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Happy Holidays – Time for Rain and Steelhead!

Happy Holidays!   Know what that means?

Excuses to buy your friends and family, fly-fishing stuff and accidently order a few extras- for yourself!    Hide them in your stocking, under the tree – address them from yer significant other, your 3-year-old son or daughter, or someone from work.   Act really surprised!!

While I’ve been fly-fishing for some 30 years now, I’m always impressed by the new things I see out in the market that I just must have.   In fact, I’ve seen examples so many times during the year, I realize now that I actually need them.   Yes, need.

While you’re all reading this flush with Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, deserts you’ve waited all year to have, and an overdose of football games, some of us are watching the weather reports every night, looking for that next rain, the rainy season, steelhead.

Some of us will be down in the estuary come the 1st of December, if for no other reason than an opportunity to practice casting our Spey rods and lines on an actual body of water we don’t have to drive 3 hours to.

Did you ever wonder why the San Lorenzo was once known as the most famous steelhead river in all of norther California?    I did.   And while it isn’t really documented, where else can you fish over 11 miles of river, with virtually easy access, and where every three miles along a stretch of Steelhead water, there is a bar, or several, and a place to eat!

True – It is noted that anglers used to come from far and wide, with their partners, mistresses, …, and ply the waters of the San Lorenzo all weekend, fishing, drinking, eating, shopping.   And, back in the day when there were A LOT of anglers, and a lot of fish with which to angle.

Opening day on the San Lorenzo used to be covered every year for decades, in the Sentinel, and in the Mercury News, a number of those years with write-ups from our very own Jeff Goyert, who wrote that column in the Sentinel.

Anglers of all kinds rushed- and I do mean rushed, to their spots along the estuary and well into the canyons of the mountains, to ply for their wary catch.   All the fly-anglers on the boardwalk side of the river, almost elbow to elbow – just wide enough apart to give way to the necessary double haul while waste deep in a changing tide.   Most of them there well before first light.     Ed Marcillac and a few others must smart enough to use their dinghy’s – even guys like the infamous Hal Jansen, all comfy out of the water, with coffee thermos, casting classic Steelhead wooly buggers, Comet, Boss, Green Butt Skunks.   Hardware and bait anglers clinging to their spots along the cliffs and high banks on the other side.    You’d be hard pressed to be there for fifteen minutes before someone was hooking up and others were politely reeling in to give way.    It was magical, and it was chaotic.

I suppose I kind of like that most of us can head out to the river these days and find it busy if we spot three other anglers within 200 yards along the estuary.    But almost no one is walking along the bridge, or the cliffs, siting schools for those of us already in the water.   Oh, the fish are there, on occasion, but not like the old days.    I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m told the movie, Rivers of the Lost Coast, contains footage from the early San Lorenzo days.    There is one clip also on YouTube, sometime in the late 60’s I’d guess, where the river was covered with anglers.   But today?  While there may not be as many fish, I do like the peace one can find when plying the waters with whatever might be of our liking that morning, almost completely unencumbered by another angler – unless you invited them along.

Yes, I wish those big numbers of Steelhead, and Coho, were returning to the San Lorenzo again, but I also recognize that this might also bring forth the throngs of anglers, of which I’m not so sure the river could handle anymore.   Why with what people are posting on social media these days, anglers are having to doctor up background images and speak in tongues to keep people from finding where they caught the fish, and thereby descend in droves on that hallowed water you thought you owned.

I’m looking forward to the chance to fish the San Lorenzo this year.   Many of you have heard from me, that it’s also about raising awareness – yes, there are fish in this river, big ones, and it’s the reason we need to take care of it now more than ever.

It’s a rare gift to be able to fish a river so close to one’s home, not to mention several of them, that were once great Steelhead, Coho, and even Chinook, fisheries.    The fish are few and far between anymore.   The river, deprived of it’s nutrients and wholesomeness by a city that is destined to destroy the river because of it’s insatiable want for growth.   Who knows, maybe a mayor who serves a term of 4 years now, can perhaps, help us make a difference, stop the growth, and give more water back to the San Lorenzo in the critical times of the year.

Hopeless romantic.  That’s what I’ve been called.   Someone has to fight the good fight, raise awareness, love the river for the health it deserves, and be the bad guy for saying stop the growth.

The City would love to see us river stewards go away, move on, die.    But if we keep sharing and pressing for what is good and right, for the fish – for the river, for the health of the entire eco-system along all our Pacific Coast waters, there will be more river stewards and hopefully change, for the fish and everything that surrounds, lives amongst and thrives, with the fish.

Happy Holidays – It’s Black Friday on Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.   Started on Saturday and Sunday!

Get out there – go shopping!!   I mean – fishing.

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Don’t Be Afraid To Get Involved – It Will Change Your Life!

by Tom Hogye

This President’s line is a tough one. I’m writing like this because I’ve been sitting here at my desk wondering what to write, how to start, for over half an hour. I’ve been thinking about this all week and how do I write it down for you, for me, for anybody.

The Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen, now Santa Cruz Fly Fishing, has been around for 45 years. No one thinks of that when they join, not that anyone should join because of its age. I certainly didn’t. My wife had a client who told her about the club, who told me, and since I was new to fly fishing in 1992, and I really wanted to learn more, learn to tie flies, cast better, know where to go at any given time of the year, I went to a club meeting.

I remember what I loved right away was how everyone was talking to each other; how easy it was to talk to anyone and tell them where exactly I was as a beginner. There were no “airs” as we often see in other settings. I was not only welcome but introduced to other people at the meeting simply because I was new and they all wanted to help. I don’t even know who the speaker was, or the raffle. But I do remember meeting Kathy Powers, John Steele, Tom McMillan and George Peterson. Today I still see this happening at every club meeting. I’ll say, it is also the very reason it is so difficult to start the “official” meeting part on time. Everyone is literally talking to each other about everything related to fly fishing – for the most part and I feel bad interrupting genuinely good conversations. And as embarrassing as it might be for some, I love the introduction of guests, new members and who’s been fishing, where… I still remember when I first stood up as a new member and how welcome I felt.

Kathy Powers encouraged me to get involved with the club, and within a few months I was going to be the clubs Conservation Chair the following year. It has been 30 years.

At the time, when newsletters were printed and mailed, SCFF was known for having the best newsletter in all the northern CA clubs. I thought that was the coolest thing on the planet. Pat Steele, and Elaine Cook were responsible for collecting all the data putting it in print, getting it mailed. For 29 years Pat Steele edited and published the newsletter, and when the internet came along, figured out how to put the website together and publish the newsletter to the website where we all had a chance to read it. She was also my best editor. The best letter I’ve ever received from anyone was Pat’s letter as I completed my first stint as President.

I’d say, on the side-lines, but it was characteristically more of a stealthy quiet thing, John Steele was there. President of our club the year I arrived. I realize John was younger than I am now when I first met him. And to think some of you still call me “kid”.

It was probably natural for John to be the President at that time, because along with his wife, he was actively involved with many parts of fly-fishing, and his other love – duck hunting. At that time, still working as a pharmacist here in Santa Cruz, raising two young adult children. John ran the rod-building class, organized, and encouraged people to go on a number of fish-outs – most notably the Green River for 30 years and a pile of Alaska trips. When he wasn’t doing that, with all of George Peterson’s walnut gunstock scraps, John was busy making shadowbox frames for fly displays, Regal vise holders and tool holders, fly-tying tables. John would make this beautiful large trout windchimes, wood carvings, fish, quail, frames, and stained glass. He’d take ordinary Sage blanks and turn them into works of art, especially the scrimshaw carvings, one of which I am a treasured recipient. And for as many years, taking a full bedroom in their house to store all the fly-fishing gear we would amass every year for the Annual Dinner Fundraiser. Spending his own time, buying things you would want, finding the best prices and the very best products for the benefit of everyone in SCFF. The silent auction was likely the largest contributor of finances during the Annual Dinner, most of which had something hand-made by John Steele. And if you ever asked John about fly-fishing, fly-tying, where to go, how, when… if John didn’t know the answer, he would take you to the person you could talk to, introduce you and make sure you were well on your way.

The formerly known Dame Juliana-Berners award for the person making the biggest difference in your fly-fishing experiences every year, became appropriately the John Steele Award.

In retirement, John and Pat made a pact to travel somewhere (most often involving fly-fishing) as often as humanly possible. And they did. Alaska, the Green River, Montana, Wyoming, the North & South Atlantic, the South Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico – East and West. Salmon, Trout, Bonefish, Redfish, Snook, you name it – there is a photo of John and Pat – together usually with fish. And after all that, dove, pheasant, duck season.

More than 57 years, married to the love of his life, his “cat”, glued to the hip. They did everything together and loved it! Especially fishing.

John died, again, this past Sunday. Yes, again. Some 22 years ago, John suffered a heart-attack and died. He and Pat were home, John in his easy chair – gone. Pat was in the other room for several minutes before discovering why John didn’t answer. The ability for him to come back was in part because Pat and John live less than 2 minutes from the fire department. John had been gone for quite some time.

When John got better after the first incident, he jumped right back into fishing, hunting, crafting…, giving. He got healthy. Then he ran the club and became President – again! He and Pat traveled, hosted the Board Meetings at their house for years, chock full of goodies to eat, dogs and cats, until the C-word stopped it. And travel they did.

This last time, John didn’t come back. He passed peacefully. Selfishly, because we loved him so very much, we’re kind of upset, sad, heartbroken, and grateful for all he meant to us – a tiny portion mentioned here. A celebration of John’s life is planned for November13th, at 1:00 PM, at Chaminade.
30 years. Half of my life. More than two-thirds as long as the club has been around. How did that happen? It wasn’t until this week I thought of it this way, knowing so many of you half of my life and some of the best parts of it. You join this club and it’s like Hotel California – you can check out, but you can never leave!

Don’t be afraid to get involved. It will change your life. You will find introductions turn into friends, turn into family.

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Getting Through the Storm, Planning the Future

by Getting Through the Storm, Planning the Future!

Well at this writing, Mona and I are in Florida helping Emily batten down the hatches for Hurricane Ian which is set to bring heavy rains and winds to her community near Ocala.   It is practically a divine appointment, because this trip was a last-minute plan, no hurricane in the picture, just some time to get out to help our daughter with her place and visit.   Getting out may be equally as interesting since we’re supposed to leave right as it grazes Gainesville with heavy rain.

Planning.  How many times have we planned something and then it doesn’t happen, or something changes our plans – like COVID?!    Well, that’s what happened to our Annual Dinner / Fundraiser many of us have cherished and looked forward to for decades.   That event is so much fun, most of us who plan, volunteer, and participate, know it is a full day of fun together – and the very next best thing to fishing together.   All the prep beforehand, coffee and donuts in the morning – just like fishing together.   Covid really put a damper on this for the last couple of years, which seems like centuries – BUT – no more.   Hang on to your britches family – we are going to have the Annual Fundraiser again – on February 18th.   Mark your calendars.     More to follow, but plan for an event that starts early in the day, is full food, fun, the installation and acknowledgement of our members, board members and other fun stuff, AND the raffle!!    This has normally been our largest fundraising event for our facility, conservation funds, events, and our scholarship fund.    So stay tuned for more.

The fly-tying classes are back in full swing at the Grange, the second Wednesday of the month.  If you are interested in taking some wintertime to tie up some bugs – get to the basics and other good foundational techniques and tools to use for your own fly-tying.  I love tying flies on those shorter winter rainy days and evenings.  If you haven’t ever taken a class – great!  Reach out to Elaine Cook and you’re in.  We all started with ugly bugs that still caught fish!

