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!
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 !
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 – email@example.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.
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!! 😉
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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?
A year ago after our last physical meeting in March, I was cracking jokes about Elaine’s fly-tying class saying she was going to be tying a new fly. The Covid-19 – a real deadly fly. I’m sorry I made that comment. I suppose none of us realized what this last year would be.
Fast forward. I’m envisioning the potential of our actually having a meeting at the Grange in September.
May and June will be Zoom with great speakers. July will be no meeting as we always take 4th of July week off, and then August we’re planning our annual out-door BBQ, as one of the ways we can start to meet again.
This last year has been one of opportunity for sure. I remember a manager I once knew, who related every problem to be an opportunity. Opportunity to turn something bad into good. If you have yet to attend via Zoom -please let us know how we can help you. We are having a lot of fun at these meetings, and the information we’re all sharing, and our speakers have been hanging out with us being an enormous wealth of information and resource.
This month, you have to join us on Zoom for the April Rogue River exploration, top to bottom, every species, every season, what to fish with, when, … Trout to Steelhead. James and Kait from Humble Heron Fly-Fishing. Don’t miss this one, if a not-too-distant destination is in store for you this Spring, Summer, or Fall. Super opportunity to explore this relatively easy to reach, prolific fishery and beautiful country.
Social Media –
I need to give a big shout out to Jerry McKeon and Scott Kitayama, two of our newest board members who have taken SCFF into the 21st century, big time. Don’t “poo-poo” “social media” if you haven’t seen Instagram. It is one of the best venues for fly-fishing resources on the planet. Destinations, flies, techniques, stunning photos and videos. And, with our own page, we are posting our own photos and videos. Please reach out to Jerry and Scott to send them some of your own photos and videos we can use for the Santa Cruz Fly Fishing page.
Elaine’s fly-tying classes on Zoom, continue and have been a lot of fun. All you need is a vice, your tools and Zoom – we supply the fur, feathers and fun.
Steve Rudzinski has been our Conservation Chair, and past President, but he has taken to these Jade Street Casting afternoons on Saturday with even more fun. Totally social distance casting practice. Watch for more coming soon.
Our Spring Surf Perch fish-outs are also starting again, so watch the Google Group email and news-letter/website for upcoming events. The perch and Stripers – are biting.
Lastly – I am still looking for more of you interested in bringing your talent and interest to the board as SCFF continues to blossom the next 40 years. Please reach out to any of our board members, even me, if you are interested in doing something fun as part of the board and the structure of the future. This is your chance to broaden the horizons, bring new ideas and more fun. Let me know.
This last year, and, the start of this year, has led us all to contemplate, react and respond in ways we’d otherwise never considered, much less attempted, or even accomplished if it weren’t for the opportunities thrown at us like a Tom Brady bullet.
Most of us just put our hands out, closed our eyes and were just as surprised as anyone, that we caught the pass and made a touchdown. Agree?
In March of last year, we shut down, got scared and hid for a few days. But our resolve to thrive was greater than the fear of being carpet bombed. Every time the bombs missed, we cheered, came out of our cellars and shook our fists at the enemy. Just like the Brits did in WWII.
Fly-Fishing turned the corner quickly and began to get busy. Ask any guide and they will say they had a very busy 2020. Simms Fishing Products, went from shutdown, to making gowns, and right back to making products, because they couldn’t keep up with the spike in on-line sales. Every other vendor – similar reaction.
Staying “connected” or finding ways to connect, have been interesting. Many of you have heard me talk about “social media” like Facebook, Instagram, and our Google Groups Club Mail as ways of reaching each other. My own Facebook page and the club Facebook page have been ways for me to stay connected with my mom and dad, other family members, friends, who are thousands of miles away. And yes, at times it’s been a vehicle for me to raise awareness.
Getting connected has even let to having a blast on Zoom. I know – enough about Zoom already – but I look forward to our club meeting, the fly-tying class (even if I’m not tying a fly), and our board meetings. All of them you too can join from our web-site under the “Zoom” link on the page – easy!
Some of us have even been considering getting rid of their flip phones!
I have to say that as a few weeks ago, I didn’t much pay attention to Instagram. When Phil Kowal said last year that Instagram was where it’s at, I was on the hunt to see what we could do. Then, just like that, after reaching out to you, our membership, Jerry McKeon came on board, joined forces with Scott Kitayama, got our Instagram page up in 20 minutes and soon I was our second “follower”. Santacruzflyfishing.
Lord Have Mercy. Have you seen the fly-fishing pictures and videos on Instagram? AMAZING. I especially LOVE the fly-tying demonstrations. They are set in fast motion and make for a very cool summary. Stunning. The way I was ogling and staring at these photos and videos, Mona was getting a little nervous! Wow!
Now I know a lot of our members are beyond technology and may poo-poo the thought because you’re actually out there doing, what the rest of us wish we were doing. You may not be into all this techy stuff – but let me remind you that technology gave you your carbon/graphite rods, lightweight reels, “Goretex”(remember that word?!) breathable waders, and the GPS you might use in your car/truck… this is just an extension of that technology and one that reached a bit further, to help us quickly get out of the panic.
