Fly-Fishing Gurus

Every year in April, the City of Waynesboro Virginia hosts a Fly-Fishing and Wine Tasting Festival.  Nearly all of Virginia's wineries--the good and not-so-good--set up tasting booths for the festival.  Fly tiers, fishing shops, and guides from the East Coast gather under one tent to hawk the latest gear, fly patterns, and travel destinations.  However, various conservation groups are well represented, including Trout Unlimited and the Coastal Conservation Association.  

After three straight years of attending the event, I have discovered that most of the fly-fishermen come on the first day to browse the latest fly patterns and work out casting kings.  Most of them--including myself--ooh and ah at the presentation of the Alaska Voyage, but blanch at the price of $5,000 per-week.   The second day is filled almost entirely people attracted to the wine-tasting, some to enjoy the wine, others to get drunk.  All in all, a pretty good time.  

This year, a good friend and I attended a casting clinic by Bob Clouser.  For those unaware, Mr. Clouser is the inventor of the Clouser minnow, a yellow and green minnow pattern used for everything from bass to sailfish.   The method of casting he teaches emphasizes linking the shoulder and arm together when casting to develop more power with ease.  To me, it seemed more suitable for salt water, but watching Clouser cast 100 feet in less than 10 seconds was pretty amazing. He also has become a bit of a celebrity amongst fly fishermen.  One of the students in our class exclaimed, "Bob is just so amazing, this class has changed my life."  My friend said, "well, the class was nice, but this guy must have not done much previously." 

Waynesboro's goal with all these activities is to make the local South River a major fly-fishing destination.  Unfortunately there are a number of problems with this idea.  First, to put it mildly, the South River is an "urban fishery."   There is a DuPont Chemical Plant on the river responsible for mercury contamination.  The water also has a disgusting smell to it that stays on your waders and boots for weeks.   Second, the local population is decidedly hostile to fly fishers.  People yell shit at you from the bridges.  There are also homeless people under the bridges who have been known to chase fly-fishermen into the water.  One guy I know who fishes there claims that the "hobos don't like to swim."   Third, and most disturbing, Aryan Nation and Klan graffiti decorate concrete walls near the river.  After seeing these, I decided to never fish there again.  While its a noble idea to turn a post-industrial town into a fly-fishing destination, I just do not see it happening.  

The Return

After a couple of months absent from the blogosphere, I have decided to return.  While I do not like making any excuses, April was a busy month for me.  I had the oral examination for my Ph.D in U.S. History.  The exam is two and a half hours of questioning by four professors.  After the exam,  I did some hard-core fishing and as my friend Alex would say, "chillaxing."  

My buddy Adam and I went up to Waynesboro for the Virginia Fly Fishing Festival.  We took a casting class from Bob Clouser, checked out the new gear, new flies, and sampled some wine.  Wine and fly fishing seem a natural, but pretentious, pair.  

 In May, I returned to Salt Lake City for two weeks.  After the obligatory check-in at Western Rivers, I found out that most of the rivers were blown out from runoff.  But my brother Jesse and I had a great time fishing Huntington Creek, a tailwater 3 hours away.  

After returning in June, I started bass fishing in Virginia and in July, I made the annual pilgrimage to the Green River back in Utah.  More on each of these events in posts to come.  For now, enjoy the nice picture of a Green River Brown. 


Obama the Fly Fisher

While campaigning in Montana, Obama expressed interest in fly fishing.  He said, "This is some pretty country.  I think I need to learn fly fishing, get myself some waders."  A local man who held up a "Trout for Obama" sign was ecstatic about the news.  I've always thought that those who enjoy fishing and hunting better protect the resources and the outdoors.  Then again, Dick Cheney is a fly fisherman. 



This past weekend I had the opportunity of fishing twice, once at the Conway River and once at the North Fork of the Moorman's.  At the Conway, I got some small 6-7 inch brown trout.  An interesting finding considering the rumors that have been going around at this river.  According to local fly shop legend, the Department of Fish and Game removed all the brown trout from this river two years ago in an effort to replenish the native brook trout population.  I brought my findings to local TU President Chubby Damron.  Chubby just smiled, went into his truck and showed me a picture of a 22 inch brown he had pulled out of the Conway.  Apparently the stories of brown trout removal were just rumors. 

