About Me

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Saint Louis, Missouri, United States
I am an attorney in my early thirties with a serious fly fishing problem. I work at a large corporate law firm where things move pretty fast. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of corporate America, I try as often as possible to get away and enjoy a quiet stream. My blog attempts to detail the adventures I have both on and off the water in "My World on the Fly."

Friday, June 19, 2009

Current River Camping & Fishing June 2009

I hit the river for a short float (Baptist to Parker) this past weekend with two of my Alaskan co-horts, Eddie and Doug. I am always in search of new fishing buddies and both Doug and Eddie are new to trout fishing in Missouri so it was a good opportunity to show them the river. We rolled out Friday after a half day of work with our canoes strapped to the car and with a ridiculous amount of gear. Seriously, we probably could have survived out there for at least a month with the amount of food and gear we brought.

One reason for the abundance of gear was the weather. Weather.com was forecasting a 60% chance of heavy thunderstorms Friday night and, having learned from experience, it's always nice to have extra gear when you're camping in heavy storms. Fortunately, the storms stayed to the South of Missouri Friday and, despite a pretty good chance of rain each day that weekend, we managed to avoid any inclement weather.

The fish also decided to cooperate, especially considering the high-water conditions. The river was up, 1.8 - 1.9 on the gauge below Montauk (200 - 220 CFS), which made floating absolutely fabulous, but the heavy stain, depth, and speed of the water had me concerned that we would not be able to get down to the fish. Each of us was prepared with 300 grain sinking lines but we ended up not using them.

Friday evening, Eddie and I both got on the board via the streamer. After floating and setting up camp, we only had about an hour to fish but the fact that we were successful excited us for Saturday's float.

Saturday, streamers and large nymphs were the ticket. The fish seemed to be charged up and were more than willing to rise in the water column for our flies. In fact, one really large brown (in a spot that will remain anonymous), jumped about 2 feet out of the water taking an emerger or some other bug on or near the surface. Despite several attempts to coax this 20+ inch fish to re-surface, he out smarted the three of us and was not seen a second time.

Despite not sticking the pig, we did nail quite a few average sized browns and bows and moved a couple really large fish. Streamer fishing is really one of my favorite ways to chase trout. There's nothing cooler in my opinion than watching a brown just explode on a streamer, especially when that streamer is a bright color and riding just below the surface. Everything is so visual. It's a similar feeling to tarpon fishing watching the whole attack take place.

On Saturday, my man Doug stuck his first Missouri trout and managed to pull in at least two entirely on his own (i.e. he chose the fly, tied the knot, picked the spot, and sealed the deal). Here's a shot of one of Doug's first Missouri trout:

Eddie, who was fishing like a veteran, was also having no trouble putting fish in hand:

We finished the float on Saturday at Parker around 5 PM and planned to quickly head into the park to re-load our ice supply. The plan was a quick stop followed by fishing until dark. One cool side note, while loading the boats on the car, I found a really cool bird point (or arrowhead) that was in perfect condition. This is the second one I have found on the Current. I guess the heavy rains and high water moved enough gravel and dirt to expose some new stones. It's somewhat humbling to think that American Indians were living in and around the Current River hundreds of years ago. If they only had trout back then....

Anyway, we loaded the gear and headed toward the park in a hurry to get back out on the water. Perhaps we were in a little too much of a hurry on those gravel roads because after buying our supplies, Doug's tire was almost completely flat:

Enter the "pit crew," Eddie and I. The following exchange was quite humorous:

Ryan: "Damn, this is going to cut into our fishing time. We need to change this sucker as quickly as possible. Doug, do you have a spare?"

Doug: "No."

[Eddie looks under the rear bumper].

Eddie: "You definitely have a spare."

Ryan: "Doug, where's your jack?"

Doug: "No idea. I don't think I have one."

Ryan: "You definitely do."

[Ryan locates the jack and tire iron in rear compartment].

Doug: "I'm gonna head into the lodge. Little bear, you're in charge."

After struggling with the tire for about 30 minutes, Eddie and I had the truck back on four full tubes and we were ready to hit the road. At that moment, almost perfectly timed, Doug walks out of the lodge with a six pack of cold Bud Light.

Doug: "What can I do to help?"

You'll notice the shit eating grin on Doug's face as he posed for the picture above. Eddie and I grabbed beers and we hit the road. Doug's penance was to carry the back pack for the remainder of the evening.

We ended up fishing for an hour or so until dark. Doug stuck a decent brown on a streamer as he was giving me casting pointers and various other fly fishing instruction.

The three of us fished our way down to camp on foot and called it an evening.

On Sunday, we broke camp and fished a mile or so upstream. Again, streamers were very effective as were large nymphs. Being that we were upstream where the river was running slightly clearer, I decided to try the "go to" method that I prefer on the Current: the dry-dropper combo. Fishing fast, shallow riffles I tore it up landing five fish in 30 minutes. Unfortunately, right when I cracked the code, the boys wanted to head for the hills. I was on board with this idea as our two nights on the river with Anheuser Busch were starting to catch up with me.

We pulled out of Montauk around 1:30 and pulled into the driveway in STL around 4. Great weekend. Thanks for joining me fellas.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Chasing Silver at Location X

I don't know if anyone has seen the movie. If you fly fish and you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. In any event, three years ago Sara got me one of the best gifts I have ever received. It was my birthday and, after my frustrating trip to the Keys where I failed to land the big one, she wanted to organize a tarpon fishing trip. At the time, "Chasing Silver: Location X" had been recently released and I was borderline obsessed with it. Sara's mastermind in gift giving immediately went to work. She contacted a friend of mine who works at one of leading fly fishing companies in North America. It just so happens that my buddy knew the guide from the movie and the guide had two days open that season to fish. My friend told Sara "this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to fish with one of the best salt water guides in the world. You need to make this happen." She made it happen and my friend was right. It's like nothing else I've ever experiended.

Two days of tarpon fishing at Location X with the guide from the movie. Unreal! Every year I get the best gift a fly fisherman could ask for. Seriously awesome. Yet another reason I am not letting Sara get away.

This year marked my third year fishing at this mysterious location. The first year I jumped several tarpon the first day and was poised to land one the second day. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate the second day. High winds, clouds, and rain muddied up the water to the exent that we had zero visibility. Day two was cancelled.

Last year marked success. I fed numerous tarpon, jumping upwards of 12 and landing 5:

This year was another great year despite the fact that we didn't boat any fish. I fed 19 tarpon in two days, jumping 6. Little things were not going my way. Several fish simply threw the hook when jumping. One big fish bolted away from the boat then decided to make a u-turn and come right back at me. There was no way I could pick up line fast enough to keep tension on the fish. I thought about putting my rod tip in the water but before my mind could process what was happening, she was gone. Another fish ate twice right in front of the boat and took off for the deep. I cleared my line out of the bucket but the last bit of fly-line wrapped around my reel handle and the fish snapped my 60lb tippet like it was nothing.

Despite not putting any fish in hand, I learned a ton and am ready to get back out there as soon as possible. AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! I suppose I can hold off for another year. For now, swimming tarpon haunt my dreams.