We are already excited about 2021. Your board is actively engaging our responsibility to the membership as things slowly improve. When we do actually get together this year, we are still planning to do Zoom video as a means of helping those who just can’t make it to the meeting.
The website, Facebook page and Instagram account are also helping us focus on what we are doing as a club to “Give Back” – to the community, the environment and the future of this club. Our high-school scholarship program will continue and hopefully grow. With that our outreach to the youth of the world, showing them how critically important wild fish are to the health of our planet, and the enjoyment we can experience in a healthy environment fly-fishing. Our conservation budget is our way of also contributing financially to important areas. We are going to do a little more outreach in this area for the good of the organization, raising awareness and because we simply need more “good” everywhere!
Fly-Fishing will be an active sport again this year. Even though we often fish for solitude, it’s good to be connected. If you need help “connecting”, please reach out to me, or anyone you know. Do not be afraid and don’t feel bad. We will help you make the best of technology when you need it, or have a little extra time to see what’s going on, when Covid might be keeping you a bit confined.
We are still looking for those of you who would like to contribute to the club in more or less of an official way as Board Members / Committee Chairs. If you have ideas and a desire to keep us going well into the 21st Century, let me know. We’d love to have you.
Well – winter in the mountains is finally getting here now that it’s February – but glad the rain is coming, even if it means power outages, debris flows… Don’t’ know if that’s better than power outages and fires. But the rain is very much needed.
Hope all of you are getting some time to spend practicing your casting, fly-tying at some of our Zoom based fly-tying classes and it has been really nice to see more and more of you attending the general meetings via Zoom. If any of you are having any trouble using Zoom – please reach out to me or Scott Kitayama. It’s really quite easy to use and we’re having fun. There is a “Zoom” tab on the website where you can join all of the monthly activities – Club Meeting, Fly-Tying Class and the Board Meeting.
If you have never been to Pyramid Lake, but you’ve heard about it from our members for the last 30 years, I can tell you from experience, it is a terrific place to handily land average five-pound Lahanton Cutthroat and Pilot Peak Rainbows. This place has a mystery and beauty all its own and this month, Joe Contaldi is going to tell you all about it. Joe also spends a lot of time guiding Crowley Lake and many other hot streams on the Eastern Side of the Sierra. Don’t miss this one. And Jeff Goyert has been coming up with some GREAT raffle prizes and some nice door prizes. This month is equally as good. with a nod to Pyramid. Check out the website.
While we haven’t had much rain, I’ve been having a great time learning how to cast my Spey rod, down in the estuary by the Boardwalk. I’m finally getting the hang of the Snap-T, Single and Double Spey, Perry Poke, thanks to Rich Rubin’s tutelage, and this weekend started practicing the snake roll. To think I couldn’t tell one from the other six months ago. Really fun learning something new in fly-fishing.
As vaccinations are taking place and we begin to get a handle on the Covid situation in California, we do look forward to getting together at the Grange and other places in 2021, but we just don’t know when that will happen. But we are fishing together minding social distance and other Covid precautions. We are supporting our Conservation goals and the High-School Scholarship goal. The fly-tying classes have been well attended on Zoom, and we’ve had some really nice casting practice sessions at Jade Street park on Saturdays thanks to Steve Rudzinski and the others who help out.
As a members, you are welcome to attend the board meetings simply as a “guest”, or if you have an idea you want to share for the club – we’d be happy to have you and put it on the “agenda”. Board meetings are almost as fun as the club meetings. Try one. We are looking for members to join in some of the board positions too. Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, President – yes, President – and other capacities. Having something to share with the club and participate in the fun and future success is how we all came to be involved. It’s easy, fun and rewarding.
And if you do the whole social media thing, look us up on Facebook. We share a lot of pictures and information about things we’re doing and places we’re going… I also want to let you know if you don’t do Facebook – our new Social Media/Communications Chair, Jerry McKeon, got us moving into that part of the 21st Century with our Instagram account! santacruzflyfishing.
As we add new people onto the Board, some will come off. Pat and John Steele gave me the opportunity to brag about them again after a simple well thought note that said they were retiring from their “at-large” positions on the board.
in 1977 when SCFF was a group of anglers of all types, but mostly fly-angling, a bunch of people got together as a means of promoting the sport and also to support the local fly shops in Santa Cruz – yes there were a few – but most notably, Ernie’s Casting Pond. No cell phones, no internet, but we had mail and we had Pat and John Steele. As some of you know, our monthly newsletter was an Award Winning pub, noted by the Federation of Fly Fishers International. Some of our members, including Pat Steele, put that news letter together, printed it and mailed it to your membership – for 29 years. John – well, he’s made, bought, stored and donated more fly fishing goodies, and beautiful prizes to the club, especially our annual dinner and fundraiser – for the same number of years. And these were just their active years.