The next day I headed up to my usual stalking grounds at the Moorman's River.  A local boy scout completed an Eagle Scout Project by improving streamside access and building a mulch path leading to the river.  The path will help handicapped people access the fishing at Trout Unlimited events and saves some bushwhacking through briars.   The North Fork was fishing very well this weekend.  I fished downstream, swinging olive wooly buggers to pick up some very nice brook trout.  I caught the largest one yet in the stream, a nice 12-incher.  May not sound like much, but a 12 inch brook trout in one of these mountain streams is a veritable monster.  The reservoir at the bottom of the Moorman's also had great fishing.  I picked up several nice brookies on wooly buggers.   Sorry, no pictures.  I was fishing by myself! 


The Boise Trip Part II

The day after the films, I went fly fishing at the Boise River running right through downtown Boise.  After attending some conference seminars in the morning, I headed off to a local fly shop called the Idaho Angler to buy some flies and a license.  As usual, I got lost en-route and had to stop at a local bike shop to ask for directions.  Much to my surprise, the bike shop owner was an avid fisherman.  Noticing my fly rod and reel, he asked, "Bro, is that a Sage?"  "Do you have a Lamson?"  Laughing, I explained my preference for Scott rods.   "Bamboo is the best anyway," he responded.  The guy gave me directions and some advice for fishing the Boise River.  

After arriving at the fly shop, I got some supplies and chatted with the guys about the local fishing.  They told me that though Idaho does not get the same press as Montana, Oregon, and Utah, the trout and steelhead fishing can be phenomenal.   Next time I'm there, I will be sure to fish the Owyhee, which is supposed to be similar to the Green River of Utah.  This trip, I only had a chance to fish the river in town. 

Though I did not catch anything in two hours at the river, I could tell that Boise was a fishing town.  Between the film audience, the bike shop owner, and the plethora of fly fisherman squatting over the prime water, it seemed as if everyone in the city fished.  

The Boise Trip Part I

Finally, the long awaited post on Boise, Idaho.  The trip began rather inauspiciously.  My friend Andrew and I spent over 3 hours in Washington, D.C. traffic on the way to the Baltimore airport.  Driving my pickup truck, a manual, in stop-and-go was not very fun.   We finally arrived at the Grove Hotel in Boise at 1:30 am, only to find out that the fine establishment had given away our previously reserved room.  Though "it was a policy he disagreed with," the attendant explained that the hotel purposely overbooked rooms to plan for cancellations.   The Grove decided to put us in "murphy bedrooms," box suites overlooking the local hockey stadium.  

The first day I attended all the conference events, trying to schmooze with other historians and learn from the presentations.  After the second day, however, I got a chance to attend the Fly Fishing Film Tour.   My father, who was also in Boise attending a conference, joined me.   What surprised me most about the event was the level of enthusiasm.  Over 200 people, ranging from young kids to retirees, attended the event in a stadium style movie theater.   It was a very different age range than the skiing films I have attended.  Only a few of the films were shown in their entirety.  River Poets and Equilibrium documented the threat posed by the Pebble Mine to the ecosystem near Katmai National Park.  The film tour also showed the trailer for Red Gold by Felt Soul Media.  I heard some boos when the preview showed the mine's spokesman trying to defend the enterprise.   If you have not done so already, please take action to stop the Pit Mine at www.savebristolbay.com.  

Something else that impressed me about the films was the focus on conserving wild species. In fly-fishing's history, this sentiment is very recent.  During the 1920s, for example, game managers at Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park replaced the native greenback cutthroat with introduced rainbows and brook trout.  Anglers from the East favored these species over the natives.  The AEG Film River Wolf features fly-fishing for the largest trout species in the world--the Taimen.  Taimen are only found in Mongolia and can grow up to five feet long.  Destinations covers an expedition into Slovenia to catch Marble Trout, a rare pearly white species.  Hopefully these films will cultivate angling interest in native species  so that they are not replaced by imports or harmed by habitat loss.  


