One of the big challenges associated with finding fly-fishing in Asia is the lack of information available on the web. I am very lucky to have fished with series of fly-fishermen linked from one to the next throughout Asia, starting with my good friend Captain Keiichiro, in Yokohama, Japan. While fishing with Capt. K he informed me of his friend in Hong Kong: Lefty Hama. After having an awesome morning catching Giant Trevally in Hong Kong, Hama informed me that he had a fly-fishing friend in Singapore named Kelvin. It was as if the fly-fishing gods aligned to connect me with fly-fishermen from port to port while traveling on Semester at Sea‘s Spring 2014 Voyage. After a few email exchanges with Kelvin, we set up an afternoon to go fly-fishing for Peacock bass.

Some time ago, Peacock Bass, native to South America, were introduced into Singapore reservoirs by bucket biologists. Peacock bass are considered an invasive species because they compete with native species like snakehead, catfish, and Tiger barb . To anglers, they are a superb game-fish. Akin to Hong Kong, it is quite a commodity to have a quality fishing opportunity involving wild fish so close to a major metropolis.

After we arrived, my wonderful wife and I checked out a little of what Singapore has to offer

 

Hawker Center Singapore

Hawker Centers are popular among Singaporeans as common place to grab a bite to eat.

 

She handed me the coveted kitchen pass and I set off to meet up with Kelvin. We drove on the left side of the road (thanks to Singapore’s British Colonial roots) about 20 minutes into the jungle north of the city. After meandering up a winding road draped with high green canopy, we parked and hiked about 30 minutes through the jungle to a reservoir. Kelvin handed me one of his custom tied orange eyed tan clousers striped with green, orange and black markings, similar to the markings on a Peacock bass. He instructed me to cast my 6 wt near a man made structure, let the fly sink for 10 seconds and make medium paced long strips pausing between each strip. On about the 10th cast I felt a large bump, at first I thought I had caught the bottom, but then I felt a stout pull. Adrenaline rush through me as I yelled “FISH ON.” It was a good fish. In-between thinking about grabbing my camera and stripping line to keep this nice fish tight when I missed a strip and the fish came unbuttoned. I couldn’t believe I blew my opportunity to land my first Peacock. I looked at Kelvin in disappointment saying “lets get another.”

We continued fishing the same spot with no more action when Kelvin made the call to venture further into the jungle …

Singapore-Peacock-Bass-Fishing

We bushwhacked through dense brush, large trees and downed timber careful not to break our rods

 

 

After about 30 minutes, Kelvin showed me a spot where he has had success before. About 15 minutes into casting Kelvin yelled “FISH ON.” I ran over to see a nice bend in his rod.

 

singapore peacock bass fishing Kelvin-Bent-Rod

Peacock-Bass-Singapore

It was a nice fish that put up a good fight

 

Once it turned dark we hiked back experiencing the tropical jungle at night, walking through spider webs, loud exotic birds chirping and flying over head, while keeping an eye out for what is in front of you. It can get creepy in the jungle at night, especially when you see a large black snake quickly slither across the trail in front of you. When the local you are with is obviously concerned about this big ass snake I almost stepped on its probably a good sign that you should get the hell out of there. Bushwhacking through the dark and treacherous jungle did not stop us from trying another spot on the way out at dark. It wasn’t more than 5 casts before I hooked up and landed my first peacock.

Singapore-Peacock-Bass-Nick

It is not everyday you get a chance to catch a Peacock bass at night, so once again I felt blessed by the stars that aligned to make this uniqued experience happen.

 


An interesting phenomenon throughout Asia is that the term “sport-fishing” is completely incomprehensible to most. A common response one would receive when asking about sport-fishing is “Why would you fish just for sport? You don’t like to eat fish?” No actually, I love eating fish however, I love catching them even more. When I visited Vietnam as a student in 2006, I found this phenomenon to be true. While we still managed to get a line wet and catch a few fish, conservation and sport fishing were two things that just simply aren’t a part of the culture in Vietnam. One thing Vietnam does have is some beautiful beaches. We took the opportunity to visit a Vietnamese island that is situated off the southwest coast of Vietnam just south of Cambodia. Phú Quốc (pronounced FU-QUAW) is a quaint Island with a laid back tropical vibe.