John and Pat have been family to me. Even when I disappeared from the club for several years, raising my children, building a house and trying to pay the bills, I was always reminded by Mona to check in on the “fly club” as she always called it. Pat was the best editor a “kid” could ever have, and she has encouraged me more times about more things, not just fly-fishing, than I would ever have expected. John and Pat hosted board meetings at their home, took care of all the raffle prizes for each years fundraiser, and then built a web-site and maintained that after 1996, when the internet literally first came of age.
John and Pat have plans to continue traveling somewhere every single month on fly-fishing adventures, as they were doing before Covid.
At this writing, I’m pretty happy cause I hooked a steelhead with the Spey Rod and a red/black woolly bugger in the San Lorenzo under the train trestles today.
Considering I’m still learning how to control line on this big stick, I was totally stoked. Third cast this morning. Course I didn’t land it and it was likely a young first year fish cause it was not more than fourteen inches (and I’m being as realistic as I can be) but bright and silvery. It was what we’d call an LDR – long distance release! Considering my casting, I was quite happy about it. My hands were frozen. It said 28 degrees in Ben Lomond when I left, for the river.
For the next three hours I continued, by myself. Seriously strange if you know the history of the San Lorenzo River. If the tide was high in the Estuary, and it was a fishable day, before Christmas, you’d see at least 10 people fishing. Over the years, three or four. But yesterday and today? One. Me. It was awesome, practicing my casting with no concern about some other angler laughing his arse off watching me pummel the water learning. And it was beautiful. Oh – I had an audience alright. Donned in my Santa hat to keep my ears and cranium warm. It is the “season” after all. They knew very little about how good I was, but I was, the Fly Fisherman. While I paid no attention, focusing on my casting, pretending I didn’t hear their marvelous accolades, praises and adorations, it was nice to be raising awareness that yes, there are fish in this river.
It was not likely I was going to catch another fish, as my casting was not near enough as good as it was yesterday. I called it, ‘beating the water to death for the next three hours’. I suppose I was suffering from YouTube Spey Casting overload. Too much information. I was likely trying too hard, mixing up my Perry Poke with the Snap-T, or is it Iced-T? When that wasn’t working and the breeze was blowing counter to my downstream shoulder, I must’ve needed to change to my Double Spey. Yeah – that was it! Nope. Maybe I was casting with the wrong hand – switched hands. That didn’t do it either. Oh no, please don’t tell me it’s the Snake Roll. No way I got that one yet. Was clearly my overhand pushing and not my underhand. Arrggg.
Back to basics – roll cast, watch my D-Loop, keep it up,…, Single Spey. Ahhhhhh. You know you have it right when all the line runs out, tugs on your reel and you realize it’s pretty far away all nice and straight and you hardly heard anything hit the water. Try to remember how you did that and do it again, and again, and again? More practice.
When I learned to cast the single hand rod, I would practice for hours and hours. It’s a little harder to do with a Spey Rod. Taking a 13’6” 8 weight to the park is a good bit different than a 9’ 5 weight. So I like these days when I am okay with casting away in the estuary when the tide is up. I’m not worried about hindering a larger fish that might be moving up to spawn, when the flows are again, tragically low.
One good year does not a Steelhead river make. The San Lorenzo is suffering again with little less than 22% of “average” rainfall again. The flows for the last several years, but one, have been 50-60% of the 82 year average flows.
If you fish the river, be careful. Make sure you are single-barbless, no-bait, no scents, and are careful where you walk.
Some have asked why fish when the river is in peril. To raise awareness. If the fishermen go, who will speak for the Steelhead, Tide water goby, the Stickleback, Lamprey Eel? The San Lorenzo will turn into the LA River – just a water supply for the city and the majority of population who will never know why the Steelhead, Coho (and all the other wildlife), are so important and necessary to thrive.
In the last 50 years, our biodiversity in wildlife which was 65% of the entire plant, is today just 35%. The San Lorenzo, and our adjoining rivers, Scott, Waddell, Pescadero, Soquel, Aptos, Pajaro…, are in peril. They need water. Pretty much it. Water. More than these rivers are being allotted today. And I don’t mean just from a Water Department perspective, but a development, stewardship, awareness, do something about it stance.
Some of the water departments would have you “Conserve” with a belief it’s good for the environment, but the water you are conserving is not going to the fish. It’s going to developers who don’t even live in these watersheds.
Whoa! Where did that come from? Wasn’t I just hooking a young steelhead in the estuary with my Spey Rod? Yeah. Let’s get back to that.
2020 is now behind us – we can look for a lot of new things in 2021. Even when Covid is gone, we’re hopefully realizing that gardens are good, less is better, working from home is doable, and we don’t need to be flying around the country to have fun.
The club will take a lot of what we were forced to do in 2020 and use it to your advantage for 2021 and beyond. You have a great club and it is great because of you. Love your input, even if it’s constructive. Keep it coming. Jump on a committee or a board position- have fun with us.
Always feels weird saying things like ‘Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving.’, when in order to get this in the newsletter, you’re writing the article a couple weeks before! Over the years, I’ve often wondered how do they get Winter catalogs in the mail in August, and they have people modeling new clothing in snow. Never mind.