We will have another casting class at Jade Street Park last Saturday in October, so please stay tuned.   We can work on single hand Spey techniques which are excellent for some of our local Steelhead waters when that time comes this fall and winter.   And for those of you wanting to work on anything else – we’re game – bring it!!

Fish-outs for the 2023 year are already getting on the calendar.  Check it out.   Make a plan ahead of time.    If you want to join us at Kennedy Meadows on Sonora Pass next year and you want to stay in a cabin – even a small one – get on the list with them now.    Most cabins book nearly a year in advance.  It’s a beautiful place to be in the summer.

I am super grateful for our board – your board, and all they have done to help you make the very best of your own fly-fishing dreams.   We are continuing to develop our “hybrid-meetings” and kudos needs to go out to Scott Kitayama and Tommy Polito for continuing to improve this experience, despite some of the pitfalls.    We are still working on getting speakers to physically come to the meetings, but some of them are just so good we will likely continue to have some of our speakers via zoom.

Thanks, Jeff Goyert, for making the best raffle in all the Northern California clubs.   The prizes are awesome and the opportunity for every member to participate is the best thing we can offer the membership.  Don’t forget – those raffle dollars go directly into the clubs scholarship and conservation funding, amongst other club necessities.

I’ve read a couple of good books lately.  Of course, they revolve around that which makes our fly-fishing enjoyable.   Both books are eye openers.  One more scientific; the other more passionate, deep, compelling, mysterious.  Both a very good read.  First one, “Salmon Without Rivers”, by Jim Lichatowich.   An easy-to-read scientific write about the history of salmon and steelhead and her delicate and vital habitat.   Thank you, Carly Blanchard, for allowing me this good read.  If you don’t know what we did to the rivers, habitat and other species just barely 150 years ago – you need to read this.    Another good one is “My Story as Told by Water”, David James Duncan.    A series of chapters around all forms of trout, steelhead, salmon, some deep passionate and activist revelations, some significant successes, and some interesting takes on Salmon from the perspective of how they were perceived long before we turned them into an industry.  Thank you Jeff Goyert for this one.  I highly recommend both books.   Would love to hear what you guys read as I’m needing a new one.   I suppose if you write to me with a suggestion, it means you read this President’s message!

Thank you to everyone who has been active in the club.   I love seeing all the enthusiasm, new ideas, new members.   I love getting to know you even if I only see you once or twice a month.   For me, the club is a respite from the storm I look forward to so often.    And as we are getting back to the Grange in person, it sure is fun seeing you now more often or even the very first time.

Spread the word – the plan is it keeps getting better and better because of you.    See you soon.

Tom

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A Time To Remember- September!

by Tom Hogye

Well, here we are entering September!    Wow!  What a year getting back to “normal”.

I don’t want to rub it in, but if you missed the August Club BBQ for any reason in excusable, we really missed you.   What fun it was to see more than sixty of you at the Sherriff’s Posse Hall and how fun it was.

Shout out to Kevin Murdock and David South for working their magic at the BBQ and for taking the time to go to the store, get all the food, condiments, utensils, set up, and tear down/clean up at the end.   If any of you enjoyed the squash, those were Tromboncino and Green Squash from my garden.   Yum. Yum.

To all of you who brought items for the swap portion, that was really awesome.   Those funds will be going toward our high school scholarships.   And thank you to Elaine Cook for carefully organizing all of Doug Severin’s fly-tying materials into specific categories of which I think each bag easily had a life-time of fly-tying materials for each.   To say that I have so much fun doing the raffle with Jeff Goyert – who is expert at orchestrating the raffle and who easily and willingly takes your money – understatement.   It’s a blast calling out the numbers messing with you guys.  Just glad you play along nicely.  Way to go Ester and Dar for triple winnings and coincidently being great fly-tiers who helped Elaine last month.    You couldn’t stage this better.

Ernie Kinzli, our founding father – so to speak – was present and I was grateful to introduce him to a number of you who weren’t around during the days when he ran his fly-shop in Santa Cruz, then in Soquel right at the bridge of Soquel Creek, Ernie’s favorite haunt for Steelhead and Coho, back in the day.  Ernie donated a classic mix between a float tube and a raft that breaks down into it’s own carrying pack.  Watch for it in upcoming events.   The proceeds for that will be going to the scholarship fund.  Thank you, Ernie!

Ernie Kinzli

I cannot begin to say thank you enough to everyone.  When they say distance makes the heart grow fonder, that could not be more true.   I was just happy to finally see so many of you after this war we’ve been waging for far too long.

As my second, and unprecedented, term as your President begins to wind down, I am going to be at a loss for words given all the emotion, memories, and support I have to be thankful for.   Okay – kidding about the ‘loss for words’ part!   But anyhow, I’m not going anywhere and will be around to continue supporting the club, you, and doing some other fun stuff – like teaching the casting classes!

I LOVE casting.   I’m probably a better “caster” than I am an angler – or one who catches fish.   I’ve just loved learning all the way back to 1992 when Mona and I saw a couple of guys fly-fishing on the Stanislaus, and when we went to the Fly Fishing Show, I tried out a Sage SP (which I still have), and got my first “lesson” from Randy Swisher, none other than the infamous Doug Swisher’s son.

I practiced in the grasses at Ed Levin Park in Milpitas during my lunch breaks practically till my arm fell off.   Then when we had the “Con-Fab” in February – which I’m hoping we’ll bring back – I just had to beat Kathy Powers at the distance casting.   Nothin doin.  Kathy is an amazing caster, and probably the best dressed of all of us – any day of the week.    But I loved casting.

Then Walt Robinson, who was a member of this club and the San Jose club, was a Master Casting Instructor and fly-tier, gave me some lessons and helped me rig my reel with backing, line, butt section with a nail knot, and blood know to tippet so my line would turn over as beautifully as it should, provided I did what I was supposed to.

Walt suggested I go for my Casting Certification – which I did at the following years Fly-Fishing Show.   I was so new back then, and I still wasn’t as good as I really needed to be.   Ironically, that morning when I was casting on the casting pond, it was frozen over.   Burrr.     You should have seen my roll cast – more like a whip and a splat.

But I digress.  I love casting and while I’m far from expert, I enjoy seeing you improve, get it, and how you start controlling line so you know exactly where you can put a fly no matter the conditions.   Sure distance is a part of casting as the good fish always seem to be on the other side, or just a little bit farther.    And you will get there, working your way from the closest water first, and the farthest water last.   Often stopping somewhere in between, hitting the honey hole.

So come join me and the rest at Jade Street Park for the rest of the summer, last Saturday of the month – 1:30.    When winter comes, and we get some good water on the San Lorenzo, we can do some spey casting in the estuary, or some “chuck n duck” in the gorge.  And when Spring comes again, we can pull out the shooting heads for Pyramid and Surf Perch Striper fishing.      Can you say double haul?

See you at the Grange for an informative gig with Trout Unlimited and what we’re all working to do to restore salmon and steelhead habitat in the most challenging of times.

Keep em wet people.    Peace out.   Tom

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What’s In Your Fly Box?

by your President, Tom Hogye

As I sat drinking my delicious coffee on our third morning at Kennedy Meadows, I had all my Trout fly boxes out to look at what I had left that I’d want to throw at the fish the next couple of days.  Everything tastes and feels better when you’re in the mountains, especially the coffee.   As we fished hard the last few days, the rewards were great, but the sacrifices many.   For me it as a few wear marks on my feet from wet wading in sandals, and the loss of flies I’d been doing so very well with.

I love the mornings up here, especially early before anyone else is awake.   The only technology to behold was the lantern, the coffee pot and my fly boxes.    No rushing to respond to anything.   Just the contemplation of what will work next.

This trip was even nicer with the addition of some of our club members and good friends.  Scott, Bob, Cecilia, Sophia, and Kathryn.   The opportunity to fish together, laugh, eat, and chill by the campfire or coffee together in the morning.   We are nominating Kathryn for both the Otter and Alligator award at our Annual Dinner in January.   This gal out-fished all of us and carried the battle scars to prove it, first day getting a black eye, from a fall.  The next day attempting to cause yours truly to pass out with a hook deep in her finger and that barb she thought was pinched, wasn’t completely, scaring all the bears in the forest as Cecilia tried to help with that pull it out quick with some leader looped around it trick.  Then, after landing yet another sizeable fish in a challenging piece of water, decided to go for an early morning swim after nearly donating her rod and reel to the Stanislaus in homage to the fish she caught.   The most beautiful spirit and super fun person, who would have stayed the duration if not for the untimely, but perhaps timely, passing of her father who would have wanted her to be fishing and to keep fishing when he departed – which she did, but then headed home as anyone would have done.  I am so looking forward to next year already.   What a blast we had.

A fly box can tell you a lot about yourself, or someone else.    It’s not just a box that holds your flies.  It could possibly be a reflection of you.   At least that’s my observation as I stare into these somewhat organized but deliberate assortments within.  Then there’s those other folks.    You know; you’ve seen those meticulously organized boxes with dry flies, hoppers, nymphs, perfectly arranged by type, size, weight.    Maybe six or more of the same flies all in a row, color coordinated, labeled on the outside, some even stacked in their own fly box holders, ready to be selectively stuffed into a vest depending upon what body of water is being fished.  Hundreds of them.   And I’m just talking trout boxes.  If you’re like me, and you see these fly boxes in a raffle, scoop them up, and after a few years, they never look that way ever again!

My fly boxes are somewhat organized but are a scattered collection no less.  Nymphs, attractors, dry fly, wet fly, fly flies and un-fly flies, all together.   And while I may have originally had six or more all neat in a row, I’ve fished them, lost them, and usually replaced the empty spaces with different flies.   And I don’t have just one box like this.  They’re all that way.  Probably because if I only had one box, I’d want it to cover top, sub-surface and dredging.   Some are even flies I’ve acquired, but never used.  Or flies I’ve used and purposely tried not to lose, an attempt to keep at least one of them in the box so I know to either tie some up on a cold rainy winter night or buy some at the next fly shop I visit.   Some I’ve used just for teaching because they really look like the bugs they are imitating, or a frog, a mouse.     Kid’s love to see that when you open the box and a fly is tied like a mouse – I guess it isn’t a “fly”, is it?!

I know all the flies in the boxes, which ones I’ve used where, and even remember fish they’ve caught.     In the latest instance, I had these quite favorable BWO’s (Blue Wing Olive’s) with a trailing shuck for a tail.  They were terrifically effective, and I felt they could catch a thousand fish.  But I lost my last one on a fish this week, and I couldn’t tell you where in any of my fly boxes there was a space for one, let alone six of them in anymore but one size or two.

Your fly box is also a memory holder.  When you open each one, a flood of memories embraces you – hopefully most of them good memories.   If you’ve had that fly box for as long as you’ve been fly fishing, the box alone is a memory.  You remember when you got it, why, from whom, and with all those flies, you remember the fish, the day, the experience casting that fly, the take, the play, landing that beautiful specimen, and its safe release back into the wild.   The high-five you had with the friend with you, or the extraordinary gratitude you had for the gift, the peace and tranquility as you look at all the beauty around you.

No doubt the next time I see a Blue Winged Olive in my fly box, I’m going to remember this trip and especially those who were with us who made it most enjoyable.