No Fishing :(

Unfortunately no striper fishing occurred this weekend.  Out of pure stupidity, I planned the trip going out of Norfolk Virginia when I wanted to fish in the D.C. area.  Between torrential rain and the prospect of a three hour drive, my friend Mike and I decided to bag it and try again in May.  Our guide, Tommy Mattioli, was kind enough to let us cancel.  

In other news, I will be leaving soon for the Environmental History Conference in Boise, Idaho.  While there, I will visit the fly fishing film tour and report on what I see.  Hopefully when I return to Charlottesville, the brookies will be out in full force.  The streams have been helped by the recent rain and warm weather.  


Striper Fishing

I'll be leaving the computer at home for a three day weekend up with my friend Mike in Washington D.C.  We will be fishing for Chesapeake Bay stripers all day on Sunday.  I'll post pictures and stories when I return late Sunday night.  Hope everyone is enjoying the nice weather! 


Rapidan River

Today was the "day off" between my comprehensive exams for a Ph.D. in U.S. History.  Given that I wrote about Herbert Hoover yesterday, I thought it fitting to go fishing today at the Rapidan River.  Hoover, upon assuming the Presidency in 1929, wanted to set up a retreat to escape Washington D.C heat and politics.  As a fly-fisherman, the Rapidan was a natural choice.  The river was and is cooler in the summer, devoid of mosquitoes, and full of brooktrout.  Hoover frequented the area and built a luxurious cabin near the headwaters.  I called up my friend Paul after handing in the first two exams and headed out.

With temperatures in the high 60s and sunshine, the Rapidan was gorgeous.  The fish are still a bit lethargic.  I had the best success dead drifting weighted nymphs upstream and swinging soft hackle while fishing downstream.  Since the Rapidan is only accessible by a fire road, I had a chance to try some off-roading in my pickup truck.  It was pretty impressive.  Tomorrow, I return to the exams. 


The Moorman's Solution

This evening I eschewed cocktails at a friend's place to hear the Rivanna Water Authority describe their new plan for Charlottesville.  Almost all the people who attended the water meeting were over the age of 65.  The scene reminded me of the polling place during the Virginia primary election.  Old folks have the time and interest to engage in issues affecting the community. It would be great if more people my age could could get involved.

The long-term Charlottesville residents told me about some of the changes that have happened to local rivers over the past thirty years.  Tremendous growth has put pressure on existing reservoirs and the Water Authority has had trouble planning for the new developments.  Some developers have not even informed the water authority of new housing sites.  Another problem is the lack of rainfall.  As one Trout Unlimited member said, "It just used to rain more."  

The Moorman's River has suffered from the lack of rainfall and increased demand.  It used to "roar" every Spring, but now just has enough to survive.  The river dries up in the summer and all the fish stocked in the winter die.  At the presentation tonight, however, the Rivanna Water Authority issued a plan for the Moorman's restoration.  No, the Sugar Hollow Dam will not come down, but the new goal is to equal "in-flows" with "out-flows."  This means that flows coming in from the North Fork of the Moorman's will equal flows heading out the bottom of the dam.  A small concrete barrier in front of the dam will come down, also increasing flows.  

The new plan is contingent on the enlargement of a dam at the nearby Ragged Mountain and a new pipeline connecting Ragged Mountain to the South Rivanna River.   Basically, the Water Authority is enlarging the capacity of one area to relieve the Moorman's.  Hopefully the plan will be completed while I am still in Charlottesville.  Charlottesville and the folks living in the city needs to come up with a plan of sustainable growth to ensure that water resources remain intact. 


A Little Practice

I have been rather lackadaisical with posting the past ten days or so.  I owe my friend Rob a post on hunting and I wanted to do a piece on the fly-fishing industry.  These will have to wait. Two excuses for this laziness.  First, I've got a rather nasty cold.  Second, I have my comprehensive exams coming up this weekend.  Four 8-hour exams to determine if I can move on to the dissertation stage of the Ph.D. process. Bleah! 