We have been busy. Covid did not slow us down. The raffle last month was awesome, and we had 38 people on the Zoom meeting with Chris King’s outstanding presentation on Steelhead and big rainbows. Your generous support if our Conservation and Scholarships has been amazing. While we aren’t having our Annual Dinner/Fundraiser in January, we have been managing our expenses, membership, and donations such that we are in vey good shape to weather what Covid might yet throw at us.
Your Board has been very active engaging membership, fishing together, in California mostly, and exploring new ways to continue keeping you fly-fishing.
We are looking forward to something more “back to normal”, but the tools we’ve developed because of Covid, are giving us more tools to use when we do go back to normal. It is likely we will continue with Zoom enhancements at our functions by broadcasting our club meetings over the web, even when we are meeting together.
Our future is secure and we are growing. The youth, as we’ve mentioned before, are the future of our environment, our fisheries and this club. Due to the response in our Scholarship program, and other available youth programs for next year, David South, normally, our Annual dinner Organizer suggested a Youth Programs Chair – which is a terrific idea. If you’re interested in being involved and chairing this committee, please reach out to me/us.
Our Programs Chair, Jim Black, is also looking for someone to shadow him and help take part in bringing on new and exciting speakers. Since they don’t have to travel, these speakers, men and women, can come from virtually anywhere there is a Zoom connection. If interested, we welcome you.
Our Website/Newsletter Chair, Scott Kitayama, has been doing a terrific job with both; as you’ll see in this month’s pub, an expanding selection of SCFF merchandise in collaboration with our Marketing Chair, Michael McGannon. Scott is looking for some assistance, from anyone interested in more internet-based outreach and support with things like Instagram, Tik Tok… If interested in this, please reach out to Scott.
Also, thanks to an idea from Steve Rudzinski, we’ve nominated and approved our first “Meteorologist At Large”, going to our local Santa Cruz surfing, fishing and weather expert, Lee Solomon. Welcome to the Club, Lee! Can’t wait to see you donning waders and a fly-rod for an upcoming weather segment on KSBW!
We are wishing all of you a very happy Holidays. Stay tuned – a lot of fun stuff coming up. Thank you for your incredible support and your own very special enthusiasm. Thank you for coming to the meetings, fly-tying, supporting conservation, the club, scholarships and so much more.
We will continue to grow, and we will always – promote, educate and enjoy, the sport of fly-fishing.
Well – this is late. Stuff has hit us again. It’s not a knock out punch by far, but I’m really getting bothered by the constant belting we are taking. And it hasn’t even started raining yet!
Covid has been troublesome enough. While respecting all concerns, I’m getting tired of Covid, Fires and PSPS! PG&Es means of mitigating more lawsuits from potential fire activity. We need some rain.
Due to the aforementioned, I’m typing on battery power hoping to send when I can get to a wifi signal tomorrow morning. But I’m not really complaining.
In the midst of all of this, we’ve really been fortunate.
If you own a fly-rod and some flies, a decent reel, and have been fishing this year – consider yourself fortunate. If you went fly-fishing at all this year – same.
At this writing, the only power I have is what’s left in this laptop battery. Otherwise, I am managing my life by what everything else is throwing at us, hitting back with all this 5’6” dog can muster. It’s only a couple of days, but stacked on top of the last 7 months – ugh. I’ve been spending weekends preparing for rain – hoping to get some in spurts so the mountains don’t wash away.
Do me a favor – pull out the club “roster” you’ve been given. There are about 150 of you. Tantamount to a miracle given this year of 2020. Take that roster and call someone you don’t know. You have an interest in Fly-Fishing in common, you’re stuck at home -make a new friend.
Get to know each other. Do something different, even if it means just talking and getting to know the person on the other end of the line. Like the old days – the good – old days.
As your “President”, at this President’s Line – All I want you to do is pick up the phone and call someone you don’t know – on the roster – and start from there.
Since 1977, the Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen (and BTW, that means, every being that has two feet and walks on this planet) describes a mission to “Promote, Educate and Enjoy the Sport of Fly Fishing”. This is “high-level” thinking but you are part of this greater good. This mission isn’t just for the board members – it’s for you too!
We have some fun stuff coming up and if you haven’t been on one of Elaine’s Zoom Fly-Tying classes, try it. We also have the results of your survey with some really excellent input on things we can do to improve the membership experience.
I also want to thank all of you for submitting very generous donations to the club for use in our Conservation budget, the High School Scholarship program and the general club fund.
The on-line raffle at the club meeting has been very successful and will continue to improve. Jeff is going to start to set up again the opportunity for you to choose which “buckets” you want your tickets to go to.
Be proud of SCFF; we’ve been helping our other FFI clubs in Northern California sharing our successes as we quickly morphed from a nymph to a beautiful salmon fly during this year of opportunity. Thank you for being part of it. More to come. Jump on Zoom – do something different! ?
Hey all, hope you are doing well now that we left Winter, skipped through Spring and Summer and now it’s Fall?! I’ve added Evacuee to my list of things I never thought I’d be one day -but still super grateful for so much.