See you Wednesday at the Barbeque and Swap Meet – Sherriff’s Posse Hall, Ocean Street Extension.

Tom

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Happy Summer – We Want to Hear from YOU!

by Tom Hogye

 

Happy Summer – I hope you are getting out to do some fishing, hiking, exploring, resting, and taking good care of yourself wherever you are these days.

I just returned from a brief respite in the Eastern Sierra and while it was a plan to fish as much as I could, I was just happy to be away from the hustle and bustle of life’s daily activities, in remote wilderness with my best friend, and adventurer wife, Mona.     While Mona is a pretty good fly-angler and loves the water, she’s also really engaged in finding minerals, crystals, and semiprecious stones when we’re out and about.    I’m always just looking for gold.   And no – haven’t found any yet.   But it sure does take us to some of the most beautiful places in California.

I want all of you to know that this Newsletter is for you.  Part of what makes this club so fun and such a terrific resource is all of YOU!

If you look on the website, you’ll see the Newsletter “button” and under that button, you’ll see a place where YOU – yes – YOU – can Submit an article, a photo, a short snippet of something about you, about fly-fishing, maybe even searching for gold!   AND, you can add really cool things like pictures, just like I get to do every month.  You can too!!    It’s easy and we want to hear from you.   Who knows, you might just be the next Norman MaClean, Steinbeck, David James Duncan, …  or you might just be the member another member would love to hear from.

It’s easy.  Go to the Newsletter Button -> Article Submission -> Submit Page.   Don’t be scared – It won’t bite!

There really aren’t that many rules, just your name, email address, month you might want this published.   It’s not necessary to write a note to the Newsletter editor, but if you want to – go ahead!   You cannot make a mistake.

You do have to pick an Article Category.  But don’t worry, if you make a mistake, we’ll fix it – easy.

Article Title – Be Creative!  Or just be simple!

Author Byline – It’s really just your name.  Or if you go by another name as a writer, then feel free to express yourself.    I sometimes go by Brad Pitt!  Or Pauly!

Article Text – Now this is maybe a bit tricky.   I always type my note in a Word Document.  I save it then “Select All” – copy and paste in to the “Article Text” area.   Now you don’t have to do that, but it bears mentioning that if you are writing some really good stuff and think you might win a Pulitzer Prize or think it will then get published in Gray’s Journal or Fly-Fishing Magazine – you should save it as a Word document.   If you don’t and your just typing free text in the Article Text field, and PG&E decides it’s time for a PSBS (Power Safety Bull…) and the power goes out.  Well, there goes yer Pulitzer Prize.  Or it’s like havin a Rogue River Steelhead on your line for about 15 seconds, long enough to get excited thinkin the God’s have just answered yer prayers, only to see the thing jump in the air and send yer Hobo Spey into the Stratosphere.  Trust me.  Save your stuff in Word, copy, and paste into the body of the Article Text.    Oh, and don’t worry about all the Bold, Italics, Font, bullet stuff at the top.  I never use that.   Just copy and paste or if yer gutsy, free text in that space and go for it!

Saving in Word will also help you with your editing especially if you have a newer Word version that alerts you to all the spelling errors yer makin  – like these I leave here intentionamentally.

Article Summary – you don’t really need one of these, but it’s okay to put something there – in the event you’re creating the next best seller and need a “Foreward” maybe stated as said by someone the likes of Brad Pitt.    But not necessary.

Source – It’s pretty self explanatory.  I never use it.   Mostly because I’m not plagiarizing anyone – at least not that I know of!

Featured Photo – Now this is where I get excited!  Every month I get to post another picture of myself, loving where I am, who I am with, and just plain love looking at pictures of me with other people I like in places I like to be.  Okay – you guessed it – I just like lookin at pictures of me!

Okay – seriously.  The photos should be saved somewhere on your computer, and it should be simple.   Click on the “Choose File” button.   Go to the folder where that beautiful photo is and “Select” it.   You can add a simple caption.  Easy – but not necessary.

Additional Photos –   You can also “drag and drop” up to 6 more photos, that our illustrious editor will carefully place within the article.

Then “Submit” – and be patient – wait for your computer to catch up and that’s it!  You are now officially a published author and potentially the next Pulitzer Prize winner!

It is much simpler than I’ve written – a short – hey we went fishing here, I had a great time, love the club and think Tom Hogye is the best …., put a couple photos in there and presto you’re in.

So next month I’m hoping I see a wonderful selection of work from all of you.  Because without YOU, we would not be!

Grateful for all of you.   Hogye

P.S.   You can’t submit a President’s Line – until yer President!! 🙂  But it sure is fun when you can!

 

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Vapor Trails, UFOs and the Love of Fly Fishing

The absolute most difficult part of being President of this Club, especially after so many years getting to know so many of you, calling you family, friends, is when we lose someone to an untimely passing.    This isn’t supposed to happen in a fly-fishing club – is it?

As many of you know already and by the extraordinary outpouring of your hearts on the club mail account is the untimely passing of our beloved Steve Rudzinski.    So many of you described Steve and his character in the most beautiful of ways.  A staple at the Pyramid Lake fish-out always rallying everyone together.  A consistent O’Neil Forebay Fish-out master who would do everything to set up a successful adventure for everyone and especially newcomers, before he began catching is first fish – which he did very well.    And the Casting classes he came up with on his own, that turned into one of the most successful monthly events and fun gatherings on the lawns at Jade Street Park.   If there was an activity, an event, a gathering, at SCFF, or MBSTP, Steve was one of the first to volunteer.  As many of you heard me say – we will never see a vapor trail ever the same way again, and I guess in a cool way, they will always remind me of Steve.   And the UFO’s.    How wonderful to be so transparent and so genuine.     I really wanted to go bowling with him.

The ole saying is better to have loved and lost than never loved at all.

And so it goes.    Until we meet again Steve, thank you for your heart and soul my friend.

June is upon us.

The fishing will be good, the summer hot, and plenty of comradery to be had with all at SCFF.   I hope you have all you need to be fishing from the surf to the Sierra and beyond.     Mona and I will be heading east to dabble in the Sierra rivers this weekend and I’m looking forward to that solace one finds out on the water, in the environ as natural, untouched, and far away as possible.   If that’s possible.

These next couple of weeks, we’re handing out scholarships to the high-school students as part of our commitment to the future of the environment, fly-fishing and the club.   Hopefully, these long-term investments will pay dividends for the benefit of our environment, even if it’s long after we’re gone, but hopefully sooner.

I saw a sign the other day that stated, “The planet was far better without us”.    True.    I hope as the future becomes more diverse, more aware of what we’ve done in the name of progress, those youth of today will shape tomorrow a bit better for the fish.    If the fish can thrive, anything can.    I’ve often said the fish are today’s canary in the coal mine.     Sure, they aren’t all warm and cuddly like a puppy, cat or stuffed bear, but not much on the planet can survive if the fish aren’t here.    Steve had his vapor trails and UFO’s; I have my beef with development and water.   Oh well – Lani Waller once told me, we each have our fights and to keep fighting the good ones.

Our June meeting will be at the Grange and on Zoom.  Yay!    So much fun being back together and at the same time giving those who can’t make it to the grange, an opportunity to hang out with us, even if we’re still ironing out the bumps of making it all happen together.    Come to the June meeting with a chance to see each other.    As many of you know, we don’t have a July meeting because of the 4th of July week, and August will be our annual club BBQ, Swap Meet and Raffle again at the Sherriff’s Posse Hall.

Elaine is having fly-tying classes in person at the Grange, which is great, so check in and learn all you need to know about the foundation for tying flies at the vice, or vices for fly tiers!     Materials are provided, check in with Elaine for any other particulars by class.

If you would like to be more involved with the club, come to a Board meeting.   We have fun, don’t bite, and could use your help.  Plenty of good opportunities to make a difference in the world, lead, be part of change, fun activities, and the opportunity to Promote, Educate and Enjoy the sport of fly fishing.   If you’re interested, reach out to me, or any of our esteemed board members, we’d love to have you.

Lots of fishing opportunities in the Fish-Out schedule, but if you still don’t see what you’re looking for, be sure to use the Club Google group email and put out a few feelers where you might want to fish, what you want to fish for.  You will get a wealth of information from your fellow members.  Where to fish, what to fish with, when, …    You might even find yourself with a few companions go to with you.

Get out there -have Fun.   Make a new friend.   Life is too short.

Peace out.   Tom

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Wabbit Season! Duck Season! No – it’s Trout Season!

The days are getting lighter longer – my favorite time of the year, when you think you overslept because it’s light out, but realize its only 6:30.    At least on the weekends.

Last month I mentioned pilgrimages. That trip to the Rogue with Mike Diciano (Rich had to cancel last minute unfortunately) and with Humble Heron Fly Fishing – James and Kait Sampsel, was as it should have been, with the only exception being a selfish desire to get a trophy shot with a big steelhead.   While we had several hookups over the 3 days, and Mike did land a nice size fish, you saw on the club page, the trip was epic.  I’d say one of the nicest parts was being completely disconnected from all news, cell, internet, even newspaper – for almost 4 full days.

Boy if you didn’t have a chance to hear Gordon Tharrett’s presentation on the Green River, you’ve got to explore that.    No wonder we’ve had a fish-out there for the last 30+ years.   And the fishing (catching) is still as good as it ever has been.   Thank God for some watershed stewardship especially around healthy fish population and fly-fishing.   Stay tuned for some follow up information on fly-fishing the Green River – where to stay, costs, …

At this writing I come off of celebrating 60 years on this planet.   When I first joined the club in the fall of ’91, most of the Board called me “kid”.   I’m glad some still do.   30 years goes by fast doesn’t it!   And to make things interesting, it was 40 years ago I moved myself from my home in East Cleveland (Wickliffe) to the Santa Cruz area, all in the pursuit of a crazy horse sport called Vaulting.   We just had a bunch of those friends at the house and I’m glad so many of us are still close after 40 years.

I suppose if I never kept track of years in numbers, I’m grateful there are times I still feel like I’m 12, 25, 35, or 42.  Particularly physically and mentally.  It’s really just a number, isn’t it?    While I’ve had a couple of ball joints that need replacement, the regular maintenance, fuel in the tank, and keeping things in order – for the most part, has provided that sort of outlook on life.    My most favorite way to wade is just as I did when I was a kid – shorts and sandals – in the summer of course.    And I don’t mind the cold, the rain, or slogging for more than a couple miles to cover some good water and the environment that water flows through.   I can still cast like I did when I was 30, maybe even a little better, and I’ve learned spey casting techniques, which while super fun with a big two-handed rod, are also very good to use at times when fishing with a single-hand rod.    You might wonder why “42”, well, that’s when I think I was mentally and physically at my highest fitness.    I could still run like a gazelle, and I was riding my bike like a crazy person, racing and just getting out for long fast rides with a bunch of people.    12?  Its how I feel most when I retire at night, reading before I go to sleep, remembering when I was just that age, thanking God for my family, my friends, what I had and what I wanted to have in the future.   Not so much, material things, but health, safety, and well being for me, my friends and family.   So I still feel that same way.    25 and 35 were just good years.   I was still made of rubber at 25, and 35 was just sort of normal – I could build stuff all day long – which I did, when Mona and I bought our place in Ben Lomond, and were in the midst of figuring out how to be parents.   Yes, there were times later when fly fishing took a back seat to all those responsibilities raising a family, building a home, making the most of my work, but it was always still there.    It still is and likely will always be.  There will always be that calling for the great outdoors, the solace fly-fishing, those beautiful trips we take with those we love and friends we’ve met along the way.    Those trips where we explore new places on this planet we’ve never been to before, and the people we meet along the way.   The gear and the flies we get to use, get to save up for, and which become a part of the memories in our lives.

