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Category Archive:   Trout


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Much to my chagrin, the vacation is over. After an impromptu two weeks tucked away in northeastern New Mexico along the Cimmaron River, i’m back and ready to regale you all with stories and information that will doubtlessly last for a week or two.

Of all the stories of personal adventure, new waters discovered, fished tricked, and treasures brought to net though, what follows was the absolute most amazing part of the trip, bar none.

Four days into our trip, my son (age 11) asked if he could tag along with me while i fished the Cimmaron (which is some pretty technical small water if i do say so myself.) As someone who’s never pushed fishing on him, and who also really enjoys their time alone, i’ll admit i was a little skeptical how this would work out since the idea of him finding a spot to read (and be in sight) while i continued to bushwhack upstream through endless shrubbery and plant entanglement seemed dubious at best.

Somehow though, it did work out having him follow me, which turned out to be a blessing. “The Moment” happened at a deep pool that tore at a southern bank, undercutting it with a current that forced it’s way to the left and downriver, a spot where any sort of angling magic could happen. I expected a trophy trout as proof of the potential stored in its depths, instead i heard the soft sound of my son’s voice, barely audible above the hum of moving water.

IMG_0064Casting in extremely tight and technical quarters.

“Papa? I think i’d like to start fly-fishing so i can learn patience, and also to get to spend more time with you.”

After wiping the god dam tears of joy from my eyes, i turned around and in the most nonchalant manner i could muster, said that i’d love to teach him for those very reasons as well.

A short while later, we found a spot devoid of backcast traps and i stepped into the roll of fly fishing guide, trying to dispense manageable amounts of tips and tricks without overwhelming my protégé. Within thirty minutes, much to my surprise, he hooked into a ten inch rainbow that finalized his resolve and set him on the fly fishing path.

Later that day i took him to a small pool of clear, flowing water tucked against a cliff face some 50 feet high. It had been stocked recently with farm raised rainbow, and every cast caused numerous trout to wrestle for the fly as though it were the most divine meal they would ever taste. Not a bad way to get into the sport, catching double digit fish on your first day on the water. As fish after fish came to hand we quickly moved through all the tips on setting hooks, landing fish, and the ethics of quick photos and even quicker release.

IMG_0067First trout ever. Took a while to figure out how to hold them, not a bad problem.

With the sun setting behind the cliffs i stood watch as he released a nice 13″ rainbow, head upstream, waiting for the moment the fish bolted on its own accord. Watching him rinse his hands in the crystal like waters i felt the obligatory need to remark.

“I’m sure you know this isn’t what fishing normally is like?”

“I know papa, this isn’t real fishing, it’s too easy. Real fishing is about patience and waiting for that right moment when everything comes together,” he responded.

True that (on so many levels).

Later as i dozed off in my down bag i remember my last thought for the night being that guiding and parenting are essentially the same. You arm your client/child with just enough knowledge that they can use that as a basis for them to make their own decisions and succeed or fail. If they fail, you offer alternative solutions and advice, and if they succeed, you encourage more of the same peppered with bits on how to do it better and take them to the next level. Above all else though, whether client or child, it’s not about you. It’s all about them.

Luckily for me it worked out and i now have the best client i could ever hope for.

I just hope he starts tipping soon.

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Living it up in northwest New Mexico for a week and a half. Plenty to report once I can charge my myriad of digital toys. In the mean time, no trip to the area has really begun until you stop in to see the Straits in Taos!

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I will preface this article in saying that last weekend was better than this one. Around this time last week I was with friends in Broken Bow, Oklahoma casting at rising trout with dry flies. This weekend I am spending most of my time editing video for an upcoming project and doing tech work for the one and only, you guessed it…SXSW.

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Around 3 weeks ago some friends of mine, Daniel Hughes (@cordova_custom_rods) and Cody LaCroix had the spontaneously fantastic idea to hit up Broken Bow before spring break totally cuts loose on all the rivers around here. Daniel and I had been talking of shooting a promo video for his custom rod business and after we brought up the idea of Broken Bow, I knew there would be no better time to shoot the promo than a spring-time camping trip to the river. From there we set a date and started prepping for some cold weather bug slinging. Being the gear-hauling never pack light person that I am I packed up the trusty  Element and headed north out of Austin where I am stationed at the moment due to the hipster hatch. After a brief detour for some last-minute supplies in the Dallas area, and a painfully long process to procure a Oklahoma fishing license from Wal-Mart by a high school kid named Garrett, I was pulling into my campsite at Broken Bow right at dusk.

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I was about 8-10 hours ahead of the rest of the group so I set up my hammock and began taking long exposures of the campsite. This was short-lived as a herd of cats began attacking my food over on the picnic table. I instantly regretted my campsite choice but because of my need to re-charge camera gear, electricity was a key feature and this was it, an RV campsite fish-camp. I polished off a few Dale’s Pale Ales, watched wood burn and admired the stars for a few hours before snuggling into 2 sleeping bags, my home away from home in the cold.

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I woke up around 7am Saturday morning to the sound of a car pulling up… ALAS, the crew had arrived after an all night drive from San Antonio. Our group for this weekends outing was Daniel Hughes, Chloe Partida, Cody LaCroix, Logan Mcllveen and myself, Davis James. Some of the guys/gals were tired but everyone was ready to fish, there was no question about it. We were headed to the water by 9 and we were no so surprised to see just how many anglers there were. It was cool seeing such a healthy scene of dedicated fly anglers but the downfall was locating prime fishing territory without stepping on anyones toes. Luckily everyone on the river that day was pretty polite about things and after about an hour we started to figure out what the fish wanted to bite on and lines began to tighten.