If you’ve missed a club meeting the last few months, you’ve missed out on some real fun and great presentations. If you need help doing this whole “Zoom” thing, please seek out me, or Scott Kitayama and we’ll help you get set up so you can attend a Club meeting, a Fly-Tying class, and even hang out with us at a Board Meeting.
All has NOT been lost due to Covid. We’ve actually been helping so many of you engage in casting practice, fly-tying and fishing together. I never like fishing close to someone anyhow, so six feet is nothing. Hey, really, so many of you and so many of us have been out fishing, casting and picking up fly-tying materials at Elaines, for the classes she’s been running.
As I mentioned earlier in the year, if we didn’t have Covid – none of us would know what Zoom is, use it, or certainly not run a club meeting or a fly-tying class with it. But we did, and it’s a lot of fun.
The Club meetings are nice cause we get through the “business” portion in record time and spend most of it saying hi to each other, talk about places we went fishing, and other activities we’ve been doing – like driving to Montana, Utah, Oregon, Wyoming,… instead of flying.
The presentations are excellent. 1. You can hear perfectly. 2. You can see everything perfectly cuz it’s right there on your screen. 3. You know everybody’s name, cuz it appears on the screen. 4. If you’re all talking at the same time, I can “mute” you in 1 second rather than have to ask you to be quiet! Ha!. AND – if your better half is at all concerned about you having a beer with the gang afterward -no more -cuz you’re already at home! Just please make sure whomever might pass by yer camera while yer Zoomin’, is wearin’ clothes!
Thank you again Steve Rudzinski for your corralin the folks over to Jade Street Park on Wednesdays for Social Distance Casting. Last time I was there, some tennis player was smartin off to us ‘bout what kind of fish we were catching. I did a back cast that poked him in the shirt and said, ‘Large mouth b-Ass’!
And Elaine! Super Star – you wanna talk about someone who would much rather be driving her van around the country with her husband, fishin’ size 39 mini-midges to lunker rainbows than having anything to do with a computer. Well she’s got these fly-tying classes down so good if it were a YouTube Channel, she’d be on Curt Gowdies Wild World of Sports and Adventure.
Jeff Goyert and team – what great fun we’ve been having with the raffle and how it has grown since you got more comfortable with the format. Winning rods, reels, fly boxes and so much more is super fun.
I’m really happy to hear how many of you have been out fishing, camping and enjoying the peace and quite – albeit, pre Stormageddon that brought Armageddon the last month. I’m still trying to figure out between Covid and fires, what day and what month it is. And I do hope our members and their friends and families are all safe. I know it has been a year of remembrance.
Fly Fishing doesn’t really cure Covid -but staying healthy, eating well and having the best psychological health will fight off even the nastiest bugs, physical or mental. So hang with us if you haven’t – yet. Reach out if you need help connecting to Zoom. We want to be here for you and to have you with us.
It has been a year of remembrance. Yes, some challenges, but I bet all of us have some real blessings and some great things that have come this year that would never have come if it weren’t for these circumstances.
I’ve needed all of you so many times this year, even if it was just a club meeting to keep me remembering what day it was and getting myself back on the ground. We are still averaging 1 or 2 new members every month – most signing up online.
Hang in there like you were fishin’ the catch of a life time on 7X tippler. You’ll get it to the net and we want to hear how you did it.
Appreciate all of you and do miss you -but sure glad I get to see you when we’re Zoomin’ along. Come join us – 6:30 – Look for the link in the newsletter and if you don’t know what that is or how to get there – call me.
CZU Lightning Complex Fire – Covid – Fish. Fly-Fishing. What Day is It?
At this writing we’ve evacuated our home in Ben Lomond (which is safe), and are watching God clean up 81,000 acres (Sunday was 2,500, Tuesday, 25,000, Wednesday 63,000, Sunday 74,000 -21% containment) of forest in Santa Cruz Mountains. A historic event not seen in nearly a century. Tragically over 635 structures are lost and likely more still unaccounted for. Many of them homes. We are okay and we are now patiently waiting for the opportunity to return home. Beyond grateful for all our service members fighting the fire and protecting some 24,000 residences from looting. And my brother Dave, and Diane for a great place to stay and for all who came to help us move horses, chickens, belongings and prepare the house even more.
Before the fire, Mona and I had taken off to play in the Sierra for a few days. It was a beautiful trip. We watched meteor showers on a houseboat at Lake Almanor, caught trout at Moccasin Creek just before it dumps into Lake Don Pedro. Some very feisty escapees – probably from the hatchery above. Despite drifting PT Nymphs in the heat of the day, the fish were still willing and fun. Then we fished the, North Fork of the Stanislaus at Boardman’s Crossing in Dorrington, where we had to contend with a lot of the smaller wild fish hitting our flies, and roaming cattle, while we went in search of the larger fish. That water was colder than Moccasin.
Bear Valley Ski Resort is a beautiful place to visit this time of year. When you are taking a break from fly-fishing, you can rent canoes, and mountain bikes to do some other adventuring, or you can just hike many miles around Alpine Lake and other areas- free and Covid Free!
We got skunked on the East Fork of the Carson, mostly because we fished the heat of the day and we were finally starting to think about heading home. But we had a beautiful time exploring the Sierra in our truck. Best Covid get away together.
