Sunday, January 30, 2011

Out of the Snow into the Sun

Sammy and I are in SLC waiting for our flight to Baja. Things are lookin good! It's likely I won't have internet most of the week but I will do reports day by day when I can even if its when I get home!

We Made it

January 30, 2011 PM

It’s bedtime so this report will be short and sweet. We're in Lapaz at a hotel. That’s about three hours south of where we wanted to be tonight. Grant Hartman picked Sammy and me up at the San Jose Los Cabos Airport promptly at 3 PM and we hopped in his truck and headed straight north. Our intentions were to drive 5 hours up to Ciudad Constitucion. Well, let’s just say we didn’t make it.

Nothing bad happened, no flat tires or engine breakdown. However, it looks like I’ve hit another election day (Remember the Election Day in Zanzibar back in November?). I’m not sure who Leonel is or what he’s running for but we got caught in stop and go traffic of cheering, honking, banner holding citizens that were voting for Leonel. Even with Grants Nascar racer like passing maneuvers we lost at least two hours. At sunset (which is at 6) we were driving through La Paz and decided to call it. All three of us were exhausted and driving in Baja at night is a big no no. So instead of completing the drive to CC we got a hotel and Sammy took us to a great restaurant called Buffalos Bar-B-Q where we devoured fresh souchie and huge steaks. Now I’m so tired I probably won’t be able to sleep but I’m ready to try. We’ll be up early in the AM and hoping to fish by noon. Life is so damn good!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Glad to be Home

After rolling in late Tuesday night from an intense three week show circuit I was glad to put my feet up in my own house, drink some pressed coffee and watch my hungry birds (these are Evening Grosbeaks) indulge after a period of empty feeders. When I left on January 5th it got light out at 7:30 AM but now it gets light at 7. The best thing about a busy January is that it flies by and the cold dark days are gone before you know it.

I dragged on my bird watching for about two hours then the relaxation ended and I was back at it. I don’t mean traveling already, but rather unpacking, answering emails and calls, paying bills, shoveling the driveway (thank goodness for Granny!) and the list goes on and on. You know how it is when you are away from home.

Today, I’m nearly caught up and I’m packing for Baja. Yes at the and of every tunnel there is light and on Sunday morning I’ll be catching the early one for Salt Lake City where I’ll meet Sam Vigneri. Then we’ll fly to Cabo and by 3 PM we’ll be headed up the coast of Mexico with Grant Hartman to fish for a week.

Huge surf and cooler than normal water temps have thrown a twist in our trip. What was planned to be a hunt for giant Pacific Snook has turned into a hunt for fishable water and take anything you can get. But that’s fishing and ok with us. I’ve been working like a dog and Sammy always does, so a break from work and getting out of the cold is all we really need. My kind of blogs coming soon!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Somerset NJ Fly Fishing Show

This past weekend was the Somerset, New Jersey Fly Fishing Show. Somerset is the largest fly fishing show in the world. Hundreds of exhibitors including fly fishing product manufacturers, travel companies, lodges, guide services and even fly shops were there. Worth mentioning were Simms, Rio and Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures, all companies of which I’m lucky to be affiliated with. There were demonstrations and seminars given by big time fly fishing celebrities such as Gary Borger, Steve Rajeff and even Lefty Kreh. Amongst these legends of the sport were another 20 or so well known anglers and fly tiers.

This year marked the 19th anniversary of the three day show that always begins on Friday and ends on Sunday. I was there to speak about warmwater and saltwater fly fishing, a couple of my favorite topics. My talks are done as PowerPoint presentations and using photos I explain the equipment and tacti
cs I use for various fish species followed by pictures of big fish that you can catch when everything goes right. I have an assortment of pictures of not only big fish that most fly fishers are familiar with but also several unusual ones that many in my audience don’t even know exist until I put them on the big screen. In my saltwater show a huge roosterfish always stirs the crowd while in my warmwater presentation I show the giant tigerfish of Tanzania and I get to laugh as everyone in the audience nearly faints!

Between my programs I sat with the local fly tiers and while they tied gorgeous flies I painted fish. I finished up a greenback cutthroat watercolor I started two weeks ago while at the Denver Fly Fishing Show. Painting attracts the shows wandering visitors to my table to watch and then I hand out my business cards and hope to generate future art business and speaking engagements.

Show highlights always involve running into old friends. Dan Swift and Evan Schwanfelder, two former fly shop employees of mine, spent hours at the show. Dan even hung around for dinner with Granny and me. Also, one of my college pals, Danny Zilker stopped by for a visit.

As fun as the shows have been, I’m ready for a break. Granny and I are presently between Detroit and Salt Lake City on our way back to Victor. We fly into Jackson Hole around 10 PM and we’ll get home late tonight. I suspect I’ll be shoveling before I can get the car in the driveway. I’m not looking forward to that.

I have a lot of work to do in the next few days from artwork to final organization of the Brazil trip I’m hosting in March. The good news though is that Sunday I’ll be headed to Baja for a week of fishing with my pal Sam Vigneri. Stay tuned as I promise I’ll be blogging about fishing instead of working here soon!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Marlborough, MA Fly Fishing Show

The long anticipated show season is screaming past fast. My schedule always appears grueling on paper but I enjoy the shows and they always go by like lightning. In just a few more days the biggest fly fishing show of the year, Somerset, New Jersey, will be behind me and I’ll be in Idaho packing for Baja.

Marlborough, Massachusetts Fly Fishing Show was excellent. It wasn’t enormous crowds that made it so good but rather the quality of the visitors. I had excellent attendance at my seminars, sold a few books and handed out a bunch of business cards. Granny helped and had fun meeting folks and even picked up a few distance casting tips from my friend Michael Mauri of Germany.