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In the afternoon a friend of ours from Longview, Michael Armstrong took the short drive up and joined us for the remainder of the weekend. It ended up being a beautiful bluebird day and everyone in the crew got their taste of what Broken Bow had to offer on the first day. From Buggers to San Juan’s and Nymphs to dries we were able to fool fish on a variety of table fare. The night was rounded off with food prepped by Chef/Captain Cody LaCroix and beers curated by myself. As a group, Day 1 was a wrap.

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Day 2 started bright and early for myself and our visiting friend Michael from Longview. He and I departed to the water around 7am trying hard not to be too quiet in case anyone else wanted to join in on the fun. No dice. The crew that rode 4 deep overnight from San Antonio was not budging. As to be expected the 7am start was a good idea as we were able to fish some sections of the river that were occupied the day before. Within 20 minutes of arriving to the 1st pool of the day I was hooked up and happy as could be! The next few hours were spent drifting, untangling and re-tying under an overcast sky with solid potential for afternoon showers. Michael Armstrong and I headed back to the campsite for lunch only to find our friends still asleep from the night before (light-weights AHEM). The morning team woke up the sleeping beauties and ran into town for a much-needed cheeseburger and additional beers for later. We returned from town as things started to rain and were not surprised to see the group huddled under a make-shift rain tarp making breakfast in a scene that I commonly refer to as a “Nam Fort.”

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After lunch everyone did the wader-dance and prepped for a wet afternoon on the water. The weather was definitely a damper to a degree but it turned on the fish even more than the day before and the damper was quickly no longer an issue. I split the day fishing and filming and managed to keep all of my gear somewhat dry while I stacked clips for that Cordova Rods promo I had mentioned earlier. Some discussion was in the air about going to gamble and after a solid dinner and a near-encounter with a nap, we took off to the Choctaw Casino to adorn our clothes in cigarette smoke and check out all the hustlers, pimps and playas of Broken Bow, OKC. Fast-forward to the next day and I’m up $40 off of $5 playing penny slots while the rest of the gang had broke even, or gone in the hole all of $9.

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​Our last day of the trip and travel day for everyone was Monday March 9th. That morning we all woke up fairly early and began to pack away the campsite in the rain. From there, Daniel, Cody, Chloe and Logan packed in their station wagon and made south to San Antonio while Michael and myself made one last stab at snagging some fish before going home. Broken Bow is a beautiful fishery located near the edge of the Ozark Mountain range and smack dab in the middle of Ouachita National Forest. From rushing deep pools to narrow technical runs there is something in Broken Bow for every fly angler. I will be going back soon, 100%.       -Davis James

P.S. For more awesome photos from Davis James visit his website at www.finnfotography.com and his Instagram at https://instagram.com/belowthecanopy. Hope you enjoyed our first guest post, now get out there and fish!

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There are a lot of reasons that i love fly fishing, wading through the cool spring waters, time alone to let the thoughts sort themselves out, and wandering along new trails to see what lies at the end of the path are just a few. One of the other main ones though is that just as fish are in touch with ever-changing temperature and water flows and adjusting their actions, so too are anglers like me constantly checking the weather, flows, and various seasonal changes to figure out where the to be and when, and in addition what to show up with, an endless puzzle that changes daily.

For the last few months i’ve avoided my usual stomping grounds with good reason, knowing that those warm water fish were hunkered down and largely inactive (much like myself) for the duration of the cold weather. The only real active option (at least for fly fisherman) have been those waters stocked by GRTU and TPWD with cold water trout.

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Don’t get me wrong, i have mad respect for trout and the amazing fish stocking programs that happen here in Texas just to keep anglers satisfied during the “cold” months, mostly because i’m one of the people whose malaise is saved by the stocking of trout. In all honesty though, it can get old quick, fishing the same exact holes for months on end. As any casual reader of this blog already knows, i love to wander and explore just as much as i love to fish, sometimes even more, and stocked trout holding in certain spots aren’t exactly conducive to that.

I guess even though it was still cold and the trout were still biting, something deep inside of me knew it was almost over. I headed down to the Guadalupe with a much different mindset than i had the last dozen or so times. I truly believe the fishy part of me, hypersensitive to temperature and flows knew that it was just about time to wrap up this ongoing story and start heading out for new waters, new fish, and new experiences.

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If this was indeed it, it was a sweet goodbye. Marching down some of the best local trout waters i know of, i thought loosely about the previous few months and all the experiences crammed within. As far as straight up fish numbers go, it was one of the less rewarding and more frustrating ones in recent memory. However, there were so many amazing memories and experiences crammed around the edges of that fish theater that i couldn’t help feel like one lucky S.O.B. The run ins with famous anglers, fishing days with friends old and new, the in depth conversations with local gurus, the new spots i’d never fished, and the many “off the record” tips and tricks that i guess i mostly earned just by sticking this whole damn thing out this long.

The fishing lasted for a few hours, drawn out by desire to fish hard for a few casts, then set back and watch the herons, hawks and ospreys while being sure to pay special notice to the mist trapping across the crests of hills and trees. In time i managed to land a couple of decent sized fish on my own hand tied nymphs which caused me to swell with joy and pride as i reeled in the haplessly duped fish linked to a small hook and thread i’d tied myself.

All in all it was by far the best day i’d had on the river this season, bar none. Obviously the gods (or stars, fish, spirits, etc.) were trying to throw a wrench in my thoughts, trying to lure me back with their whitewater gurgle siren call, but i refused, if i was going to leave for the season, i wanted to go out on top. Besides, i love the trout, but the bass, gar, carp, sunfish, etc. are slowly waking from their slumber and i’d hate for them to start talking amongst themselves and spreading rumors of trout being my one obsession. That’s obviously not true. My obsession is to move, to seek new adventures, new fish and new spots. My obsession is to migrate.

So long trout, hello everything else.

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