There is still plenty of time to do some terrific fly-fishing here and within 2-4 hours driving. 5 hours and you have your pick of the best fly fishing in California. Most of these places we chose are the best and we learned about them hanging out at our Zoom Club meetings talking about these areas, accommodations, flies,… The RV parks have tent camping and many of them have nicer bathrooms and showers if you’re on the move like we were. Best thirty dollars, especially if you’re with yer best friend. Make your camp easy to set up and take down – fun way to move about.
We have all been working hard together during this Flaming Covid crisis to keep – YOU – our membership engaged, and especially our new members who are anxious to drink from this 43 year cup of fly-fishing experience we are. We have engaged in so much and I’m super happy with what we’re doing. Please attend the Zoom meetings. They are fun – Even if you don’t stay for the whole meeting, come – buy a few raffle tickets ahead of time and hang out. This meeting Lance Grey is going to share some awesome Northern California trout tips for us, and even around some of the lakes. Don’t miss this one.
I am also super excited to introduce you to our new Secretary, Camille Padilla and our new Newsletter Editor/Web Master, Scott Kitayama. Both Scott and Camille dove in and have been helping so much already. We’re all really excited to have them on your Board.
It is hard figuring out what day it is sometimes. And we’re naturally thinking of all our friends impacted by Covid and these fires. It’s been a year of refining for sure. But we persevere, look forward, get creative and look for things we can be grateful for in the midst of trials.
When we saw the orange glow over the mountain in Ben Lomond that Monday night, that “fight or flight” thing kicks in and you just do. I thought of the men and women fighting the fire and how they must feel, that there are no scheduled ten-minute breaks or lunch hour. Or the men and women who have had to fight for freedom in wars or to live in a war zone, not knowing for months, if you were going to make it or not. We had a lot of help and we all reached out to help each other, even when we were tired from helping ourselves. It’s what we do. It’s what brings us together.
When the smoke clears and things settle, we’ll fish more. Together.
Thank you for being a valuable part of SCFF. I am grateful for you. Tom
Well – so much for the “restart”. I think I’ll go fishing.
Wow. Didn’t really see this coming, but now planning for more essential long-term opportunities. Isn’t it nice to know that fishing is a good way to get out these days? RV sales, Campers, hiking and cycling related sales are at record highs. So are the hardware stores and pizza shops!
Just a 2-3-4 or 5 hours drive from Santa Cruz – are some great trout fishing opportunities. The very best in the west. I am headed to the Merced in a couple days for an overnight camping trip and some summer wet wading and dry-fly fishing. If you’re into it – you can go to www.recreation.gov – put in the name of a National Forest near you, the camping area you want to go to, and your’e in.
Last month, we talked about the surf, which for some of us is between 10 and 20 minutes away. And that fishing is still very good- surf perch, striper, halibut…
Many of you missed George Revel’s Zoom presentation on fly-fishing the surf in the Bay Area. I know this because Zoom is a really cool way to see all of you. If you haven’t loaded this onto your computer – do. It’s super awesome. We had a very engaging 2 hours and it was really fun hanging out with George and our members till 8:30 chatting away about everything surf and fly-fishing related.
August was going to be our annual BBQ/Slop n Swap meet, but due to the Covid conundrum, we are instead going to be having a nice raffle -with online ticket sales, and a fantastic presentation on fly-fishing for bass and bluegill – which you can also do in a 1-2-3 hour drive from Santa Cruz. The club meeting will start via Zoom at 6:30. See the club meeting section for the link – click on it, and zoom – you’re in! Easier than a campsite!
If you are a new member, we’re going to be doing fly-tying again – via Zoom, a Happy Hour, knot tying and Steve Rudzinski and a few other board members are going to be hosting some beginning fly casting tutoring. The first at Jade Street Park in Capitola and maybe some additional work at another park – TBD- maybe at DeLaveaga. Keep up with the newsletter and the SCFF email list. If you’re not getting either of them – reach out to me – and we’ll make certain you are informed.
With the Covid crisis in an uncertain state, more than ever, we are going to continue to do more to keep you engaged. We are also collaborating with other clubs such as the Delta Fly Fishers -who are enabling us to join in some of their fish-outs where there is room. I’d encourage you to participate and join in some of these activities where possible. They are a super enthusiastic group. We’re all in this together.
I do miss all of you, but I am grateful we are doing well as a club and as a membership. I am happy no one has been sick. You have been fishing. You have been helping, encouraging and being responsible to each other and your families and friends. We are going to come out of this better and all of the really awesome fun, on-line things we are doing because of this, are only going to make us stronger and more engaging, fun,…
All for now – trying to keep this short. If you want to participate on the board, help the club, have some ideas to share -write to me or call. I’d love to hear from you.
I had the fortunate opportunity to fish for surf perch and Striper in our local waters from New Brighton to Manresa. Caught my first Striper on a Clouser at New Brighton. My first Barred Surf Perch with the legendary Jim Lazzarotti, in Rio Del Mar when he first taught me to fish with my fly-rod this way.