Anyway, I just got back from a run and some fly-casting.   I'm trying to fix my wristy-canted cast into some tight loops.  I've got a pretty sick double-haul, but my fundamentals are shoddy.  I'm also perpetually annoyed by all the people who say "Catch Anything" when I'm practicing outside. They all think they are so original and clever.  My friend Nick, out in Utah, once said in response, "Just Your Mother's Crabs ..."


Fishing at the Moorman's

Today my friend Paul and I went to the Trout Unlimited section of the Moorman's River just outside of town.  The future of the river is going to be a hot topic in the next few weeks.  Trout Unlimited will be meeting with the Director of the Rivanna Water Authority to see if the dam above the river can be removed.  At the very least, it would be nice if the dam released more water.  

Fishing today was pleasant.  The past few days have been sunny and warm, but today the temperature dropped down to the 40s.  Some trout were feeding on midges coming off the surface, but did not seem to enjoy my imitations.  I switched to a trusty hair's ear nymph and hooked a nice rainbow.  A local streamer that called a "Christmas Tree" also proved effective.  

Fish cannot resist the hair ear nypmh

Paul with the first rainbow of the day.  This catch was awesome.  We saw a fish about 7 feet in front of us.  Paul cast a nymph 20 feet upstream and let the fly dead drift down.  The fish moved into position and chomped when the fly arrived. 

The author with a shiny rainbow 



7 Reasons Why Fly Fishing is Better than Golf

I used to be delusional.  There was once a time, 5 years ago or so where I thought that golf was fun.  I took lessons, bought all the fancy gear, practiced a lot, and played some rounds.  My father even took up the game despite previous lampooning of "gophers."  Sorry dad for bringing the game home.  Each time I played, the only fun was masochistic pleasure at my own inability.  For a while, I convinced myself that if I only I practiced more, received more lessons, bought more gear, I could get better.  Then I just realized, why not go fishing?  Thus, the top seven reasons fishing is better.  Please send me more.  

1) A lot of golf courses are not environmentally sustainable.  Think Phoenix. People see the Masters on T.V. and want their home courses to look just as green.  Thus, managers take water from shrinking rivers to give the annual three feet per cubic foot required.  They also spray pesticides and herbicides all of the place.  A planned golf development near the Yellowstone River in Montana is using irrigation to draw water from this famous trout stream. 

2)  You do not have to pay hundreds of dollars a day to go fishing (usually--there are some ridiculous "rod fees" on some rivers). 

3) Beer can be kept cool in the river

4) This guy is not a fly fisherman:

5) What is more exciting, tying into a 6 pound Brown Trout or hitting a shank into the woods? 

6) The excitement of  fighting a huge Jack Crevalle can last for 20 minutes.  Even a 275 yard bomb will land in under ten seconds. 

7) Hitting bad shots generally leads to a bad golf round.  Even if your not catching fish, standing in a river and enjoying the natural surroundings is great. 


The Conway

I went fishing at the Conway River today.  The Conway flows down  from the Shenandoah National Park to just outside the town of Stanardsville, Virginia.  Unfortunately, despite wonderful temperatures and overcast skies prompting a hatch of blue wing olive mayflies (BWOs for all you fishermen), I did not catch a single fish.  I did not even see trout feeding on the naturals.  The only fish I did see were some large suckers feeding on the bottom.  

The Conway was the subject of some controversy a few years back.  Word got out that the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) was going to remove all brown trout from the river in order to rehabilitate it for native brookies.  Local fishermen had some debates at Trout Unlimited about whether this order was appropriate.  A few weeks later, rumors went around that the VDGIF and removed "hundreds" of browns, "big ones too."  Though later denied by our local Trout Unlimited President, I found myself wondering if there were any fish left in the river.  This summer's drought certainly did not help. 


No More Romney

Today, after a substandard showing in Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney dropped out of the race.  Why should fly-fishermen care? Romney, like many others on the right, has made a business in climate change denial. 

