Well the feast is over and the second half of the holiday madness has begun. After filling my gullet with enough turkey to last me a year and picked up where I last left off.
Headed out yesterday for the first time with Ryan Accursio. We have been talking about heading out for a while to do some peacock fishing. He has a gheenoe and barely ever gets any bow time. The plan was suppose to go peacock fishing but the weather was too good to pass up. I had to work that day, so we only fished until noon. We met up at Dion’s and made our way to the park. Once at the ramp we launch the gheenoe and noticed it wasn’t as calm as the predicted. We first started looking for tarpon but no luck at all. We moved into the flats to search for redfish as the sun was coming up. We kept on spooking fish probably because the sun was not high enough and the reds were not tailing. We hit up couple of areas, it was not the best day in the park but still managed to catch some fish before noon. All pics of me were taken by Ryan.
This Holiday weekend was awesome. I had 4 days off work and finally got the chance to take out the Diablos out on the water. All of my fishing trips start with Djing at a club on friday nights and getting no sleep, well thats exactly what happened. As soon as I finished Djing I head out to the Glades solo. The winds were blowing hard but I didn’t care I just wanted to fish. I mostly just went to take some pics and toss the long rod for a bit. On the way to the Glades, Warren spotted me in the side of the Road taking pics. I didn’t know who he was until he pulled a U-turn on the 2 way street. I was like what are the chances that he is out here. He told me he was fishing on Matt’s boat. We parted ways and I started to do some fishing. I caught some snookies but I only had one of my good snook flies and lost it to an oyster bar and that slowed down the action for me. Earlier that morning I had called up Rich Jones, to see if he wanted to meet up later in the day. Rich Jones is a Kayak Guide in the Glades you can check his stuff out at http://www.kayakfishingtheeverglades.com/. We met up and got some fish, tons of Snookies and some Tarpon.
First and for most I like to say happy holiday to everyone. Ok… lets get to the meat and potato of the blog. It always seems lately that mother nature only releases her tight grip and gives a day or two of fishable weather. With countless of hours checking and recheck weather apps expecting some spontaneous change and picture perfect weather only to have your hopes crushed and see the same dark blues and oranges indicators…. With that said I have had a few trips in-between the relentless wind and rain and of course the obligation that pay dam bills.
It always happens this way… with the random call from a good friend in this case Chris a.k.a Kent about braving the winds and jumping on a tarpon bite The Dj Dan and him had previous been on. I was reluctant at first but decided I needed a fix even if it meant high winds, cold spray and loss of sleep. Once there it only took a few minutes on the 9wt and I was bowed up and fighting for dear life to get it out of a class 3 white water rapid. Once out in the open and Kent operating the helm I began the ass whopping Clinic . Once I got my mits on this beautiful fish I made sure to work fast, took a few pictures only to get blasted by water with the fish racing out of my hands. Some left handed high fives after the escapade we started all over to get Kent on his first big poon on fly only to watch 3 get away.
It’s with much excitement that I bring you this, my first post, from a town called Port Hedland in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. More well know for its red hot summers, tropical cyclones and rich mineral wealth this red dirt land offers some of Australia’s best flats fishing. In saying that it’s far from easy, we battle big tides, soaring temperatures and 100′s of kilometres on the road and by boat, searching for new grounds. Very few are doing what we do and no one has done it before us. It’s fresh, seriously hard work but incredibly rewarding and that’s what keeps us here.
This video was entered in a short film competition ran by Recfishwest, the representative group and voice of Recreational fisherman. I was stoked and surprised for it to take out first place on the night.
I hope you enjoy it and I’m excited to be able to bring to you the amazing fishing that we have over here.
First of all let me say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I hope everyone had a nice time with their friends and family, I know I did. Anyways I was planning on going to the glades possibly do some fishing and take some pics with my friend Danny a.k.a Fat, who surprisingly didn’t have to work on Thanksgiving. We planned on heading out before the sun came up. That didn’t happen, I forgot to set my alarm so I ended up waking up at noon the next day. I walked outside and it was nice and cold. The sky was blue everywhere I looked. I was so pissed that we didn’t get to go out. I called up fat right away and told him we should have gone. I told Fat that maybe we had enough time to head out for a bit before Thanksgiving dinner. He quickly replied and agreed to going to the glades. My friend PK had called me, I told him that I was heading out in like 20 minutes. He had some plans already. As I was getting ready, I got a call 5 minutes later saying that the plans he had didn’t come through. PK met us up at the gas station with his girlfriend Dannette. He bought 3 dozen shiners and we were on our way.