We left Ho Chi Minh city early in the morning, after a 45 minute flight we arrived in Phú Quốc with a full beach day ahead of us. After getting a feel for the island, the beach, and our simple beach hotel we hit up the Dinh Cau Night Market. A bustling street filled with restaurants boasting the daily catch in large bins filled with ice. It was a miniature Tsujiki Fish Market in regards to the fact that it seemed to have everything imaginable that lives the ocean. Crustaceans, snakes, lobsters, prawns, and multiple species of fish.

Dinh Cau Night Fish Market

A hot chick I picked up off the street next to everything imaginable out of the ocean. I told the owner of this stand that he shouldn’t buy such small fish (while pointing at the baby Red snapper in the middle). He responded saying “Its okay, not a problem.” And I told him, “if they continue to kill little fish like that it is going to be a BIG problem. There are not going to any fish left.” Hopefully he understood me.

 

The aroma of fresh fish on the grill constantly flirted with our nostrils as we walked through the busy street lined with fresh seafood. It was quite the sensation. One particular stand caught my attention:

Giant Trevally at Fish Market

Fresh Fish at Phu Quac Night Fish Market

I pointed at the Giant Trevally on the left asking the lady at the stand “Was this caught around here?” She replied, “Yes.” While pointing at the ocean behind her. My excitement immediately rose as I just caught a GT about half that size in Hong Kong which gave me a good fight, a small burst of adrenaline rushed through me as I imaged the fight this fish would yield.

One of my most vivid memories from being in Vietnam in 2006, was eating the fattest most juicy prawns you could imagine. I convinced our group they shouldn’t miss out on this opportunity. So we ordered a kilo of grilled prawns:

vietnam grilled prawns, seafood, delicious food from the ocean

Fresh grilled prawns served  with simply salt, pepper and lime.

As promised to my wife, Sara (the wonderful wife that she is), we spent the following couple of days relaxing on the beach. It was great to sit back, enjoy the ocean, and the 80 degree weather with a luke-warm breeze flowing through the palm trees that sat high above the khaki sand beach. Although, while we were relaxing, contemplating how far that GT at the fish market would take me into my backing was constantly trifling me. How was I going to make keep my promise to my wife of a relaxed beach vacation, yet, somehow get a shot at hooking one of these impressive fish? Luckily, our group agreed to rent a boat for a day of snorkeling and “fishing.” The Vietnamese tour companies say, “Enjoy a day of snorkeling, fishing and relaxing on a boat tour.” Of course, by fishing they mean baiting a hook, attached to a line that is woven around a plastic spool. In fishing terms, the complete opposite of fly-fishing.

So we set out early, boarding our “boat” for the day. The “boat,” constructed of heavy timber was more like a small barge with a crude inboard engine, some picnic tables, benches and a ladder leading to the roof top for sunbathing. In simple terms, it would suffice for not only spending quality time with Sara, but also getting a line in the water. I rigged my 9 and 12 wt rods with a gummy minnow and a large chartreuse clouser. When fishing in a completely foreign place that has seen very few flies, if any, the gummy minnows are alway a great choice, as well as anything chartreuse, as I once learned from a seasoned guide in Ascension Bay, Mexico; “If it ain’t chartreuse, it ain’t no use.”

Boats Phú Quốc, Vietnam

Boats align the harbor in Phú Quốc, Vietnam

We set off, our young Vietnamese captain that spoke little to no english navigated through the many small ships, boats and  small barges just like ours in the harbor. I dropped my full sinking 12 wt line rigged with a barrel swivel tied in the middle of my tippet a couple feet above the clouser. When trolling flies, barrel swivels are very useful so the fly line doesn’t get twisted. Trolling a large fly all day can really twist up fly-line, which takes a lot of work to untwist.