I admit I really enjoy New Brighton and Rio Del Mar the most. I’ve spent the last 38 years here and “grew up” in the Rio Del Mar, Seacliff area.
I moved to California when I was 20. I was deeply entrenched in horse sports. The short part of the longer story is that I had a dream to ride Dressage in the Olympics one day, but discovered vaulting- gymnastics on horses, and in California, and that was it. Yes – I was, and still am, in many ways, a horse person.
When I moved to California, for three years, I lived in the apartment right behind Café Rio. It’s still there and still the same blue/grey color it was in the 80’s. I paid ninety bucks a month to split a room with one of my teammates. I ran every inch of those beaches and the stairs around them. Swam more than a few times in those waters out near the cement ship.
But didn’t fish those waters until I became a fly fisherman, and then it took a few years to get me off trout and bass waters and into the salt. Shooting head? Sink Tip? Running Line? What was all that?
As with most of your fly-fishing terms, technology and lingo – you figure this out very quickly. Two or three times fishing in the surf and you’ll get it. DO NOT give up! Relax, enjoy those hours. They are undoubtedly early, so what else would you be doing? Sleeping? Working?! Get it? Enjoy.
Our club has arguably some of the very best surf casters and surf fly-fishers in the Bay Area. If you read California Fly Fisher Magazine, and you should, Robert Ketley is almost always writing up some practical article about fishing New Brighton. If the bowl isn’t full of salad – you’ll find Ketley there pretty much any time you’re there. Others like Robert Eberle, Kirk Mathew, Sam Bishop, Elaine Cook, Mark Traugott, have mastered their skills here. If you ever get to fish with any of them – watch them closely. Do what they do! Seriously! While I’m only 5’6” and Robert Eberle 6’ something, he has that bit of an advantage over the height of the breakers he can take over me, but his casting, retrieve, where and how he moves the fly in the surf rewards him with more than humbly. So, even with the height disadvantage, if I can get everything else, right – it works. And it does. You might even catch a halibut, or as in Elaine’s case once – a Leopard shark.
It’s not expensive! And, you don’t need 6X tippler and magnifying goggles to see the flies. ‘fact, you can fish 10 pound mono and rig a two or three fly leader easy. And you don’t want expensive anyhow, cause you want to make sure when you forget just once or twice to completely rinse out your gear, you’re not ruining something priceless.
Anyhow- we’ve had a lot of good discussion, fish-outs and speakers regarding this means of fly-fishing. Sure, it’s not your High Sierra, Montana, Wind River Cuttbow fishing experience, but it has its own beautiful charm right here. You have to be careful, just like you do anywhere else. Never turn your back on the ocean and know how to read what a “rip” or a hole looks like. Waves are very unpredictable and some sets will be small, but then boom – you’re caught off guard by a rogue wave, or the larger set. Rivers and lakes have their trials too. Just keep your eyes open and your wits about you. Those form fitting PFD’s – Personal Floatation Devices are a good idea. So is what you’re wading in. In the summer, the water isn’t really that cold. You could wet wade! Or just make sure you got your wading belts on snug and stay reasonable.
I never fished when I lived in Rio Del Mar or Seacliff. As a 20 year old kid, I ran, swam, sat on the beach – if I went to the beach at all. But I loved the peace there – especially in the morning and evening. For nine years I lived there and all I did besides work and school was ride horses. Now I live where I have horses, but all I think about is fishing! Or the garden!
I’m not sure what the next few months have in store for us. Your board and I are trying to figure out what’s best for our membership, how to be responsible, compliant and still have fun. We have some new members who’d love to get out and learn from some of us – even some of our newest high-school scholarship recipients. I miss just being able to pick up the phone, plan to meet some place and have fun casting, fishing,… Of course, we are still doing all of this, but it’s just taking a little more planning and care.
Since my own mom and dad would surely have a very difficult time surviving this pandemic if they were to get sick, I’m super grateful for everyone who cares. I also feel the burden, anxiety, unrest and other emotions that come with the hardships, even if I don’t have them, entirely, myself. I know a lot of people who have lost their jobs, lost loved ones and have lost their businesses at a time when they were doing really well. They didn’t get sick, they didn’t hurt anyone, didn’t do anything wrong, but overnight, we had to change and it was very hard on them and still is. If you’re in that group, I appreciate you.
So, let’s remember the good, focus on good, appreciate that which has been good amidst all of which can seem really bad. Look out for each other, no matter the differences. Be Kind. Be good, and maybe take someone fishing, or go fishing with someone.
We are doing our best and you are helping us be our best. Thank you. See you soon. Have a good 4th of July. We’re still planning our August BBQ at the Grange – all things considered.
Really – I mean, respecting all concerns, requirements, regulations. But there are lots of opportunities for all of us to get out and go fishing. Immediately, the surf is in our back yard and is abundant with Surf Perch, Striper, Halibut and other species- like Great White Shark!! Wouldn’t that be a hoot! Yes, it’s best to have a sinking line, running line and stripping basket, but you’ll get the hang of it fast and you can often get in 3 hours of fun before the rest of the world gets up in the morning. A lot in your newsletter – thank you Sam Bishop and the rest for bringing us along.