Fall is here and because I’m not in the Cayman’s this winter, I am reminded of the temperature and “season change” here in south Florida. I have been up in Tampa for a few weeks and have had a great time spending time with family and old friends, and doing some fishing. My sister and I got to spend a great day catching everything from Snook to Bluefish in Upper Tampa Bay a few weeks ago.
The other day I got a call from Vince saying he had talked to some guy named Patrick, who wanted to come down to Miami to peacock fish with his girlfriend Rebecca. Vince asked to see if I can point them in the right direction or possibly head out with them. We exchanged number, chatted for a bit and came up with a game plan. Patrick lives in Daytona, which I thought it was crazy for him to drive over 4 hours just to catch peacocks. He explained to me that it was in their bucket list to catch peacocks. The weather looked iffy but we made the best of it. I was only able to fish the morning because I was extremely busy at work this week.
Instagram that Peacock!!!!
In 2008, I made my first fly fishing trip to the Great Lakes tributaries to target steelhead. I began with 7 hour trips to Erie and later branched out to the equally far Western Ontario tributaries near Oak Orchard. When I finally fished the larger water of the Salmon River, I knew that it offered a lot and was close enough for multiple trips. As the years progressed, the number of excursions began to increase into the high single digits. My fishing techniques began to vary as I branched out with switch rods and later spey rods. In the past two years, I haven’t fished any other water besides the Salmon, and almost exclusively swing flies or go home. Fueling my inspiration and sleep deprived ventures, was the thought of catching the “one,” a large steelhead of my dreams, which can be hard to come by in the non-native hatchery stocks of the Great Lakes.
The “one” captivated my mind whenever I thought of, fished in, or tied flies for steelhead. The “one” can be described as a twenty pound steelhead approaching the 40 inch mark. In other words, about as big as they get in the Great Lakes tributaries. A lucky few anglers catch these fish each year and a few adorn the walls of many a sports store. These are the fish that make you shake your head in disbelief, not because they are huge, but because they actually exist. It’s amazing that in the put and take, ethically deprived, and shoulder to shoulder culture of the tributaries, that a fish like this actually survived long enough to grow that large. The “one” is not the fish that the local dude at the fly shop showed you on his phone. You know, the guy that says he caught a 20 pounder, then shows you a picture where the fish is held out so far that his thumb is larger than his head. Those fish are usually in the 14-16 lb. range, which is pretty darn big, but not the “one”. The “one” is often described by Adam as containing enough qualities to garner the use of the quote, “BC shit”.
After three trips in late August and early September for kings on the swing, my thoughts turned towards swinging flies for steelhead. My venture began in late October on a two day bender in 1,500 cfs where I only hooked and lost one fish. After some car difficulties, I finally made it up again in mid-November where the flows had ballooned to over 2,000 cfs. The high water conditions perfectly fit my preferred style of casting, with a skagit head and heavier tip. I rigged up the cult classic Loop Yellowline 8124-4 with a Multi 6/9, Rio Skagit Max 575, and the new grip shooter. A little overkill for the typical Great Lakes fish, but on this day, I needed every inch of backbone and turn of the drag knob.
I was fishing a new section of river where it was hard to find a good spot to swing without going for a swim. About a mile from my parking spot, I only fished a few runs and missed a good take on a fixed hook bad hair day. After a long walk with zero places to hop in the water, I came upon a bank that was well worn and barren of any vegetation. There was trash and beer bottles in the woods and the overhanging branches looked like decorated Christmas trees. All good signs that the spot held fish. Mid-pool was a downed tree that broke up the water flow and fed down into a large tailout before emptying into a hundred yards of ripples and rapids to a pretty sketchy bend. I worked the entirety of that run three times from the bank with a 7.5 ft. T-11 MOW, before I decided to change up. There had to be a willing taker in that run, so I switched it up a little bit and put on 10 ft. of straight T-14.
As I perused the 100 or so options in my boxes, my eyes fell on an older fly that peeked my interest. As the only fly I was carrying that I didn’t tie, the pattern definitely stood out and called my name. Matted down and disheveled, the Paul Miller rhea intruder had never been used. It was given as a gift three years ago by an Alaskan guide friend and came from The Fly Shop in California where they ran for 19.95…each. It was too good looking to ever get wet and had always been passed over. It languished, buried amongst inferior patterns in the depths of fly boxes, wallets, and plastic containers. It’s prison sentence over, its time had come to go for its inaugural swim. I looped it on 4 ft. of 12 lb. maxima and had a funny feeling as I watched its action in the water. I took off my pack and laid it on the bank, but not before I grabbed my camera and forceps.