Luckily, our small barge didn’t go faster than the ideal trolling speed (2 to 3 knots). Honestly, I didn’t except to catch anything. I was just happy to be out with my wife and friends, drink a couple of beers, and enjoy the Vietnamese scenery while trolling a fly. We were no more than 100 yards outside of the last boat in the harbor when I was jigging the fly line giving it some action and I felt a large tug. At first, I thought I had hooked one of the many pieces of trash floating by. However, the tug was pulling hard. When I looked up to see a big boil where my fly was I yelled “FISH ON!” Followed by an immediate, “STOP THE BOAT!” It wasn’t until one of my friends raised his hand like a traffic cop yelling “STOP” for the captain to actually cut the engine. By this time the fish was well into my backing. While my adrenaline was pumping, I tightened my drag as the fish was running hard. I yelled “THOW IT IN REVERSE” to the captain, later realizing how stupid that was of me, not only because he most likely had no clue what I was saying, but more so because there is no way this barge of a boat had a reverse gear. Within moments the fish was well over 100 yards into my backing. I saw big boils in the distance while I tried to keep the pressure on the fish. The fish didn’t let up continuing to run while the sound of “ZZZZZZZZ” was music to my ears, not to mention the extremely large smile on my face. As the fish was now about 200yards into my backing all I could think was at this rate, the fish would spool me in no time, so I gave it some more pressure. Then the absolute worst feeling a fisherman can have, came next. It felt like my feet were swept out from under me as my fly came unbuttoned. It was as if the wind was completely knocked out of me.

PHÚ QUỐC VIETNAM

Despite the lost fish it was a productive day on the barge, drinking, eating, snorkeling and catching some vietnam D

I’ll never know the size or species of that fish, I can only imagine that it was probably a Giant Trevally just as, if not bigger, than the one I was saw at the Dinh Cau Night Market. Hopefully it continues to swim around the Island of Phú Quốc and never ends up on a tourist’s dinner plate but rather on the end of another sport fisherman’s line who, uncommon to Asian tradition, releases it unharmed.

 

 


23Mar

Fly Fishing Hong Kong – Lucky Fish for Me

Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every […]

Fly fishing China is an oxymoron. In 2006, I found this to be true after diligently trying to find a river with wild fish. I quickly realized every river in China is dammed. The rivers I found were either a trickle or dammed and made into a fish farm every 100 yards or so.  Don’t get me wrong, with proper due diligence finding a river with wild fish is very plausible in some of the more remote areas of China. Maybe some of the border areas of Mongolia or areas in Tibet or any of the Eastern border areas in the Himalayas.  After leaving China disappointed in 2006, I received some emails replies from members of a sport-fishing club based in Hong Kong that I had found through the IGFA. While Hong Kong isn’t technically China, it seemed that one of the biggest cities in the world does have a small population of sport-fishermen. On our recent stop in Hong Kong, I found this to be true. Thanks to my fly-fishing friend in Japan, Captain Keiichiro of Seakuro, I was linked up with one of the few fly-fisherman in Hong Kong, a nice Japanese fellow by the name of Koichi Hamaguchi aka: Lefty Hama. I met Hama early in the pre-dawn hours on our last day in Hong Kong. We rigged our 6, 8 and 9 wt rods as we waited for what Hama referred to as “the only sport fishing boat for hire in Hong Kong.” I felt very lucky to be fishing with one the few local fly-fishermen and the only sporting fishing charter among millions of people.