 First, the oil and coal industry with some Republicans told people that science was inclusive about how the earth was changing.  All assertions otherwise were wrongheaded attempts by "liberals" to issue regulations and control people's freedom.  Second, they told people that the earth was not warming, it was cooling.  Right now, the current line is that the earth is warming, but humans are blameless.  The presence of scientific disagreement is taken as "proof" that climate change is only a "theory."   This tactic is absurd.  Any high school science student knows that a "theory" is an explanation of an event confirmed by repeatable experiments.  Hence, the "theory" of gravity.  

Nevertheless, former House Majority Whip Tom DeLay claimed on T.V. this evening that there is "absolutely no scientific evidence to show that humans are causing global warming."  Where has Tom Delay been?  In February 2007, a report by 600 scientists from governments, academia, environmental groups and business claimed that the evidence of human-based climate change was "unequivocal." Trout Unlimited, hardly the bastion of radical environmentalism, released a study explaining the effects of global warming on cold water trout populations.  The news was sobering.  

Bull Trout populations will decline by 90% in the West.  Salmon and Steelhead species may decline by 40%.  Out here in the East, native brook trout populations in the Appalachians could also decline by 90%.  Worse yet, the Brookies would be replaced by warm water species such as Bluegill.  

It is high time for politicians, Republican and Democrat, to take notice of this issue and stop sticking their heads in the sand.  I hope that with the success of John McCain, global warming will cease to be a political football and our elected "leaders" will come up with solutions to it.  



The other day at a local fly shop (the evil one, but that's for a later article), I tested out a new type of line by Scientific Anglers called "Sharkskin."  Unlike most fly lines Sharkskin has a textured feel to it that the company says make the line float longer, reduce friction, and allow both for better roll-casting and distance casting.  Since I tested it in a parking lot, I cannot comment on the flotation or roll-cast ability.  The line did shoot farther than anything I experienced both with a Scott G2 and a Sage Z-Axis.  Nevertheless, I have several quibbles with it.

1) When going through the guides, the line has a hissing sound just like a pissed-off cat.  I am not sure I could get over it.

2) The texture of the line feels harsh at times.  I tore up my hand on a smooth line fishing for a week in Baja.  I would hate to think what this line would do to me.  Stripping glove are probably a must when using it. 

3) This comment is pure speculation, but I worry that the textured line could pick up dirt and grime.  My lines got filthy this summer when fishing for bass.  I could imagine that the Sharkskin could be worse. 

4) The $100 price tag.  While the fly line and fly rod are the most important pieces of gear in your arsenal (besides a good attitude), this seems a bit excessive.  The top end Rio line is $64.95

Fly Fishing Film Tour

A whole new set of fly fishing films are coming out for 2008.  You can check out the website at www.flyfishingfilmtour.com.  After looking at some of the previews, I was most intrigued Fish Bum I: Mongolia, Equilibrium, and Fishizzle.  Fish Bum is about fishing for Taimen, supposedly the world's largest trout, in Mongolia.  I am not sure, however, that Taimen are the largest.  Steelhead, after all, show almost no genetic variation with rainbow trout.  Which is bigger, a British Columbia Steelhead or a Taimen?  Someday when I have more money and time, I will find out for myself.   Equilibrium is a film about the Bristol Bay Pebble Mine and features Gary Loomis, the founder of G. Loomis Rods who now dedicates a lot of his time to conservation efforts.  Finally, Fishizzle looks like an entertaining take about fishing in Alaska.

Luckily, while I am at the Environmental History Conference in Boise, ID, the Fly Fishing Film Tour is there.  Hopefully I'll be able to dodge an awkward dinner with fellow academics to see some fishing.  Maybe next year the tour will come out to Charlottesville.  


Fly Fishing Films

This past Thursday night, I showed The Hatch to the local branch of  Trout Unlimited.  

The Hatch is a film by Ben Knight and Travis Rummel of Felt Soul Media, a new video production company. The Hatch along with The Trout Bum Diaries, by AEG Entertainment, started a new type of entertainment in fly fishing.  Previous films mostly showed old men teaching people how to fish in boring detail with classic music playing in the background.  These new films remind me of the "new school" skiing films by Matchstick Productions, TGR, and Poor Boys.  The Hatch tries to capture the excitement of a salmon fly hatch on the Gunnison River in Colorado.  Knight and Rummell also interview several of the people fighting to protect the river's water supply from thirsty farms and booming suburbs.  The focus is on the environment and the fishing with first rate cinematography.  Though only 20 odd minutes, the film is highly engaging and worth watching on a big TV or projector. 