And so it goes.   It’s not about the numbers that add up, but the experiences, memories, family, friends we keep adding to this thing called life.   I’m grateful to be where I am now, with all of you, my fam, friends and what is yet to come.

These next few months are going to be fun.   I hope you will join us, both at the Aptos Grange, and on Zoom.  Yep, we’re still going to have our speakers on Zoom, for those of you who just can’t make it to the Grange – AND, we’re still holding the raffle on-line, so you don’t have to be present to win something awesome for your fly-fishing needs.

May is going to be the legendary Al Quatrocchi.   He is going to be showing us what you can do for salt water fly fishing for Corbino, and other species.    We’ll be meeting at the Grange, but Al is going to present so everyone even on Zoom will be able to attend.

We have Casting classes at Jade Street park the last Saturday of every month – 1:30 p.m. now. With an opportunity to grab a beverage and something to eat after over at Carpo’s and Beer Thirty.   Come join us. Stosh and company do a great job of providing you with everything you need to hone your casting.

July we don’t typically have a club meeting because it’s around the 4th of July – and that will be the same this year.

August – mark your calendars – we’ll be having a fun outdoor club barbeque, raffle and swap meet at the Sherriff’s Posse Hall again, which should be an awesome time to be together.

Thanks for all you do for the club, and if you’re inclined, the Board could use your help.   We currently have openings for Secretary, Web Master, Facilities and more.   Don’t be shy – we’d love to have your help.

See you in a couple weeks.

 

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Pilgrimages

by Tom Hogye

April showers bring May flowers.  What does May flowers bring?   Pilgrims.

We can only hope for April showers, given California is once again entering another few years of low water (drought).

Isn’t pilgrim a funny word?  Who came up with that one?   We never use that word to define someone entering a country anymore.  Sound more diffusing, comforting, than the words immigrant or migrant.   Writing this caused me to look up the word.   I figured it was just because they were people discovering a new country.   Turns out, it is “a person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons”.   As in the English Puritans fleeing religious persecution on the Mayflower and landed here in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620.

A person who travels on long journeys – pilgrimage.

I like traveling on long journeys for fly-fishing reasons, which we could all argue are in fact religious.   Aren’t they?

Don’t we all meditate, flee reality, think deeply, clear our minds, take deep breaths, sigh a big relief, love friends, love the outdoors, and pray considerably in all manners of the exercise of this sport?

How many times I’ve asked God for just one fish, or for my son, my daughter, my wife, my friend, to catch a fish while we are out.  So they know how exciting it really is to cause one of these creatures to take this bundle of fur and feather on a tiny hook, bring it to hand, admire it’s beauty.  The enormous power we have over it, but how gently and carefully we act to watch it swim away.   That feeling when it has left our hands.  A gift it was to us, and a gift we gave back so that it could continue living.

How many times I’ve stopped, looked around, shook my head and sometimes cried because I couldn’t believe how beautiful it is where I am standing, with whom I’m standing, and how fortunate I was to be there.    How hard it was to get there and how many times I figured I might not get there.     But oh how worth it, it was, and how you couldn’t imagine making another decision, glad you did.   If it was easy, everyone would do it, and it just wouldn’t feel the same – would it?

A pilgrimage, perhaps several, is necessary for all of us.   Living – I mean really living – requires them.   Some of them are small – perhaps a morning, an afternoon, or an evening.   Some, you make sacrifices, working hard for several months, several years, perhaps much of your life.  You save, plan, organize, and maybe you pray it all works out.   You battle, ‘should I go, or should I not go.’ Sometimes over and over again.  Sometimes in the middle of the night when work, family, or something else stirs you to thinking you shouldn’t go.   You pray it’s the right decision to take the time and go.   Some might say it’s just fishing – and aren’t you lucky, or they tell you there are other, more important things you should be doing.   But there aren’t.   This is it.

You know when you’ve left, when your feet are finally in the water, all of those things you battled before you made the trip, are gone.   In a second.   They washed away as soon as you stepped in the water.    Your first cast makes you take a deep breath, exhale, and you feel an enormous weight lifted; gone.   Your focus turns completely to that bundle of fur and feather, ten, thirty, sixty feet away from you, drifting in the column of water.   Nothing else comes to mind but that tiny little bundle at the end of that line, in that body of water, on this entire planet.   Nothing.   You wait, you watch, you listen.   You pray.

When I was a kid, my pilgrimages where to my Gram’s Cottage on the weekends, leaving school, my paper-route, and any issues my parents might have, grabbing my Ugly Stick, tackle box and heading for the water.   Even those were tough to get to at times.   As we “mature”, pilgrimages seem to get larger, a bit more involved, riskier.  As they should.  But I suppose the more grand the adventure, the more religious, the experience.

I really didn’t mean to write this with pilgrims or pilgrimage in mind.   It was the fact it was raining, that we haven’t had any rain, and my hope for April showers, and maybe even some May and June showers, would help us get through another low water year.    But I learned a bit more about pilgrims and pilgrimages.

And while it was certainly not a need to flee religious persecution, or flee for any reason, I’m not often given an opportunity to take some time and plant my feet in a big river for a few days.    So, at this writing, I’m making a bit of a pilgrimage to the Rogue to fish with Kait and James from Humble Heron Fly-Fishing, casting my thirteen six, eight weight spey rod, swinging big flies for steelhead.   Grateful for Rich’s invite, even though he cannot make it, which I will miss a lot.  But, I certainly cannot wait to get in the truck with Mike, and get my feet in the water, feel everything wash away, take a deep breath, focus on that bundle of fur and feathers and pray for the opportunity to bring a Steelhead to hand, witness a beauty all its own, and know that feeling of letting it slip out of my hands, back to the water it belongs to.   Maybe a few times!

Each one of them changes you.   Recharges, renews you.   Make a pilgrimage or twelve.

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Let’s Get Together!!

by Tom Hogye - President

We have a lot of talent in our community.   For a fly-fishing club, in a surf community that was once mostly a retirement town with surfers and outdoorsy people, we became a fly-fishing club.

You might find it interesting, that we really don’t have that much fly-fishing around here anymore.    Certainly not a “trout stream”.    But did you know that as far back as the early 20’s, hatcheries were built along the San Lorenzo for the purposes of supplanting year round trout fishing?    That’s right!  Back in the 20’s, clear through the 50’s, you could fish the San Lorenzo, and most, if not all, of her tributaries for trout – all year.    And your limit – per day?!    25 fish.   At least for a while.    Then it went to something like 5 or 10.

True!   I remember Jim Lazarotti, who spent his life here, from the 50’s until he passed away in 2008, working to save the San Lorenzo, telling me that he would fish Zayante Creek before school catching fish his mom would make for dinner.

We often marvel at the catch rates from the old days, but I also wonder if those catch rates were not also kill rates, would the rivers and tributaries have been better today.    Probably not.

The surf, cars and airplanes, have provided us the ability to be fly-anglers with plenty of opportunities to feed our desire to be out of doors, in the water, marveling at fish, and all things within those elements of the healthy habitats where we find these creatures.  Fluttery things, crawly things, four footed and two footed (Big Foot and Sasquatch! – just seeing if you’re paying attention), perhaps some peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of being stuck at home or afraid to go somewhere, with or without a mask, because of a pandemic.  Which, by the way, is ending.  Funny how it’s now called an endemic.    Weird cuz it wasn’t called a begindemic.    Never mind.

I hope if you’re reading this after February 27th, you got to go to the Fly-Fishing show in Pleasanton on the 25th to the 27th.   I am so excited to be going again, especially since so many of you are also going.   I’m sure there is something I still need there even after now 30 years of fly-fishing under my belt.

I’m also excited about our March meeting as it will be at the Grange, with a raffle, an in person guest speaker – Dagur – from Iceland.   And a chance to see some of you who I only just met these last 2 years via Zoom – in person!    At this meeting, we are also going to work on our “hybrid” solution, which is to run the meeting in person and via Zoom for those who can’t make it.   Please bear with us as we may bump along at this meeting, trying to dial in the technology we need to become our own 1 million subscriber YouTube channel.   Okay, kidding.   We really just want to be good for those who can’t be at the meeting in person and can still enjoy the club meeting.

In this newsletter you will also read some beautiful tributes to three of our long-time members who left this planet this year.   Matt Murphy, Jim Black and Pat Murray, all of whom were beloved members, family and friends with their own special gifts they bestowed on the club, their family and those who were very close to them.

If you have a knack for writing – please note that you can write a nice article, or even just a few sentences, and publish it in our Newsletter.  Yes – You!   Just find the tab on the website, under Newsletter, Article Submission, fill out the details, the write your article.   Easy.  We’d love to hear from you and put your input in our newsletter.

Michael McGannon has been our Marketing and “merch” guy for several years.   I’m super grateful for Michael, because every time we’ve been together, he’s often drawing on a napkin – which I’m constantly stealing from him to hide in my own personal collection.   The Picaso fish, the multi-caster, the tangled mess, and others he’s drawn up.    At one of our last meetings, I explained to the board I wanted to have something related to Santa Cruz – Santa Cruz Fly Fishing.   So what better way to describe that than on a surf board!    This is an initial rendition that Michael drew up for me, and I love it.   Note the Striper in the waves.    Truth be told, is I got this idea from an old advertisement Salz Leathers used to promote a leather they made called “Surfer”.    It was a waterproof leather we made for the likes of Timberland and Wolverine boots.   Similarly, it was a heifer surfing.   Likely a native heifer – but that’s another story.      I envision this one being refined a bit, then being available as a T-Shirt – Santa Cruz Fly Fishing.   Who knows, maybe we can get the “Santa Cruz” logo on it and sell it in the surf shops!!  Wouldn’t that be a hoot!    Thank you Michael!!

I’ve really enjoyed our Zoom meetings.   I don’t know what we would have done if it weren’t for that technology which until then, was just a way for companies to hold fancy meetings in conference rooms and offices and for those who might have been “remote” for one of those meetings.   I am certain Zoom never thought they’d be taking on the whole world when the begindemic occurred.   And while we often use fly-fishing to get away from it all – it all – meaning technology, that very “technology” has made fly-fishing infinitely more enjoyable, perhaps a bit easier to learn, and Zoom gave us a chance to break down barriers, not otherwise possible.

But I sure am looking forward to seeing you, shaking your hand in person.  My only regret is that I won’t be able to “mute” you all when it comes to start the meeting.

See you soon!!  Really – not kidding!!

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President’s Letter

Hello Everyone. January was another first in SCFF’s 45 year history – a “hybrid” club meeting. Would any of us thought of the “inter-web” when this club first started? I suppose in 1977, if you said someone was using a cell phone, it was likely because they were in Jail. The internet might have been presumed to be some fancy fly-fishing term for the inside of your net, or what was in your net. Gore-Tex might have been some sort of Texas horror show.
If you’ve been around fly-fishing long enough, you will meet some of the nicest people in the world. Truly. You will also more likely meet “famous” people, who at least 99% of the fly fishing community knows, but only .0005% of the rest of the world does.