The cast and swing that worked is unique to the skagit style of casting that allows one to get a deep swing and a big fly in a tight spot. I gave a short cast upstream and into the middle of the run (directly out in front of the log) where there was a slower seam. I immediately mended upstream and let more line out of my guides. I elevated the rod tip keeping the skagit head off the faster water directly in front of me while my t-14 sank deep into the middle of the run. After a few seconds, I laid the head downstream of me and into the fast current to create a belly that would swing my intruder broadside through the gut. A second after my fly began its swing, I had the pull of all pulls.
I immediately felt several deep shakes before the fish took off over the tailout and into hell. My backing burned the inside of my fingers as I began a brisk trot down the bank. Halfway, I reached a major decision point. I truly thought I had snagged a salmon in the tail and contemplated breaking the fish off. I glanced back at my pack alone on the bank and then down at the brisk run I would have to wade into. A large log jam blocked my path that was partially submerged by the 2,000 cfs of water. My backing arched towards the logs as the fish moved towards the bank 200 ft. away. I had to move the line out of the logs and then over them as I trotted downriver. I climbed up onto the logs while saying a silent thank you to my korker’s jetty soles as they dug into the bark. I dismounted into a waist deep soft eddy and easily worked my way downstream until I could not wade anymore. I stopped at the farthest spot I could go. I turned my drag the last few notches and arched the rod. The first breach of my fish was just a tail, a good sign, but hard to tell with it so far away. The fish was about ten yards away from the next tailout and that sketchy bend. I could not let him go any farther, so I eased up enough to get him to come upstream. He thankfully obliged.
As the fish began moving upstream, I loosened my drag a little and began reeling in the line. I waited until the steelhead was directly across from me before I started to re-apply normal pressure. The second breach was completely out of the water. With the sun in my eyes, I just saw a long dark shape. My heart sank a tad as I realized I had a large late run salmon that missed the party. I took my time and slowly worked the fish into the soft water behind another set of logs. My wading had muddied the water enough that I did not see the fish until it emerged directly in front of me. When it did, I can’t truly describe the feeling that coursed through my veins. I can tell you that I began screaming incoherently and my legs began shaking uncontrollably. When my hand reached down and could barely grab the base of the tail, I squealed like my eight year old self on Christmas morning when I got Donkey Kong Country from Santa Claus.
After I released the largest steelhead I had ever caught, I went through a series of emotions that brought tears of joy. Several years and hundreds of hours on the road to reach steelhead takes a pretty heavy toll physically, mentally, and financially. During some work weeks, I returned like a zombie, only to repeat the entire process the next weekend. I lost track of the number of times I was shut out swinging flies as I slowly learned casting and swinging through simple trial and error. You wouldn’t believe the number of times I was low holed or had guides park their drift boats in the middle of my swing. I was the nice guy finishing last because I always went out of my way to not to get in the way of others. This fish erased any hard feelings and brought nothing but pure happiness. I sat on the bank for a good hour and just soaked in the only period of sun for the next three days.
I later remarked to Adam, that I would never catch another steelhead out of the Great Lakes like this one. I was immediately rebuffed, as Adam simply said, “it could happen on your next cast”. I guess thats Steelheading. You can spend days of your life with nothing to show for it and then experience ten minutes of glory that enlightens, inspires, and fuels a few more years of insanity. Days of casting, walking, and driving might bring you to a spot on the river where its simply the right time, the right fly, and the right swing. As steelheaders, we fish for those moments and revel in them when they actually happen. If you put in your time, you’ll eventually reap what you sow.
I got a call from Pk to do some peacock fishing. He said he was with his girlfriend Dannette and his Little brother Lared. As I hung up, I heard some rattling in the kitchen. It was my mom cooking some type of dessert. I asked her if she wanted to fish just outta pure randomness. Ive never been able to get my mom on the water with me. Some how I asked her enough where she accepted. I was so surprised, but so happy at the same time. I got my camera and we headed out the door. I met up with PK and soon the chaos begin. As we got there action was not hot but it picked up fast. We split up I stayed back with my mom and pk went ahead. I had seen a big tail not sure what it was so I told my mom to be on the lookout a little after that she was hooked up to her first ever peacock. It was a big peacock, the look on here face was priceless as the peacock started pulling drag. I yelled at PK and he told me Dannette hooked up with her first peacock as well. So they both caught their first peacock at the same time. All I know that this was my favorite fishing trip of all time because I got my mom to fish.
Here is my Mom with her first ever Peacock
Tripple Hook Up