunch...

Loblaw spots a riser, he fed a bunch…

The Rogue

The Rogue; Most of the day was spent under heavy clouds, and a majority of the photos had to be processed to get some light and color into them.  Finally, the sun broke through…

The next 4 days were spent hiking at Shasta-Trinity National Forest and the Lava Fields in northern Cal, Lake of the Woods and Crater Lake in Oregon.  The views we had out there were stunning, and the hikes were definitely memorable…

Crater Lake, OR.  Simply Breathtaking

Crater Lake, OR

Shan and Chris on the snowshoes

Shan and Chris on the snowshoes

The Z's and B's.  what a great trip, thanks guys!!!

The Z’s and B’s. what a great trip, thanks guys!!!