As I’m flying to Florida for work and to see Emily, I’m pouring through Fly Fisherman Magazine’s (hey wait, don’t they need a name change?!), 2022 Gear Guide. Wow! If you read this one, you’re sure to be seriously prompted and guilted into buying all the “necessary” gear in this issue. Seriously. They seem to hire writers who scribble in such eloquent, scientific, and perfunctory (I just like that word) manner as to make you feel that if you’re an educated person, you wouldn’t second guess or question their prescribed mandate to get out and put this stuff in your fly-fishing arsenal now, or you ain’t much of a fly-angler. That being said, I would be coming home with three pair of waders from all three vendors, fifteen new fly-rods, and equally as many fly-lines, four backpacks, a kayak, BOA wading boots (which I love by the way) that I must have, if I’m to be remotely successful in the trout or salt water fishing I might consider planning this year. No mention of two-handed Spey equipment for Steelhead or Salmon. Guess is they didn’t have enough room to publish or not enough interest.

Fly Fisherman Magazine has been one of the few publications that has outlasted many others over the last 30 years. Wonder what they will eventually do about the “erman” issue in the future.

I tried writing for the rag several years ago. They politely declined and helped me learn a bit about how one might end up being published in their rag, indicating that 90% of their readership were doctors, lawyers, and executive level subscribers, which sounded like people with a lot of money, were men and still smoked cigars (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I took that to meaning I didn’t use content within my text that would be enough of a challenge for their vocabulary, or the next winner on jeopardy.

Be that as it may, it isn’t Gray’s Journal, or Isaac Walton’s book, or that favorite Shooting Sportsman rag I used to subscribe to, and it is good to see it’s still around and writing good content. I did learn a lot about all the new gear out there and find that to be helpful especially as the end of February is the return to our Fly Fishing Show in Pleasanton, which many of our members will be going to. Jeff Goyert as even promised a tailgate party for lunch. It’s Feb 25,26, 27 – and you should definitely go – mask or no mask. It is completely worth it.

Some of us have been fishing the San Lorenzo, Soquel and Pescadero for Steelhead the last few weeks. Despite all the early rain we received, the good flows, the catch rates are very low. While I knew my chances to hook a fish were low, I went fishing. It is beautiful to be on the water, early, close to home, and it is so very peaceful. I’m grateful for that and need it. I hope the rain returns soon in the event the bigger spawning fish are still out there waiting for that

opportunity to come in and help the river survive another year. When the flows are lower than 100CFS, I tend to stay home. If you’re interested in when it might be less pressure on those fish holding in holes waiting for the flows to return, you can go to the USGS website www.waterdata.usgs.gov, and the river you fish. The San Lorenzo monitors the CFS of the river just below the rubber dam monster in Felton at the Henry Cowell Bridge. There is also a camera there shooting live video there. Some will tell you that below there other tributaries enter the San Lorenzo, so flow may actually be a bit higher, say in the lower gorge, but that measure is a good litmus for most.

Thank you all again for being such good spirited members despite the roller-coaster that Covid has been these last two years now. It has been good for us in a different way, especially with the opportunity to include members in so many activities where they couldn’t get to directly, but can enjoy via Zoom, our Instagram page and Facebook page. None of that would have happened as well as it did if it weren’t for Covid. We will get through this soon, and we are going to have fun fishing and casting, tying flies and helping to restore and preserve those waters special to you.
See you soon. Tom

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Happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, New Year

by Tom Hogye

Wow!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone and all you hold dear.    I hope you got all those fly fishing, fly-tying, casting, wading and outdoorsy things you wanted for the holiday.

I first want to thank each and every one of you for your extraordinary support and participation in Santa Cruz Fly Fishing.  I’m sure our founders, way back in 1977, would never have envisioned the fullness of our mission – “To Promote, Educate and Enjoy the sport of Fly-Fishing”.     It might surprise you that many of our original founders are still members of this club.   Yes, over 45 years.  So if you’re new – think of the possibilities!!

As I begin my 5th year as President, this is unprecedented to say the least.  But we’ve been dealing a lot with that word these last couple of years.    When I first joined the club in 1992, I was a young enthusiastic, infected person.   I had the bug badly.   I’d take my fly-rod to work with me and practice casting in the park near my work more than a few days a week.   I was tying the ugliest most unproportioned flies, but they were catching some fish, and I was getting better.   All of this long before the internet, YouTube, cell phones, …    Crazy to think of that.    When I was Conservation Chair from 93-96, I typed letters and faxed them to hundreds of people, as I began my stead to change the mindset of in our anadromous fisheries because, even as fly-anglers, we were all still hurting too many fish and we needed to show the world that the anglers were going to be the people who saved the Coho and Steelhead.    (Side note: – Keep your fish wet! In the water.   With today’s cameras and our insatiable desire to get good photos of fish, it is clear that we are all keeping fish out of the water way too long – for that photo or video clip of a lifetime which is likely the next reason fish mortality could be on the rise.   True!   Keep the fish in the water.)

In ’96 I accepted my first run at being President and loved it.   I suppose this is because, like today, I wasn’t alone.  I had the most awesome support from the membership and most importantly, the board, who today, also do more to support these efforts than I could ever imagine.

When I was President the first time, I took on the mantra that every idea was a good idea.  While we might not take on everyone of them, considering every idea gave birth to even more ideas that we put to work.    It let you share your own thoughts and wishes and enabled us to take that which you felt as a good thing, mold it, refine it, give you ownership and make it happen.   Like recently when Steve and Kevin did that pre-Christmas camping trip at New Brighton.   Turns out that was a blast and will be something we do again – and might be something we can do in combination with a surfperch fish-out in the Spring or Summer!   Or some of us who are looking for someone to resurrect the Pack Fish-out – where you get on a horse for a few hours, ride to remote mountain lakes and/or streams, stay a few days and pack out later.

I wasn’t always a member.   After those first 12 years, my children, my job and building my home took over.  Emily was competing all over the world and Tommy liked bikes, so we started riding together and I started racing.  Yep – went from fly-fishing president to mountain bike racer.   Then Tommy started racing and I was helping coach the team – which in mountain bike racing, means you ride as hard, or harder than these teenagers.   Some of you remember when Tommy and Emily were tiny little tots running around the Grange during club meetings!!

All too soon, Emily was on her own and Tommy was now focusing on cars.    Mona would always ask me if I’d heard from anyone at the “fly club”, or if I was going to a meeting.   I’d always say that was a good idea, or that I was bummed because I just missed the meeting.    I would still get Christmas cards from John and Elaine, John and Pat, and Kathy Powers – every year.   Those tugged at my heart strings.  Oh – I was still fly fishing every year – still going to Kennedy Meadows, but my mountain bike took me on the San Lorenzo trails more than my fly-rod did.

Finally, that September 2017 meeting came around and all the stars aligned.   I was back.

I could not be more grateful for all of you.   Many of you know exactly who you are and how we pulled together so much fun around fly-fishing, teaching, conservation, and more.   Some of you have just joined and haven’t yet experienced the activities we do in the community and with other agencies such as the Coastal Watershed Council, Monterey Bay Salmon & Trout Project, the Kids Day at the Fair Grounds, our Public Day at Quail Hollow Ranch; Confab, fun with the Patagonia Store…  Hang in there.  We’ll be back to doing all of this and you’re not going to believe how much fun and how rewarding it is to share what you love with someone else.

As things get back to normal, and they will, our club meetings will be even more special, and we’ll still be able to engage those around the world – yes – really?   Yes, Santa Cruz Fly Fishing club members who live in other places in our world, but support the work we do to – what?   “Promote, Educate and Enjoy the Sport of Fly-Fishing”.

Our January meeting will be taking place at the Santa Cruz Sherriff’s Posse Hall on Ocean Street Extension the 5th of this month.   It is our annual club slide show, where your photos are the show for this month.   We will be having a Barbeque, with snacks and beverages, a super nice raffle, AND a swap meet.    Many of us will be there early, so if you want to help in any way, please reach out to Kevin Murdock or myself between now and the end of this week!!   Please RSVP through the form in the meeting article or email to scottkitayama@gmail.com

Happy New Year Santa Cruz Fly Fishing Club!!

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Wabbit Season. Duck Season. Steelhead Season! Bang!

Happy Holidays everyone.   I hope you are all doing well looking forward to time with family and friends this year.

For those of you who made it to April Vokey’s presentation and tutorial on two-handed rods and gear for big rivers, you might be asking Santa for a Skagit head, some Rio MOW tips, and a variety of Hobo-Spey flies in yer stockings!

As April mentioned in her presentation, “spey” casting techniques are not only effective for two-handed rods, but also very effective for single hand fly rods.   Most of you know the “roll cast”.   Spey casting is associated with the roll-cast, or is in fact a roll-cast (I dare say), but with certain movements with the rod, that put your line and leader in different places on the water in front of you or to the side of you.

I encourage all of you to explore “spey” casting techniques by searching the inter-web, YouTube…   You’ll come across some new casting names and begin to understand what they are; single-spey, double-spey, snap-T, Circle-C, and more.   All very effective when there is no room to cast behind you, or just another set of great casting techniques to add to your repertoire.

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel home to Ohio to see my mom and family.   I’m always timing these trips as a means to kick off the holiday season, and have a chance to fish for Lake run Steelhead on the Chagrin River, where I grew up fishing as a child.    This year I took my 13’ 6”, 8 weight two-handed rod, a box of steelhead flies and my waders.   Not much else you need.

When I arrived in Ohio it was a beautiful 70 degrees, but the water was low.  But weather changes quickly in these parts of the country and it’s common to get rain that will move the river from 150cfs to 400 or more, overnight.   Thursday was that day.    It has rained just enough to bring the river up.  Puffy clouds brought cover and contrast to the stunning fall colors still hanging on the maple, pin oak, buckeye and more.

It’s not always possible to time trips perfectly, but each time is an opportunity to get on the water with my brother Pat.   The river was beautiful and the flows made this place look about as close to a big British Columbia watershed as I could imagine.   We were on the water at 7:30 and immediately rolled two fish across the river, getting our hopes up quickly.    We fished hard till 10:00 then headed off to the Chagrin River dinner for a couple egg sandwiches and a hot cup of coffee before traveling about 30 seconds to the next place on the river.    Almost like it was here on the San Lorenzo in the old days.   If you don’t know this already, the San Lorenzo River was once noted as “The Most Famous” steelhead river on the Central Coast.   Mostly because guys brought their friends, and wives spent the weekend, went shopping, found easy access along the 11+ miles of fishable water, and found they could pull off the river and grab coffee, food, beer and whiskey in just minutes, no matter where they were on the river.   It was fun to do just that with my brother on the Chagrin, still in our waders and no one looking at us as differently.

The flow of the river enabled me to get a very good grasp on my spey casting techniques, delivery and swing.   It was soooooooo much fun.    When you can throw 80 feet of line almost effortlessly clear across the water and feel the line tug on your reel because it still wants to go farther – you’ll know what I mean.   As the wind picked up in the afternoon, I got to try a few other of the methods necessary- like the Perry Poke (coined after a fella named Carl Perry kept “blowing his anchor” – wait, what?…! – recovering his cast effectively.  Something that’s been done for 100 years, but never really called anything until spey casting anglers began naming it after Carl – at least that’s what I researched thus far), and casting with my right hand.    Yes – spey casting also teaches you to be ambidextrous.