The original purpose of the trip was to target the specific sea-bass species native to the area known as “Lo Yu” or Chinese Spotted Sea-bass (Lateolabrax Maculatus). Hama, being from Japan, explained to me how the Sea-bass in Hong Kong receive a lot of catch and take fishing pressure, because of this, the fish rarely look up unlike the Suzuki or Japanese Seabass that can often be caught on the surface. Therefore, the main technique used to catch Chinese Spotted Sea-bass on a fly is using a sinking line. He explained that in the last couple years he has fished hundreds of times from the pier while only catching Sea-bass twice. After hearing this, I didn’t expect to catch anything this morning, I was really just stoked to be out fishing in a unique setting with someone from across the globe that shared the same passion as me.

We fished for a couple hours in the shimmering glow created by Hong Kong harbour’s industrial ships and marine lights. We moved from spot to spot as we cast our sinking lines towards structures created by the commercial tankers, ports and jetties. As the sun rose, the glow from the city lights dwindled and we continued to laboriously cast in hopes of something to bite. We were fishing near a Chinese navy base when our guide let the boat drift naturally by the current. All morning we had been stripping fast with hopes that the quick strips would instigate a strike. While I felt the boat naturally drift I thought it might be wise to change it up. I held the same point on my depth charger line and jigged it using the boat’s drift to create the action on the fly. For whatever reason, this was the ticket for success. I immediately felt a hard tug, as a rush of adrenaline ran through my body, I stripped set the line, raised my rod and yelled “FISH ON!”  You would have thought Hama won the lottery because he immediately started jumping up and down like he just won the Super Bowl. His excitement was contagious. I immediately got another charge of exhilaration just from witnessing his reaction. It was simply awesome. The fish made a good run against my tightly set drag before we finally saw a glimpse of the fish. At first glance, I thought “permit? no freaking way,” until I realized it was a Giant Trevally. Not a huge one, maybe 2 kilos or 4 pounds tops. We took a bunch of pictures and videos before releasing the fish unharmed.

Hama explained that in late 2012 the Hong Kong government put a ban on bottom trawling. He attributes this to our success. He explained how before 2012 it was hard to find some Giant Trevally up to a 1/2 kilo or about 1 pound but thanks to the ban on bottom trolling the bait fish populations have recovered significantly in just the course of a couple years. This was music to my ears, hearing about an Asian government doing things to conserve and improve the natural resources. Absolutely encouraging and inspiring after just coming from Japan where it seems as if conservation is not a word in their dialect. Hama clarified that he not only has only caught only 2 Sea-bass while fishing from the shore in over 100 outings, he has only caught 2 Giant Trevally in the course of two years. This made what was about to happen next completely special. In the same spot, using the same technique and the same fly, I hooked up with another fish! I couldn’t believe it and neither could Hama. It was as if he had just won another lottery AND won ANOTHER Super Bowl. He was completely ecstatic. Jumping up and down, throwing his fists in the air, yelling and screaming. This fish fought harder and was a bigger, weighing about 3 kilos, about 6 or 7 pounds. I couldn’t help but sharing Hama’s excitement. I have some great fishing buddies back home in Colorado that get super excited when I catch big fish but no one has ever shown this kind of elation for a fish I’ve caught before. It was truly a remarkable experience.

As we have traveled throughout Asia, a common term you’ll hear when people are asking for a tip is “lucky money for me?” I always wonder, how the hell it is lucky if you are asking for it? A tip will be given if a tip is deserved. Well, Hama and I insisted on tipping our captain this day, even though he said a couple times over, “this too much,” but we insisted because he deserved it. Later that night as we pulled out of the brilliant Hong Kong skyline towering over us, I couldn’t help from thinking to myself that this day was a “lucky fish for me,” and I attribute the luck to a nice fellow who goes by the name of Lefty Hama, because if anybody deserves it, he does.

