The right way to do it wrong

In most cases, rules are there to protect us. In fly fishing, the key is understanding when to break them. Dry flies are supposed to be fished on a dead drift, but nothing has caught me more fish on a particular spot on the Stanislaus River than swinging dry flies – particularly a Griffith’s gnat….

Gearing down for mountain water

I approached from down river. Behind a mess of branches twisted next to a stump, a few trout were taking flies off the surface of the slow-moving Stanislaus River. It was an easy cast, but one that had to be precise. Sierra Nevada trout don’t like to see thick, green fly line three inches above…

Camp 9 part II

So after bragging to my buddy Kurt how good the fishing was yesterday despite the crowds, I convinced him to come up for a return trip. We proceeded to lose nine fish between us, some big, some small in a whole bunch of interesting ways. Three times I hooked up long enough for the fish…

Fishing for the right attitude

At about two on Sunday afternoon I was writing the ‘skunked’ column in my frantic, frazzled head. The previous day, the sky was spitting rain and blowing my roll casts back in my face. But I caught fish. It was new water, and until it started raining, there were other fishermen in good spots, but…

Things aren’t bad at all

California has problems and when it comes to solving them, no one gets along. Fortunately the Golden State offers a reprieve for those who chose to pursue a slimy remedy – trout. I’ve spent a good deal of my time fishing the closest river available (Stanislaus around Knights Ferry) with occasional longer trips east into…

Thinking logically can make little sense

When a relationship is over, (even if before it really gets traction) there are specific reasons or logic cited in the closing arguments. Or at least there should be. Trying to articulate why things happen in fishing is far more complex. Last week a friend and I got into a lot of fish right off…

In sickness and in health

If you’re like me, a cold messes with your head before it infects it. You can feel it coming on. All of a sudden there’s a streak of discomfort with every other swallow. There’s pressure on the lungs and behind the eyes. So you ask yourself, “Is this day one?” Or did you miss symptoms and…

Of phones and Facebook

To understand fully the quandary I faced Saturday, I’ll have to volunteer that the first time I remember my cell phone ringing while fishing was in 2007. I was trout fishing on the Klawock River back home, where reception is spotty at best. But the call made it through and lit up my pocket. Though…

You need more than one

I set the hook on the heavy brick, but after a turn down river, the rod went limp. I stripped the line in and roll casted in the same area. I didn’t see the nymph make any sort of plop, so I reeled in to find that my black bird’s nest was gone. I recalled…

Face to face with a skunking

I could feel it deep down in my fisherman soul. Apparently it showed on my face too. High noon plus two hours had passed Monday and I had no trout. I know it’s not all about catching fish. There have been lonely, troutless afternoons and cool, bright mornings without salmon, but the beauty of those…