Part of my timing in the coming years will be that time when the steelhead are in but the leaves have either not fallen off the trees yet, or are already completely fallen off.  As the day wore on, the wind gusts befuddled our success choking the water with leaves, and despite nice off-color water, I imagined hundreds of leaves bouncing off the noses of fish, causing them to hunker down no matter how colorful my flies tried to compete with the leaves.

Despite not landing any fish, it was the best day on the water with my brother on a river I never really appreciated as much as a kid.  Except, perhaps, on those warm summer days when Mike and I would quit fishing and go swimming!

The Great Lakes rivers are abundant with fish these days.   Not just lake run steelhead, but also Chinook, Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye (mostly in the lake), Perch, Catfish, Carp, Pike, and some Brown Trout.    None of the fish are small.   The Grand, Chagrin, Rocky and even the Cuyahoga, that river that once caught fire in the 60’s when it was so polluted with industrial waste, are all now healthy fisheries year-round.    There is a Facebook page for the area called Ohio Steelhead.   Look it up.

Well – a lot of fun in store for us in the coming months.   December is Gordon Tharrett who is going to present to us on the Green River in Utah – and fly-fishing Utah/Idaho areas.  He’s been a guide for a few of our members for years.   Don’t miss this one.

January 5th will be a time for us to extend the holidays with a BBQ, Big Raffle, installation of Board and Directors AND our annual Club slide show which will be a collection of all the member photos from all the fishing you did this past year.     We will be meeting at the Sherriff’s Posse Hall on Ocean Street Extension.   Mark your calendars.

It’s been a great year and its fun seeing all the new members participate in fishing, fly-tying, and jumping on the Board to be a driving force for the future of the club.    Super happy to see how this is coming together.   If you’re interested, let us know.    We still have a couple of positions we would love help with.

Happy Holidays.  Jump in – we’ll land a few together.    Tom Hogye – 831-214-7578

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Rain! Steelhead! April on November 2nd. December and January BBQ Slide Show

Ahhhh – October.  Wait – it’s almost November!

Admittedly, I was very skeptical and downright depressed when the middle of October came and went with no rain.   For me, rain signifies so much.   For a kid who grew up loving the change of seasons in Ohio, all of them, even especially when it snowed, I was desperate for a change from the same old boring sunshine and warm weather.   Seriously.   Long before I was a steelhead fisherman, I longed for fall and winter, and moving to California, rain was that chance to slow down, get inside, rest, tie some flies, watch some fly-fishing shows.

So, you can imagine my delight when it started to rain, and it kept raining.   It was almost like the first snow.   And I loved it.    The rain came gently, then strong, but never too strong.  We got 10” at home and the San Lorenzo came up from 10CFS to 500 at 6 p.m. cresting at 1,500 at 10 p.m.    All staying that nice tea brown color, never that dreadful chocolate milk that is a bi-product of scouring.   The river mouth opened by itself and rushed out to welcome steelhead and coho  – those genetic strains that have known for millennia that the San Lorenzo is home.

Let’s hope the rains continue throughout the winter in the same manner, that flows never get below 40 or 50 CFS at lowest and that the fish will thrive.  When they thrive – we thrive.

November Club meeting – Tuesday, November 2ndWhile I have your attention – please make note that November’s Meeting is Tuesday November 2nd – and will be via Zoom because April Vokey is going to be joining us to ring in the steelhead season with British Columbia Steelhead with Spey and Single-hand fly-rods.

Submit an Article Also, we want to hear from more of you.   Did you know you can submit an article for the newsletter simply by going to the Newsletter-Submit tab on the website, copy and paste something you wrote and submit it to our newsletter editor for publishing?   We want to hear from you!   And, if it’s not you, have one of your children write an article and submit it on their behalf.    You never know – you could have a writer on your hands and this could be there first published piece.   Submit a photo too – easy!!

Hey – if you haven’t been around, I want you to know that we miss you.   What an incredible year and a half this has been.

You know – it’s no coincidence that in April 2020, we launched our new-website and in May 2020 had our very first Zoom meeting.   Before that Zoom was part of a Mazda commercial and our web-site and Facebook page were just, sort of there, doing what it had been doing for the past 29 years.

Do you know even despite our not being able to meet in person, our membership has grown from an average of 150 to now more than 177 members.   We’ve had an average of 25 of you on every Zoom meeting and 50 of you attended the August BBQ at the Sherriff’s Posse when we thought the war was over.     For the first time in 44 years, we’re renewing most of our memberships “on-line”, and many of you are already renewing your dues that way.   Super.

We even have had six new board members who jumped on board during that time, remarkably some of them I’d not had a chance to meet until the August BBQ.

January Club Member Slide Show -Send in Your Photos.  In January, we’re going to be back at the Sherriff’s Posse Hall for another BBQ and our annual Club Members Photo Slide Show.    Submit your photos today to Tommy Polito  Thomaspolito12@gmail.com then come join us the first week of January – in person!!!

While we will be missing our Annual Dinner/Fundraiser which is our primary funding source for our budget, we are working to do a number of other activities to help us with our finances to keep up with our goals in preserving and restoring trout, Steelhead and Coho habits, our high-school scholarships, youth programs/events, facilities rent, and more.    Some of that can also come by way of the “Donation” tab on the membership renewal form which many of you have used.   I would like to thank each and every one of you for doing this as it has made a significant difference in the importance and growth of our scholarship program for one.  So, thank you to all of you who have done this.   It is huge.

Well – again, don’t miss the November – Tuesday meeting via Zoom.  April is going to be awesome.   And I look forward to seeing you soon.

Fish on my friends.    Tom

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Fall Is On the Calendar!

Mark your Calendars!!    October, November, December!!!     Don’t miss these meetings via Zoom, and hopefully in person – maybe by December if the world starts spinning again.

And some other fun fly-fishing related things we’re doing – outside – for the most part.

Hey – seriously October is going to be that presentation you’d want to hear if you are at all interested in fishing from a float tube.  Michael Malekos has been writing for California Fly Fisher magazine the last 25 years.   He is a super guy who will have some informative, entertaining stories and tips on Float tubing from the bare basics to that and more.  If you don’t subscribe to California Fly Fisher magazine – drop this and sign up for this subscription now!!    It’s the very best California (and a bit of the rest of the west) fly fishing rag you’ll ever read.

On TUESDAY November 2nd – yes – Tuesday –via Zoom – since it’s November, it’s what I typically identify as the start of the winter steelhead season AND, this one is going to be a presentation by April Vokey from Anchored Outdoors.    April is a world-renowned Steelhead spey fly angler, fly-tier, v-logger, …  April has also offered some of her educational memberships as part of our door prize/raffle too.   Anchored Outdoors has an extensive library of resources and most especially around some pretty spectacular fly-fishing opportunities.   I’m super excited to have her as our November speaker.

December’s meeting is going to feature Gordon Tharrett who runs some fantastic fly-fishing opportunities in Utah and Idaho – most notably the Green River.   Get your calendars out for planning your 2022 season and come hear what Gordon will bring to your future fly-fishing options in the West with big rainbow and big browns.

With the year coming to a close, many of you know that for the last forty plus years, we have had an annual dinner and fundraiser event that is the highlight of our year.    It is the best time spending a whole day together preparing food, getting the raffle tables ready, hors de overs, setting tables, spending the evening eating, meeting new people, silent auction, installing new board members, some funny awards and some nice awards – like the John Steele/Dame Juliana Award, and the raffle.

While the Annual Dinner/Fundraiser will happen again in our future, we are opting for some smaller and perhaps even more engaging events for the membership as this latest setback from Covid has caused us some pause and is still creating uncertainty around a big 200 person gathering.

Our annual dinner/fundraiser nets the club on average $7,500 every year.   Some years more, some less.   While our budget is approximately $30,000 a year, these funds all go directly to running the club – facility rent, Conservation budget, High-School Scholarship fund, our speaker programs, raffle prizes for monthly meeting, fly-tying materials and classes, Fish-out needs and more.   With so many opportunities to do so many different fundraising activities and with so many fun ideas coming from you and our board, we should be able to continue meeting our goals and creating new opportunities surrounding fly-fishing.

I’m also super excited about so many of you who are coming out of the woodwork with ideas for the club and requests to be more of an active member offering to help.    To that I’m excited to say that Tommy Polito is going to be helping us with Programs for 2022.    Tommy and his new young family live in Aptos.   We met at the BBQ and boom, just like that, I was excited to hear his ideas about programs and the offer to accept this position on the Board.   You’ll be hearing more from Tommy and company soon.

And, if that wasn’t surprise enough – Bob Garbarino, who I’ve had the pleasure of fishing with a few times, casting classes and hanging out together came to the board meeting.   I thought he was there as a guest which was really nice, but then Steve Rudzinski surprised us by saying that Bob was offering to take on the position of Conservation Chair for 2022, which is going to leave Steve more time to orchestrate Casting clinics, casting practices, outings and even some camping/fishing fun.

I’m really happy with everyone coming forward and please know we need a few more to help us this coming year and into the future.   IF you are remotely interested, just come visit a board meeting and you might like it!  I do.

Stay tuned.  If you haven’t been to a Zoom meeting yet and need help navigating this – PLEASE reach out to me or Scott Kitayama.   We’ll set you up – easy!!

Watch your newsletter for some really fun outdoor get togethers over these next several months.

It has been fun meeting all our new members – I’d like to highlight and welcome you so if you come to the meeting, we’d love to hear from you.

See you soon and again on Zoom – we’re going to have fun!!

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Hang In There – We’re Almost There!

Mona and I have been going to Kennedy Meadow’s fishing the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus for 30 years now.    How I remember the old days!  The Stan is where I saw my very first fly fishermen.   Yep a couple of ole timers who were fishing the pocket water (I didn’t’ know it was called that back then) with some really tiny PT and Zug Bug nymphs.    Mona and I were just kids, 27 and 25!   We marveled at the peace these two fly anglers carried, casual, fulfilled.    We wanted that.

As Mona and I started our annual trips there, it wasn’t just for the fishing.   We met family there.   We slowed down, and stopped all together.   There was no such thing as a cell phone and we didn’t know words like – Wi-Fi, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, or what an App was.

This last trip was our best fly-fishing experience in those thirty years.    I suppose it’s because our 23- and 25-year-old children, who were practically born at Kennedy Meadows, are healthy, and because for the first time, Tommy hooked and landed at least 15 fish on dry flies and another 15 or more on nymph’s.   And we were practically the only people on the water.   Laughing.   Taking it all in.  Slowing down, stopping.   Enjoying.

It isn’t and wasn’t always that way.

I remember the fires that nearly choked us out of our five days stay and the fire we missed altogether – thank God.   I remember the thunderstorm that rolled in, flooded our tent and campsite in a matter of minutes, all while we ducked for cover from lighting that had shattered trees next to us.   Or the seemingly perfect week, except for an ice dam break and filled the river with chalky white silt for that entire week.  No fishing, no fish, not a one.

While we distinctly remember these days, we lose site of the many years where the fishing was good, or okay, but the trip itself with family and friends, the hiking and the beauty of the Sierra, left us with something far more beautiful to remember.

I’m remembering these days because I need to realize that even the worst days fishing, aren’t really that bad when we put things into perspective.   When Covid disrupts our plans for a year, or maybe another 6 months, again, compared to thirty, ten or even five, it’s not that bad.

I was so looking forward to kicking off our September return to meeting together – like we’ve done for the last 43 plus years, without any consideration, except perhaps when the ’89 earth quake occurred.   But Covid has dealt us another setback; so we won’t be meeting in person in September.    At this point, I’m not even sure of October, but we will keep moving that direction and keep you informed.