When the movie started, I wondered if the other members of Trout Unlimited would enjoy it. As a friend pointed out, I am about half their age.  It was a big success.  They all loved it despite the colorful language in the film from a Gunnison Guide.  Roger, a TU member, used the opportunity to show the group some pictures  from his trip to Colorado.  These new films have the potential to do to fly-fishing what the new skiing films did to skiing; attract younger people to the sport and push it into new paths.  The films by Felt Soul Media add another dimension, however, using fishing and beautiful images to protect areas from the destruction.  Their new film, Red Gold, comes out in May 2008 and explores a proposed mining project in Alaska's Bristol Bay.  

Report from the Moorman's

The North Fork Moorman's River today was cold but had a surprising amount of water.  The fish did not want to take anything that I had to offer, but I had fun teaching a friend how to cast and enjoying the good weather.  There were some small mayflies coming off, probably blue-wing olives, but the fish did not eat any of  the naturals.  

The Trout Unlimited section of the Moorman's is not in good shape.  The water is very low and and frozen in some locations.   The dam above it was not releasing any reservoir water.  A local conservation group used to pressure the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority, the group in charge of the dam, to keep the river going.  In drought conditions, they rarely oblige.  Here is a link to an article from 2002: http://www.readthehook.com/Stories/2002/09/19/newsTrickleDownTheMoormans.html

The dam itself should not be there.  The water from the Moorman's flows into the Rivanna, where yet another dam is.  One wonders why the Water and Sewer Authority needs two dams, when the Moorman's does not provide power.  


Trip to the North Fork

This Saturday will my first time fly fishing in Virginia this year.  The fall was simply atrocious.  Drought conditions kept many of the mountain streams in Shenandoah National Park low and according to some folks in the UVa Department of Environmental Science, killed a significant amount of trout.  Even my old stalwart, the Trout Unlimited section of the "Moorman's River" was unfishable.    Due to the drought, not much water was released from the reservoir above.  Why there is a dam here is worth a post in itself.  

I will be checking out "North Fork of the Moorman's."  This river has some of the best brooktrout fishing in the area and involves a nice 2 mile hike.  I have seen black bears, deer, and all sorts of birds on the North Fork.  A sign at the start of the river explains to visitors that "no trout have returned" since a flood years ago.  May everyone cherish this illusion.  


Report on Mexico

Friends, I spent a week in Baja California earlier this month.  Though I have been going there since 1994, this recent trip was the first time I brought a fly rod.  In the winter of 2006, I went surf fishing with spinning tackle and dead squid on a trip organized by the hotel I stayed at. The short trip produced a rockfish.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, rockfish are poisonous critters. When I showed the fish to the hotel "fun guide," he took the hook out and handed the thing back to me.  Seeing its spines, I asked him, in spanish, if the fish was dangerous.  "No worries, meing," he replied.  

As I took the fish back to the ocean, the thing skewered me in the hand.  Soon enough, my hand turned the color of the ocean and puffed up like a balloon.  The pain was excruciating.  If you are ever in this situation, I found out later, stick your hand in hot water immediately.  Better yet, do not go spin fishing with bait.  The fly fishing Gods certainly have punished me for my transgression.

This year, contrary to the advice of my brother ("Stay away from the ocean fish dude"), I decided to try fishing again.  My folks gave me an Scott A2 8-weight paired to a Lamson litespeed.  The first couple of days I casted off some rocks to areas where baitfish collected.  After working at this for a while, I decided that blind casting was ineffective.  The only fish I caught was a toothy looking "Gar."  Another fly-fisher I saw, however, was catching a ton of yellowfin tuna with a spey rod.  He actually broke his rod on a roosterfish. The man was guide from Florida.  So my failure may have been due to differences in ability!  