Granny and I are presently enjoying the snow of New Hampshire with my family on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. I just wish I had my ice fishing equipment! As I mentioned last time, there’s not much to mention in the way of fishing right now, but in less than two weeks I’ll be chasing snook off the beaches of Baja. Be ready to some exciting reports!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sneaking Around a Blizzard

Granny and I were on the first plane to land after the blizzard this week that tore up New England. We landed at the Manchester, New Hampshire airport at 8 PM on Wednesday night. New Hampshire was absolutely buried in fresh snow. Many areas had as much as 20-inches of fresh powder! Then we drove two hours up to Wolfeboro, New Hampshire to my parent’s house. This is where Granny and I will base out of for the next two weeks while I give presentations at the Marlborough, MA Fly Fishing Show on January 14-16 and the Somerset, NJ Fly Fishing Show January 21-23.

With deep snow everywhere, Granny and I couldn’t help but get out and play today. My sister Becky and her husband Don took us
to Castle in the Clouds. While the three of them snow shoed I cross country skied. In one word, it was “epic!” I mean seriously, the snow was as good as it gets and the snow drooped white pines and dormant oaks and maples were as beautiful as ever. It’s great to have the opportunity to explore all parts of the USA in the prime of winter.

Tomorrow morning at 5 AM Granny and I will drive for the
Marlborough, MA Fly Fishing Show. Although I’m not giving any presentations tomorrow, Saturday I speak on Saltwater Fly Fishing and on Sunday I’ll speak on Warmwater Fly Fishing. It should be a fun weekend!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Show Season is Underway

Show season has begun! I apologize for the lag since my last post, but for the next two weeks blog entries could be few and far between. I’m in the heat of the moment right now doing seminars, entertaining, painting, and promoting my art. Although it appears as if all I do is fish, every year at this time I work like a mad man for three straight months (Actually I’ll sneak to Baja for the first week of February to chase Pacific snook!).

I’m just back from the Denver Fly Fishing Show. The show was fantastic but now I’m beat as heck. Rather than fly to Denver like I normally do, I drove so I could bring more stuff. I left for the 10 hour drive early Thursday morning and arrived in Denver at about 6 PM. The next day came fast and soon I was setting up my table to display all my stuff ranging from my coffee mugs, books, Simms T-shirts, Gi-clees and even some of my original artwork.

The show ran Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Each day I gave presentations. On Friday I presented “Four Seasons of the Yellowstone Trout Bum” to over 170 people. On Saturday I spoke on Saltwater Fly Fishing and on Sunday I did a fly casting demonstration. The show aisles were packed on Friday and Saturday. I’ve been doing shows and speaking in Denver for nearly 20 years so I know a lot of folks. It seemed like every time I looked up there was an old friend. On Sunday a significant snow storm ripped through Denver and it definitely lessened the traffic. Nonetheless, it still was busy enough to make the day worthwhile.

The show ended at 4:30 PM and by 5 I was doing 35 mph on an ice covered I-25 heading for home. It was the road conditions of nightmares but I had to get home to repack and get ready to fly east for the Marlborough Fly Fishing Show that starts Friday. Luckily by the time I got to Laramie, Wyoming and I-80 heading west the roads were good. I pulled in my driveway this morning at 4:25 AM absolutely exhausted.

The show was a great one. People showed a lot of interest in my art and I had a blast doing my presentations. I also had lots of fun during and after the show hours with my friends. I have a lot of pals down the Denver area that I don’t see enough of. One of my personal highlights was spending some time with Dave Whitlock. Dave told me about his recent trip to Bolivia for golden dorado and I shared my recent adventure to Africa for tigerfish. Dave also spent about a half hour giving me one of the finest autographs in my Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods book that anyone could ever ask for.

I have a busy week ahead with travel east, fine-tuning presentations and some art projects. I doubt I’ll be able to blog again until early next week after the Marlborough, Massachusetts show. There’s good news as far as fishing goes however, I’ll be headed to Baja to chase snook and other cool species the first week of February. This means we’ll have some exciting blogs to look forward too in less than a month!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year - 2010 will be Hard to Beat

It was a daunting task writing a story about every single day of fishing in 2010. There’s well over 100! I have typed away at my computer at least some 300 hours this year for my blog alone!

Is blogging worth it? I often ask myself that, especially when I should be working on my art or sorting and editing photos from recent expeditions. Granny thinks I’m crazy because of the hours I put in. She’d like to see me do more with my art or write another book or worst, get a normal job. She just doesn’t see the value in a blog.

Last night I was piecing together a PowerPoint presentation about my trip to Canada back in June. I used several cameras that trip and found it difficult remembering the order of events. Numerous times, I used my blog as a reference. Before I knew it, I read the complete day by day account of the trip and found myself completely reminiscing. It was pretty cool. And because I enjoyed it so much, I’ve decided I’m going to continue with the blog even if Granny thinks I’m nuts. I just hope the rest of you enjoy the reads also or she's right again.

About a week or so ago I asked what were some of the favorite blogs of 2010. Although I didn’t hear enough feedback on my question, I did get some.

Hands down, the favorite blog of the year was “The HF Marathon”.

The close runner up was "The Unknown Specie and a Monster".

And third was "Tiger Island and Mikey's Bar".

Third through fifth were all close so I’ll tell you that "Everything but Roosters" was fourth and "The Moment of Truth", one of the most memorable fishing days of my life, was fifth. I just think I was too tired to write it as well as it happened.

For now enjoy theses stories that were top fishing days of 2010. Although I’m busy as heck getting ready to hit the pavement for the rest of the month, in the next few days I’ll try to organize pictures of the best fish of 2010.