We are going to have a super Zoom presentation, and I have some awesome speakers lined up for October, November and December– Spey Casting for Steelhead and a review of the Green River – for those of you planning 2022 outings.    September is “fanatical fly-fishing” who is an adventure outdoors team specializing in some pretty fun fly-fishing destinations, techniques, tackle, and flies.

Thank you for all your help this year.   Thank you for persevering with us throughout so much.   Our mission and goals have remained – To Promote, Educate and Enjoy the Sport of Fly Fishing.   And, as hard as it is to believe at this juncture, I’m optimistic about a good wet year ahead, the disappearance of Covid and a lot of fun to be had together, as we work hard return to normal!

See you soon. Promise.    Tom

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Stay Fishing My Friends

by Tom Hogye

Hi everyone.    I am back from a terrific fly-fishing and hiking week with family high in the Sierra, far away from the internet or a phone.  The only technology in my hand was my  3wt, Sage LL with my beloved Abel reel.   Okay, truth be told, I had my “camera” with me – that sometimes doubles as a phone!    Hence the photos in this P-Message.    Tommy and I fished a mile together for the entire day both landing about thirty fish each, Tommy catching more than 15 on dry flies.   The beauty of a net and barbless flies is they often came out of the fish in the net, and made getting them back to their habitat all the better.   It was awesome spending a whole day together doing that, laughing, and talking.    The fish made it best of all and so much easier to do the rest.

Getting away from technology is one of the best things we can do today.  But admittedly, there is technology that enables us to enjoy that getting away even more.

As Mona and I traveled Sonora Pass in our air-conditioned comfy Ford F150, enjoying our cabin with electricity, a shower and a refrigerator, we took turns reading about the history of Sonora Pass, it’s first discovery, how treacherous it was to build and how people “camped” there in the weekends traveling there in Model T Fords with an ice box, no electricity, no showers and no “facilities”.  No fly boxes filled with hundreds of flies purchased with ease, if necessary, from the comfort of your home delivered to you next day.

Sonora Pass has some terrific history – ironically, if it weren’t for the Depression in the 30’s and WWII, it would likely not be the treasure it is today.    In the 20’s, plans were to take full advantage of that area building communities for getting away from the city.    Clark’s Fork, if you’ve ever been there, ends at Iceberg Meadow’s, abandoned plans for another highway that would have continued north and east, connecting with Highway 4.   Leland Meadows, a place I haven’t been, is reportedly the one place that was last developed beyond Pinecrest, but most halted because of the depression and the war.

While no one likes a pandemic, a depression, a war, these things have benefited the earth and all the creatures, and people, that were here long before us.   Even on this trip, while a year later, it seemed more beautiful, quieter and abundant.   I never realized that if it weren’t for the depression and WWII, where we’ve been going – for almost 30% of it’s entire 100 year+ existence, would not be what it is today.   Pretty cool.

I hope to see you at the BBQ Wednesday.   Look at the newsletter and send Scott an article under the Newsletter submission page.  Someplace where you fished with family and or friends.    We love hearing from you – our members.

As we work hard to navigate the waters of living today, please know your board is actively and constantly talking about how we do our best to continue our mission to promote, educate and enjoy the sport of Fly-Fishing solely for the purpose of our members having fun, being engaged and being contributors to the same.    Thank you all for your encouragement, your membership and for participating like you do.  It is in fact how all of us came to this club, joined and took interest.   It is a lot of fun and such beautiful work.

As the year winds down, we are looking ahead at how we can continue growing.   I’m excited about the opportunities to be together, have fund-raisers, education days, new fish-outs, fly-tying, casting and other activities we will do thoughtfully with you, our members, in mind.   Do keep the ideas coming and thank you for being the most important part of the Santa Cruz Fly Fishing Club.

Oh – Follow us on Instagram:  santacruzflyfishing – and follow me:  tomhogye !

Fish often my friends.   Tom

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Let’s Go Fly-Fishing!

by Thomas Hogye

Let’s go fly-fishing!!   Happy Summer everyone!   I hope at this writing you’re all making plans to get out and do some fly-fishing in the coming days or you’re already gone doing just that.  Send us some photos we can share with the world – info@santacruzflyfishing.com .

 

While California is a bit short on water this year, that means flows are very manageable and fish are hungry.   Mona and I had an epic adventure over the Memorial Day weekend and are planning another trip around the Sierra Mountain streams in late July.  Best way to spend our 30th Anniversary together.   It was really surprising and fun to find miles and miles of dirt roads and off-road trails we were able to explore in our truck.   Many of you have likely been to Crowley Lake, fly-fishing, but did you know there are incredible “columns” on the backside of the lake that make it look like you’re in Greece?   But access is literally a good mile and a half hike on trails.   Fly Fishing Hot Creek is great, but have you also seen the geothermal hot springs?   Have you ever seen the 3 mile long lava flow of some of the largest obsidian deposits just south of Mammoth?  Chidago Canyon Gold Mines?   Have you heard of Cerro Gordo – once the largest silver mine in California?   The Alabama Hills and Movie Road?   Haystack Mountain?  (UH spoiler alert – there is no hay!) Climb Mt. Whitney?   Come on people!  Get out there!!

 

Kennedy Meadows/ HWY 108

If you’re relatively new to fly-fishing, and love camping where it’s not too remote, Mona and I have been enjoying the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus along Highway 108 for 30 years.    Dry-fly and nymph fishing to both planted and wild fish is generally quite good.   Most of the fish are in the 10” range, but some surprising large fish are there.    The campgrounds along the river are easy to access and nice.   Kennedy Meadows Pack station/resort is at the base of Sonora Pass and if you love exploring the mountains away from Yosemite, this is the place to do it.  You can pack horses, do day trips, or hourly trail rides.   Cabins, a store, restaurant and saloon are all favorites of many for decades.   The pass rises from 6,300 feet to over 10,000 feet in 9 miles.       If anyone is interested in hanging out with us at Kennedy Meadows in late July – let me know.   Fly-fishing the meadow all day is second to nothing.

 

No July Meeting

Historically there is no general meeting in July as it falls right around the 4th and many are in fact fishing.  But there will be a fly-tying class and our Board Meeting – if you’re interested in becoming part of the team.

 

August BBQ and Swap Meet – Sherriff’s Posse Hall – Ocean Street Extension

August will be our first physical gathering since March of 2020.   It is our August BBQ and Swap Meeting.    It will be held at the Santa Cruz Sherriff’s Posse Hall on Ocean Street extension.  It’s an awesome outdoor country venue.    Hot dogs, burgers, Beans, Potato Salad and who knows what else!   Remember, if you bring something to the swap meet, please be prepared to take it home if someone doesn’t want it.   I’m particularly excited because we have been blessed with so many new members who have never experienced a physical club meeting yet.   While this won’t be like our general meeting, it is surely something to look forward to as we start getting together again.    September meeting we’re hoping to have at the Grange Hall.  More details in your newsletter to come.

 

Thank you.

Special shout out to David South and Bob Peterson for the excellent work handing out scholarships at the high-schools this year.    There is interest in making these scholarships larger in dollar amounts.    If you’d like to participate for next year, let us know.  We’d love to do more for the students, the future of our sport and this planet.

 

Thank you to Jerry McKeon, Scott Kitayama, and Carly Blanchard for the terrific work on the website, Instagram, Facebook page, and the Club Roster, it has helped us stay so connected and active in the very best way.   It was so nice to hear guest speakers say how awesome our club is, how funny we are, engaged, and how many people have been making the Zoom meetings – 38 last month for Brian O’Keefe’s presentation on photographing fish, wild-life, …   Really amazing.   He will be back next year for sure.

 

Thank you, Elaine and all your guest Fly-Tiers, helping us get through quite a year navigating Zoom and getting fly-tying materials to everyone.

 

Jeff Goyert and Micheal McGannon for putting together the most awesome and engaging raffle items and SCFF merch to buy – and more to come!

 

Steve Rudzinski, thank you for going out of your way with the Jade Street Park casting fun and Sam Bishop, for helping with that and so many fish-outs close to home.

 

Thanks to everyone of you on the board, members, guests and those who support the membership, our goals, objectives, who helped us thrive during these most interesting times. I would not have been able to do this without each and every one of you.

 

I look forward to finally seeing all of you again, in person.   But if I miss you this time – it’s because we’re fishing!!  ?

 

 

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As the World Begins to Turn Again

First of all I want to thank all of you who have participated in the Zoom meetings we’ve had over the last year.   You made the leap and helped all of us have fun at a time when the media wanted us to focus on doom and gloom.    I am grateful for all the new members we got to meet via Zoom, and some of the casting classes we were able to have together.

Now that the world is beginning to turn again – I’m singing the song – “Crimson and Clover, Covid is over…”.

At this writing, Mona and I are preparing to take off for almost a week of Eastern Sierra bliss – no cell, no work,.   Just fly-fishing and exploring that beautiful part of our country along the 395.   We will be hitting Mammoth, Crowley, Bishop, Lone Pine and Cerro Gordo (look it up and follow Brent on YouTube).   I hope to have some photos for our Instagram and Facebook pages to share with all of you – pretty much – instantly – when cell or wifi is available.    .

Our June meeting will be via Zoom – but don’t miss it.   We’re bringing back a special presentation we use to do years ago – Teach you how to take awesome photos of the fish you catch.    Brian O’Keefe, has some of the most common sense, but often overlooked, tips on how to get great photos of your fly-fishing experiences – including those of fish you would like to show off.   Then you can share them with us so we can post to our Instagram page!!!

July we should be starting to experiencing some sense of normalcy, but we don’t have a club meeting historically, for obvious reasons.  You’re all out fishing!!

August – Mark  your calendars – we are going to have an in person Club BBQ.   We historically call this our slop and swap – which means we grill up the food and you bring something to swap with other members.    This will be our first physical gathering since March of 2020.   More to follow, but we’re planning to have this at the Sherriff’s Posse’ hall on Ocean Street Extension, a beautiful rustic club atmosphere.   Could be a sign of things to come.

Haven’t figured out who will be our speaker in September yet, but we’re hoping this will then be our first club gathering together.   If any of you want to hear yours truly, speak on our own San Lorenzo River, with some recent updates, let me know.  Otherwise send me some suggestions of what you’d like to hear.

Our raffle this month is going to be as good, and relevant, as ever.  Thank you, Jeff Goyert for pulling in some of the best prizes our membership has had the pleasure of winning.   You guys are barely spending twenty bucks on average, winning prizes that are worth hundreds.   Keep it up.   Even when we get together permanently, we’re going to continue the raffle as it is, so everyone has a chance to win something whether you’re at the meeting or now.   Although, I’m thinking maybe I better have Jeff pull something really awesome just for those who pull their keesters out of the easy chair and make it to the meeting!

I’m really looking forward to “normal” again.   I’ve met so many of you who have yet to experience the fun we have when we are together, aside from fishing together.  Speaking of – lots of fishing to do together.  If you’re not on the club email – get on it.   There are lots of outings people are planning – surf, San Luis, Sierra, and more.

Our scholarships went out again this year and while we didn’t get as much participation due to covid, nine of the 14 available scholarships went out to students at San Lorenzo, Soquel, Aptos, Pajaro and Watsonville High Schools.   We’re hoping Santa Cruz and Harbor have pulled it together after this writing to make it 13 out of 14.     Thank you to everyone who contributed to the “Donation” button.   That is where these dollars are going and we’re planning to continue and grow this in the future.