 


Japan is an interesting country filled with sharp contrasts. The island is physically smaller than the state of Montana, but holds a population more than twice the size of the US.  Toilets literally warm and clean your butt in one place while in another there is simply just a hole in the ground. Japan’s best attribute is the people. Its common to have people say “welcome” when they see a westerner or foreigner on the street. They are required to study English for 6 years in school. Anyone will go out of their way to make sure you know where you are going. It is truly a great place to visit for so many different reasons, especially the fly-fishing. On my original Semester at Sea Voyage in Spring 2006 to Japan I experienced the tug of a Suzuki (Japanese Seabass) on the end of my fly line. So I was determined to do the same this time around. Our gracious host in 2006, Takashi Nakajima recommended I fish with the best fly-fishing guide in Tokyo: Keiichiro Okamoto (Captain K <- another example of how kind Japanese people are. They come up with alternate names that make it easier for westerners to pronounce) of SEAKURO Fly-Fishing. Captain K, lived up to his reputation. On average, Captain K guides 5 days a week. Aside from catering to clients like Tommy Lee Jones,  he also fishes on his own every chance he gets. If you get a chance check out his website: SEAKURO. Click on reports and you’ll find sea-bass after sea-bass. Here is his report from our night of fishing:

best fly fishing guide in Tokyo Japan: Seakuro

Capt K of Seakuro – Fishing Report

 

His report literally translates to this:

Setting sail in the sea bass fly fishing

I was going to guide you through the American guest.

Near the enthusiastic fly fisherman, I can enjoy the highest never better night sea bass.

Boyle spree! Rolled exploded to the top! Spree hit!

In many exciting scene, it was night “awesome!”.

OK just floating line.

[Capt. Okamoto]

Yokohama-bay-lights

Cruising Across Yokohama Bay

 

 

Captain K’s report is accurate. There was “never better night” for sea-bass fishing. Captain K picked me up from the ship at 9pm and we were fishing by 9:30. We navigated through the darkness amongst freight ship lights, big highway bridges and industrial ship yards.

Captain K with a nice Sea Bass

Captain K with a nice Sea Bass

 

 

 

Capt K's Custom Tied Flies

Captain K’s Custom Tied Flies

 

 

 

With my 9wt we threw his special top-water fly into the shadows, stripping it out into well lit areas. With no wind and a calm harbor we had non-stop surface action all night long. Cast after cast sea-bass would come out of no-where and slam the fly. Most of the fish we caught were in the 1 kilo range, while we managed to catch a few in the 2-3 kilo range.

 

Reel Escape Films

Kick His Ass Sea-Bass

Like Captain K explained in his report, it was literally a “Boil Spree.” Fish slamming flies cast after cast. If the activity died out in one location Captain K had another we’d motor to in minutes. We probably fished 20 different locations throughout the night catching multiple fish at each. For a more detailed report and pics see CAPTAIN K’S BLOG post from our incredible evening on the water.

After a long night of catching fish after fish, Captain K motored us back to the MV Explorer. He instructed me to throw a few more casts into the corner no more than 75 yards from the back of our ship. On the third cast my fly was nailed, and I was hooked up with yet another hard fighting Japanese Sea-bass. Landing that final Suzuki was a great way to end an incredible night. After, Captain K let me pick his brain on camera while we drifted in his boat with our ship in the background. In his good English (he claims it is Kindergarten level but I told him that most Kindergarteners can’t speak half as good as he can in the US) he talked about Sea-bass fishing in Yokohama and Tokyo bay and how Japanese culture has no regard for conservation, although the growing popularity of fly-fishing is helping create awareness for the importance of catch and release sport fishing.

After the interview, I explained to Captain K that I had such a awe-inspiring experience fly-fishing with him I felt like I was “Turning Japanese.” I even sang the song to him. It was obvious he had never heard of the song and probably thought I was just pulling it out of my ass.