A few days later, when walking on the beach.  I saw a strange sight.  A stingray jumped out of the water and then suddenly, the ocean erupted.  A school of Jack Crevalle began a feeding frenzy on small silvery baitfish (Mullet??).  They forced them against the shore, attacking after the waves crashed.  My brother ran out into the surf and the fish darted in and out of his legs.  I rushed back a half-mile to the hotel, ran to the room, and grabbed my fly rod.  All the crank-baiters did the same.  I tied on a big silver Enrigo Puglisi fly and started casting, placing a 40 foot cast behind where the Jacks were feeding.  Stripping back as fast as I could, a 25-pound fish took the fly about 7 feet from my feet.  The Jack proceeded to take the fly 100 feet out in the ocean.  The fight was on.  This fish was the biggest and most power I had ever seen, let alone caught.  I gradually brought him back into 15 feet, despite the stupid ducks (cormorants?) cutting across my line.  When we looked each other in the eye, the Jack cut to the side.  All of the sudden the line went slack.  I let some expletives and looked at the end of my leader.  The knot had slipped.  

Despite not landing the Jack or getting any pictures, my brother and I decided that it was a "catch."  Only the locals brought in fish, using soda cans, raw tuna, and fishing line.  When fighting the fish, I had put down my pliers behind me.  When I turned around again, they were gone.  A woman said a drunk guy in a trucker hat made off with them.  One only knows why she did not bother to question him.  Earlier, my reel case had disappeared when I was fishing.  The thiefs, I bet, were fellow tourists.  

Two other thoughts about Mexico.  First, Mexicans and the average fat-American do not know what fly fishing is.  Many times folks walked behind me while I was casting a size 2/0 clouser.  They only bothered to ask while going in front of me to "see if I had any lines out."  Second, fly fishing guides are sparse in Baja.  The only "fly shop" I found offered trips where, the attendant assured me, only "minimal casting was necessary."  She told me that the boat captains threw out chum to attract dorado, marlin, yellowfin, and roosters.  Then one could just cast fifteen feet into the frenzy.  My dad and I looked at each other and left.  In all fairness, the shop could probably "accommodate" those who actually wanted to fly fish. 


Thomas Jefferson Trout

I decided to start this blog to write about fly fishing and life in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Though I grew up in Salt Lake City Utah, the past six years have been spent in a multitude of places.  First, I went to the University of Oregon and spent a year there.  For some reason, I decided to transfer to U.C.L.A.   After graduating in 2005, I started graduate school at the University of Virginia.  Through all the moving, studying, and adjusting, I had little time to fish.  

 When I got settled in Virginia, I walked into a fly shop near UVa.  When I said I was from Utah, the attendant sniffed and explained that the "fishing out here was not as good as out west."  He was wrong.  The streams in the Shenandoah National Park are beautiful and teeming with wild native brook trout. My good friend Paul, a native of upstate New York, showed me the in-and-outs of these streams.  An hour away, spring creeks offer challenging fishing for big browns.  The fishing is not "worse," but different.  In fact, I have spent more time on the water here than in Utah.  Fly fishing is not about catching the most and biggest fish.  Otherwise I would just use dynamite or electro-shock tools.  Fly fishing is about enjoying--and more important--understanding the natural environment around you.  It is also about the feeling of casting and spending time with close friends. 

This blog will have articles on many different aspects of the fly fishing world.  All too often we avoid politics, when the resources we enjoy depend on active engagement in the political process.  Therefore I will post my views on issues affecting the fly fishing community and what elected officials are doing about them.   Second, I will publish comments about the future of fly fishing as a sport and business.   I am increasing disturbed by the "wal-martization" of the industry.  Yet, I am pleased that the values of conservation and equal access are becoming more widespread.  Less serious, there will be posts on gear.   My brother says that I am a "gear-whore." Though the happiness of acquiring new stuff soon fades and material desire wreaks havoc on budgets, I cannot seem to avoid it.  I enjoy learning how rods are constructed, how reels work, and new advancements in technology. 

Let me know what you think.  This blog is a new endeavor.  I hope that I will keep up with it.