Some of you may be following me on Instagram, and you should also be following “Santacruzflyfishing” on Instagram also.    If you’re following me, you’re probably wondering why you see more horses than fish.   I moved here in 1982 as a 20-year-old kid, competing in horse sports.   After Tommy and Emily were born I stopped riding and focused on family, building a house, career.   Some of you know Emily turned out to be quite the accomplished vaulter, rider, trainer and started asking me to ride again.   I knew what that meant if I was to do it right.   And, since you only have so much time to spend with your kids, when they ask – you do.

Someone once asked me about fly-fishing and if I was getting to do all the fly-fishing I was able to do.   At the time I answered, not completely, but I’m really happy with all the opportunities I do get to spend that time fly-fishing.   They seemed disappointed when I said it was probably maybe 50 days a year.  But they are the most precious days of the year with really awesome people – most of them from this club and my family.

Who could ask for anything better!   Tread lightly people.  We are all sensitive, even the fish.

I can’t wait to see you.   Tom

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What’s in a Name?

by Thomas Hogye

Long before “A River Run’s Through It”, there were six guys in Santa Cruz who fished together, likely since they were kids.    One of them, Ernie Kinzli, had recently opened a Fly Shop in Soquel, at the bridge on Soquel Drive over Soquel Creek.    At this time there were several fishing shops in Santa Cruz as many of our creeks and rivers were chock full of trout, Steelhead, Coho and Lamprey Eel, all year.

Jim Hall, Ernie, Manny Gutierrez, the Morelli brothers and Rick McCary knew about the San Jose Fly Casters and the Salinas Fly Fishers.   In Santa Cruz there was another group who called themselves the San Lorenzo Steelheaders.  Jim teases that they were known as the hardware, bait guys, and were in fact the guys who founded Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project.

Since Ernie’s store would become the nucleus of fly-fishing in Santa Cruz in the early 70’s, these six guys came up with an idea of a club.  I bet it was over dinner with their wives, because I know Mona is always the one coming up with the best ideas for the club.   Ironically, they wanted to be “different” than the San Jose and Salinas clubs, and didn’t like the word “fisher” or “caster”, so in 1977 they named their club, The Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen.

The guy’s wives became members, performing duties such as Vice President, Conservation Chair, Membership, Finance and Secretary.   Ernie Kinzli and Jim Hall, who are still members today (I fished with Jim at Pyramid last month!), acted as the clubs first presidents and fishing trip coordinators.   Soon thereafter, people you know even today, joined the club and participated in some capacity as board member, fishing trip organizer (Fish-Outs), Spaghetti dinners, Conservation…    They teamed up with the fledgling MBSTP and began more organized efforts to save the fisheries.   They had meetings and parties at nearly every Elks Lodge, Portuguese Hall, German Hall, and Grange in Santa Cruz.

Women joined the club and got their boyfriends and husbands involved.  Kathy Powers, Elaine Cook, Betty Rentz, the Steele’s and more.   Family memberships were created so people could get the whole families involved.  Singles started mingling and fishing together, then were a couple.  The Annual Dinner was created simply as a means of getting together to celebrate friendship, fishing and food.  Ernie had some things from the store and came up with an idea for a raffle, which then became something he contributed every single month his store was in business for over 30 years.    The Pyramid Lake and Mammoth Fish-outs were born.   People joined who often fished at other places – like the Delta and San Luis Reservoir, Ed Marcillac and Gil Santos, which then became fish-outs.   Kathy Powers jumped into Conservation.   Pat (Patricia) Steele and Elaine mastered what became our award-winning news-letter – seriously.  Lois and Walt Robinson started casting classes, George and Pat Peterson – fly-tying and rod building.  Programs started to involve anglers from afar who came over, had dinner with us, then spent the night talking to us about new places to fish, photography, hiking and horse-packing – which then lead to the creation of the “Pack Trip Fish-Out” which went on for years.    Fly-tying classes came about as a way of just getting together to hang out with the friends you were making.   The Con-Fab was created because we were all competitive by nature so it was a fun way to enjoy casting, exchanging gear and hoping to claim the “Big Dog” trophy, for being the proclaimed best caster for that time, that day!

I joined the club in ‘91/92, after I got married and one of my wife’s friends was telling her about fly-fishing and the club.   I just realized at this moment, that if it were not for my wife, I would not be a fly-fisherman.   Hmm.   I met Kathy Powers, Manny Gutierrez, Elaine, and Henry.   Never forget that.   Kathy got me hooked and that was it.

Some of you know, I became the Conservation Chair (where, in my exuberant youth, I proceeded to piss off a great deal of anglers as I worked to change regs on Steelhead and Coho fishing in California – who ended up liking me because it was weird- I was a fly fisherman), then President, and then Program coordinator.   We had a lot of fun teaching so many people of all kinds who had seen the movie, and were interested in fly-fishing.  We were in all the schools teaching the kids, and the teachers and the parents!  We were in parades, in the newspaper, in other places all over the world.

Fly fishing is fun, it’s about being, as Hank Patterson would say – “in nature, all peaceful and quiet, alone with yourself, screaming at a bait-fishermen who just plunked into yer hole with a two pound chunk o’ lead, a night crawler and a bobber – that thing fly anglers call an indicator.  It’s a bobber!”

In my business, these last 20 years, if we didn’t change when technology changed, we would never have lasted a month.  Covid.  Covid taught us all how to change very quickly.  We were, all of us, shoved off a cliff and made to fly or land with a splat.    We all did things we never, and I mean never, thought we would do.   Some of us said the word “never”, but within a month we were doing exactly that thing we said we’d never do.

Our club is now a part of Santa Cruz history.  We have a very real purpose here and are looked upon with a good bit of respect.   This community leans on us soundly whenever there is a question or concern about the creeks and rivers here that so desperately need our help.   Whenever fish are stranded, or the runs of steelhead are coming in, or a clean-up is needed, we participate in so many ways.  We did the work, laughed, joked, and then had coffee or a beer together later, thankful we did something good.   When Covid is over, if you’re new, you’ll see and have a chance to participate.  If the club ever went away, it would leave an enormous hole in the stewardship and accountability role we play here in Santa Cruz, and thanks to our Conservation Chairs, around the world.   Our Scholarship fund, which came from an idea my wife had to honor Gary Hazelton, John Fong, Ric Von Carnap and others who left us too soon, started as simply as adding the word “Donation” to the bottom of our membership form, and is now a maturing high-school scholarship fund for students entering environmental studies and science.

Change is the only constant in life, and while no one can ever please everyone, we are always considering things we need to do, or should do to improve, to meet the spirit of our mission, which is “To Promote, Educate and Enjoy the Sport of Fly Fishing”.   I didn’t create this.  Our founders did.  Forty-four years ago.

More than a few times, the word “Fishermen” had been brought to our attention.  When firemen became firefighters, stewardess became flight attendant and horseman became rider, or when nurse became – uh, well, wait, it’s still nurse – you know what I mean.  Men were starting to become nurses and flight attendants; women were becoming firefighters, law-enforcement, and now today, Vice President of the USA.  Changing “fishermen” was at times contentious.  And you should know, that resistance did not always come from the ‘men’.

After careful consideration, the Board has decided to change the name of the club to fit more appropriately our unwavering dedication always to being a welcoming place for anyone interested in the sport of fly fishing.   We are now “Santa Cruz Fly Fishing” or you will see The Santa Cruz Fly Fishing Club where appropriate.  SCFF will still be our acronym, if you will, because we are an active organization.    New logos, patches, stickers and some really cool art is to follow.

We are not a name.  We want everyone to feel they are an important part of who we are.  We are more concerned about the future of how we can best represent fly-fishing, conservation, preservation and restoration.  Your background, our experience level, how you identify – none of this matters to us.  If you are interested in fly fishing, you are our type of people, and we’d love to meet you.

While there were a multitude of different sentiments on the naming decision, this does not change who we are as a club, or our commitment to our mission.   It was hard.  There is a lot of history in “The Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen”.   The name was never meant to exclude anyone.  Our founders will tell you they chose that name because it was different than the other two; they didn’t like “fishers” and they weren’t just “casters”.   So, this name still holds a lot of respect and historical significance to us.   Our founders, board and membership are the most caring and supportive people I’ve ever met.   Considerate, embracing, engaging and fun to be around.   I personally have the fondest, best memories, and love for those we’ve been involved with for forty-four years.

The foundation, mission, spirit and fun this club is, remains.  It is growing stronger and younger.   Our members (I like to think of you as family) are the most important part.  Our perception and respect in the fly-fishing world is important.  We want to be a role model, good stewards, set good examples, do good, work hard, give back and have fun.

If you are not a member, and you are reading this, I challenge you to join, now.  Yes, right now.   Go to the “Join” button and join.  ALL are welcome.  Step in, be part of the next forty-four years.  You will see what I mean and you will find friends you never thought you’d ever have.  Do not hesitate.  Time is too short.

Thank you, Tom

Santa Cruz Fly Fishing   ?  SCFF

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A short history of the John Steele Award

by V/P Kevin Murdock

V/P’s Line

A short history of the John Steele Award:

Back in the 1980s, there was a Fly Shop in Los Gatos named ‘The Upstream Flyfishing company’. The proprietor contacted the Santa Cruz Fly fishermen, (at that time we were a fairly new organization). He offered to sponsor an annual award that he named ‘The Dame Julianna award’.

Dame Julianna was purportedly a 15th century woman of means. She greatly enjoyed the field sports of the day. She has been generally credited with writing some of the earliest treatises on Hawking, Hunting, and Fishing.

The ’Book of St Albans’ was a sporting tome written in about 1486, with an addendum in 1496 called: ‘A Treatise on Fysshynge with an Angle’. This book is generally considered one of the first writings about fly fishing. She also wrote of the virtues of environmental conservation and field etiquette.

In honor of Dame Juliana, we were asked to name the one club member that assisted our other members the most in their flyfishing journey. Upstream Flyfishing then donated a gift to the luckily chosen member.

While Upstream Flyfishing ultimately went out of business, the Santa Cruz Fly fishermen’s club continued the award tradition for the next several years, giving each years chosen member a cash award to purchase their own fishing tackle.

A few years back, we recognized that we had a club member that personified Dame Juliana, in that he strove to constantly give back to our flyfishing community. In addition to being a founding member of our club, he has at one time or another filled just about every position on our board of directors. He has donated incalculable hours of time, material, monies, artwork, fishing knowledge, and general good spirits. For decades he gathered and stored all of our annual club dinner raffle prizes and silent auction items, (many of the items he hand made himself). To this day he and his lovely wife continue host our monthly board meetings.

I am speaking of course of our own John Steele. We decided to rebrand the Dame Julianna award as the John Steele award. It is our attempt to honor both Dame Juliana, and our own John.

Each month, we ask our membership to nominate any and all who have helped them. Whether it be teaching a skill, showing a hot fishing spot, giving a fly, volunteering as a board member or fish master, encouraging or just humoring a member on their own flyfishing journey.

Members may nominate as many members as they like, as often as they feel they have been assisted. Nominations can be made by Emailing me at:  troutdock89@gmail.com. A sentence or two about how you were helped makes the actual presentation more fun. We make the presentation each year at our annual club installation dinner. Last years winner was Scott Kitayama. Who knows who next years winner will be?

Thanks for your time,

K. Murdock