 

 

In the days to follow my wife Sara, our friend Andrew and I had the opportunity to travel around Japan. We spent a night in Tokyo giving us a chance to see the city and visit arguably the biggest fish market in the world: the Tsukiji Fish Market. It was an interesting experience. Imagine the best seafood market you have visited multiplied by 1,000.
Tsukiji clamsTsukiji Fish Market tuna-head

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was everything from big fish like Blue Fin Tuna and Yellowtail, to mollusks and crustaceans that I never knew existed. It was such a unique experience to see the variety of seafood but a bit sad at the same time. The market was an indicator of what little regard Japan’s culture has for conservation. If you are concerned about eating sustainable seafood its a great idea to abide by THIS GUIDE TO EATING SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD.

 

After experiencing Japan’s largest city we caught a bullet train to Kyoto. Thanks to some help from Daniel at TENKARA USA, I was linked up with a couple Japanese Tenkara fisherman.

Izakaya-Japanese Style Pub

Unfortunately due to the winter season we were not able to go fishing in one of the many mountain streams Japan has to offer. Our gracious hosts were very kind. They took my wife Sara, our friend Andrew and I to an Izakaya, a Japanese style pub. Eddie (right) and Kiyoshi (left) were awesome. They taught a lot about Tenkara fly-fishing, its origins and culture in Japan. Kiyoshi even gave us a few of his Tenkara flies. We had a tasty dinner including, sushi and cod roe in a hot pot. It was an unforgettable night.

The next day we had a chance to explore Kyoto. Japan’s cultural capital.

Kyoto-Kiyomizu-dera-Temple

The cemetery at the Kiyomizudera Temple offered a spectacular view of the city

 

Osaka-interesting-characters4web

On the way back to Kobe we stopped in Osaka for some sights and lunch. It is said that Osaka is as if lady Gaga was a city. A friend responded to this with: “so the city is just covered in a meat dress?” I’m not so sure Osaka resembled Lady Gaga but we definitely ran into some weird characters.

The last night we were in Japan Kiyoshi and Eddie the Tenkara fishermen set me and a fly-fishing friend from the ship, Chris, up with another night of sea-bass fishing. This time it was with Yusaku Tsutsui, the owner of Drag Free Fly-Fishing in Osaka. Tsutsui had explained that it may be hard to actually catch a Japanese Sea-bass around Kobe because there is a lot of catch and take fishing. Kiyoshi our Tenkara friend showed us the way to meet Tsutsui. Upon arrival, we rigged our rods as Kiyoshi broke out some pre-game treats, beers and sushi.Flies and Sushi w Kiyoshi

 

As we fished multiple spots that night he talked about how lure fishermen would take 50-60 fish out of each spot. It wasn’t nearly as action packed as the first night of fishing but still a great time.  We all had blast but more so Kiyoshi as it was his first taste of saltwater fly-fishing. While we  were only allotted about 4 hours to fish because we had to catch the train before it closed, we fished hard throwing flies into the shadows of big ships and industrial ports stripping them out into the lit areas. Tsutsui explained that the constant pressure in the area pushes the fish down, so we threw heavy flies with floating line and sink tips as well as full sinking lines. With no action most of the night Tsutsui recommended to change the fly to one that he had tied, a small white clouser, the ticket for success. While stripping my fly out of the corner created by a concrete sidewalk next to the Kobe Airport I felt a big tug. I strip set, then immediately saw a large fish surface and jump completely out of the water. Yells of excitement came from Kiyoshi, Tsutsui, Chris and I. FISH ON!

A great end to an incredible trip

A great end to an incredible trip


22Oct

Autumn Spawners

Fall means dropping temperatures, changing colors and good fishing, especially for a certain salmonoid. Native to Europe and western Asia Brown trout, Salmo trutta, first arrived from Germany in 1883. German fish culturist Baron Lucius von Behr shipped 80,000 brown trout eggs to the northeast which were soon after distributed through out the United States. The first documented brows trout eggs to make it to Colorado were shipped from England to a Denver hatchery in 1885. I’m guessing soon after Colorado’s streams and lakes were full of brown trout. The colorful little bastards were invading the waters native cutthroats inhabited for thousands of years, but that’s another story for another time …

Brown trout are said to be the hardest trout to catch, because they are smarter than most trout. For me, that is hard to believe, especially during spawning. This time of year browns boast a bright yellow gold belly and run from lakes up into rivers to spawn. Females push aside rocks and pebbles by fanning their back fin creating an ideal location to lay their eggs. These spawning beds are called redds. After the females lay their eggs the males fertilize the eggs. Typically both males and females become more aggressive during this time of year …
Picture 11
… which makes spawning browns an easy target for anglers …

Picture 13
Fishing for spawning fish can be exciting at first … but there comes a time when anglers must make a decision as to what exactly is going on. As proud as one may feel catching fish after fish it may not be one’s outstanding angling skills that are enticing these hostile browns to take a fly, spoon or whatever is thrown in their face, but rather the thousands of years of evolutionary instincts instilled in the fishes blood forcing them to be guardians of their offspring. For this reason, some purists refuse to fish for spawning fish …

Picture 12
I am not a purist, but I’d like to think I’m somewhere in between a true purist and a whiskey tango (white trash) bait chucker. I have no problem with fishing for spawning fish … but at the same time I get bored with hammering a pool of fish stacked up, I mean come on, these fish are just trying to get a piece of ass.

Picture 14
Either way, fishing should be about the challenge, the rewarding feeling you get when you work hard at something. When the challenge is taken out of that equation, its hard to get that feeling.

Some Sweet Stuff to Look at:
Potential World Record Brown Trout recently caught in Michigan
Fall Spawning Runs CDOW VIDEO (Including Underwater Spawning Brown Trout)
Meet the Browns By Dennis McKinney


11Aug

Fly Fishing California's Sierra Nevada

In route to Orange Country where a week long fishing trip on the Sea of Cortez was about to began 36 hours later, my friend Lenny and I flew in to Sacramento where Blake, my Semester at Sea roommate picked us up. We then made a road trip from Sacramento up through Eldorado National Forest towards Lake Tahoe and down across the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada range. We were in search of what the Golden State’s streams and rivers had to offer. But first things first… we had to make a stop at the infamous In and Out. A burger joint only found in the far west.
Picture 9
They say all their ingredients are fresh but the worst thing about In and Out is the wait. Maybe this is why their food is so good. Picture 12While waiting I got a chance to watch a young nor-cal punk do some tricks on his razor

Picture 10Grease burgers… yum… I still haven’t figured out why In and Out hasn’t made it to Colorado? If you get a chance to go to an In and Out make sure to order your burger “Animal Style.”

That night we stayed in Walker CA. The next morning we woke up early and hit up a local breakfast joint. The waitress kept talking about fishing on the West Walker river in her favorite honey hole using power bait, she kindly gave us specific directions to her hole down the road. We nodded and agreed to check it out. We soon found that the West Walker river near the town of Walker was nothing but fast moving water and bait fishermen, which lead us to immediately head up stream in search of some more pristine waters. About 20 miles up to road the terrain turned from the lower arid landscape to as Blake calls it “high desert.”
Picture 8

After examining miles of the West Walker while driving down route 395 the river disappeared into the high pines and aspens as the beautiful rolling hills and mountains were covered by a blanket of sage brush. The high desert scenery and clear flowing creek finally enticed us to stop and fish the Little Walker River.

So we did…
Picture 15

Picture 20
This small free stone stream is filled with brookies and rainbows…
Picture 18

Picture 16
…who were taking dry flies all morning
Picture 14

Picture 19
The area was quite phenomenal
Picture 13 These huge pine trees sky scraping over the aspen trees made this a unique experience for us Coloradans. Sure we have big loge pole and ponderosa pines in our state but I’ve never seen a pine cone this big in Colorado.

Picture 17

Picture 21

Solid, it was only 9 in the morning and we had already had a days worth of fishing in.
Picture 22
Next stop… the East Walker River near the town of Bridgeport

The East Walker River below Bridgeport reservoir offers some excellent tailwater fishing. But like any good public tailwater with big trout in it asses and elbows are always apparent on a consistent basis. Sure enough, when we drove by big hole, East Walker’s famous fishing spot, we saw a number of anglers fishing. So we ventured down river. The flows were must faster but the crouds were far less.

We managed to pull a couple wild browns out of the fast moving water.
Picture 35

We tried a couple different spots all requiring wading through swift strong currents. We kept moving down stream on the look out for new spots then all of sudden…
Picture 29
We were in Nevada… whoops…

We fished a couple more spots and decided to head to our next destination… Hot Creek

The trip down 395 provided some fine scenery.
Picture 23 Looking west… at the east side of Yosemite National Park. Eagles Peak I believe, correct me if I’m wrong.

After lunch in Mammoth Lakes and a stop into the The Trout Fly we headed over to Hot Creek. After reading about this place in the guide book we thought, damn. This place sounds amazing. A creek that literally comes out of the ground and boasts numerous hot springs that change from year to year. Not to mention its one of the most trout rich streams in the west. Meaning there are more trout per mile in hot creek than most rivers. At least that’s what the guide book said… something like 4,000 trout per mile.

When we arrived we saw a small creek that meanders into a small canyon. It looked as good as any creek I’ve seen. But one thing was different, weeds. Hot creek is filled with weeds. As we stood on top of the canyon looking down at the creek, I stared closely at the creek looking for fish. Sure enough there were a some rises and a few pretty decent looking fish, but at 60 cfs these weeds were guaranteed to be a problem.

Hot Creek

First, we threw some streamers and immediately nailed a couple 12-14 inchers, but the big boys visible in the crystal clear water continued to reject our flies. One in particular was hanging out behind a big conglomeration of weeds. I couldn’t seem to get my fly down to him while my fly kept getting stuck on the weeds. So I threw on a small split shot and sure enough he nailed my size 20 rs2. The nice size rainbow immediately shot up into the weeds and I thought for sure my 6x tippet was going to break.

Picture 28

Somehow I managed to pull him out of the mossy mess. He then shot over to the other side of the creek heading down stream into another set of weeds. Then back into the original weeds, this fish was taking me on a ride! While this continued over and over for a couple minutes I finally brought him in. He was still a little hot, so when I went in to grab him he thrashed vigorously shaking the fly. No grip in grin for this guy but he was definitely the highlight of the day for me.

Picture 37

The day ended with a gorgeous sunset over Inyo National Forest. The only thing was now we had to drive 8 hours to Orange County to catch our bus to the Sea of Cortez… Next stop: I’M ON A BOAT!

Stay tuned


Here is another Trailer for ANGLING THE GLOBE featuring India and the flesh eating fish: Mahseer

 

Fly fishing in India for the majestic mahseer in the Himalayas with The Himalayan Outback and their fly fishing guide Misty Dillion Produced by Nick Clement Reel Escape Films


16Apr

SACRED WATER

Recently, an article on the unique fishing trip I experienced in India was published in “This is Fly,” an online magazine geared towards the younger, more trendy angling community.  

TIF has a pretty sick design

 The editors at this is fly have done an amazing job at innovating this edgy new stylish design.
 

Check out the article and video that follows:

http://www.thisisfly.com/?l=938


15Apr

Angling the Globe, The Trailer

The new trailer for Angling the Globe, featuring the extraordinary country: South Africa.

With apartied’s troublesome past, a plethora of natural beauty, and an array of cultures South Africa was one of the most intriguing countries I visited traveling the world on Semester at Sea. Not to mention the amazing fly-fishing opportunities. From yellowfish to tiger fish to trout Sudesh Pursad, a local fly fishing expert out of Johannesburg took me to Kosi Bay, just south of the Mozambique border. This bay surrounded by rocky hills was rich in natural splendor and inhabited by our target species: the Kingfish, Caranx Ignobilis, AKA The GIANT TREVALLY.