You can get out to a number of bass lakes within a few hours and some trout fishing not too much farther. Many, if not most, of our local California guides are working and are very reasonable for a day or two of wade fishing our northern CA waters, or the Eastern side of the Sierra locations. I’m immediately thinking of a number of our guest speakers- Jon Baiocchi, Joe Contaldi, Chris King and many others who would happily help you navigate a successful, safe and fun trip. Look them up. Go fishing.
If you missed the May meeting via Zoom – it was a HUGE SUCCESS. We had 38 people attend and stay the entire meeting. Jeff Goyert pulled of an excellent door prize raffle as it was easy to capture everyone’s names via Zoom. AND – I didn’t have to ask anyone to be quiet – ever. I just put you on Mute!! ? It was so fun to see everyone’s faces and everyone had some input or another. It really was fun. Jim Cox, from Western Rivers Conservancy, was incredible. A beautiful presentation and a commanding expertise in his field, kept everyone interested. This month, June 3rd, we are doing to do it again! This time we’ll have George Revel from Lost Coast Outfitters. Join the meeting by 6:30! Don’t miss this fun way to meet. You’ll love it.
Fly-Tying Class – Zoom?
Elaine is even thinking of doing a Zoom Fly-tying class where you can sign up, pickup the fly-tying materials at a predetermined location and then do the class via Zoom!! How ‘bout that!? Stay tuned.
High-School Scholarships – Aptos, Harbor, Soquel, Santa Cruz, San Lorenzo, Pajaro Valley
This year, the SCFF members contributed directly to enable us to give twelve, one hundred dollar scholarships to students finishing high-school, heading into college studies that involve Science and/or Environmental Sciences/studies. Each of the twelve students will also receive a on year membership to the club. Thank you all for your generous donations to SCFF, enabling us to continue our mission “To Promote, Educate, and Enjoy, the Sport of Fly Fishing” and to call upon the youth of the world.
The Future! – Well, at least July, and August
I understand these days have been challenging for many, and downright disastrous in other ways. But there have also been many blessings. The wildlife and the planet are benefitting in ways we’d never have been successful at even with all the “world leaders” we have. Tragically, it took a deadly virus to clean up the air, water and noise pollution in one month, now two. For how much longer? And will we try to keep it that way?
We’ve come together in ways we’d never do normally. We’ve given, or stayed put, reached out in encouragement, volunteered, donated and changed to meet a need and do our best to enjoy what we can -even if it’s just being together or taking the dog for a walk every day.
There is traditionally no July Club meeting. So I will wish you a truly homespun good ole-fashioned 4th of July with those you can be close to or with. Of course, you can still – Go Fishing!!
We are going ahead with our plans to meet at the Grange in Aptos, for our August meeting. It will be outdoors, mostly, and is our annual club Barbeque and Swap Meet. Yes -we will be taking every required precaution, and some maybe a bit more personal, to be as responsible as we should be. IF, something was to happen where we couldn’t have the BBQ, we’ll have a plan B. But I am hoping those of you who will be excited and able to come together, in August. We’ll have an All-American BBQ and swap meet.
Thanks to your board, all those who have reached out to help in so many ways. And thanks to some new members, Scott, Camille, Michael, who have offered and helped in a number of ways. That is what we are about.
Set Zoom up on your iPad, computer, and prepare for the June meeting. I look forward to seeing you. Until then? – Go -what? Go Fishing!
Shifting gears can be super difficult if your clutch is bad and your synchros aren’t working properly, crunching through the gears, with a shift lever that won’t move, a car that won’t go and a clutch pedal that won’t give up. Well, I’m happy to say that your Fly-Fishing synchro’s – the group you might refer to as “The Board” – of SCFF are synced and seem to be expert at navigating gear changes quite good. Afterall, who else will drive 5 hours or fly twenty-four hours to a destination with a plan, only to find it changing in an instant. Weather, flies, water condition/volume, hole in yer waders, hook in the neck, broken rod, dropped your best fly box in the water… COVID-19 got nothing on this bunch of seasoned veterans – with all due respect.
Not to take lightly the situation at all, but your board came together battling things we often resist or just leave alone as we mature for the benefit of you. Yeah – you!
For the first time in the forty-three years the Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen has been in existence, we held our board meeting via “Zoom”- an internet based teleconferencing application that made it easy for anyone with a computer, tablet or smartphone to access. Even when some of us had never done such a thing, it was not only fun, but very productive. Elaine Cook, your Master Fly-Tying instructor, even launched her meeting from the passenger seat in Big Red, as she and John were obviously returning from a top secret, never to be disclosed, socially distant day of fly-fishing.
All of us wore our favorite fishing hats, donned a libation, sat in our favorite spots and launched further into the 21st Century than any of us would have ventured, ever. I dare say that if I ever told the board, let’s do something like this for “fun”, it would have passed like the worst constipation you’ve ever had in your life – I know, bad picture. But look; we simply would not have done it. You throw a deadly virus at us and tell us we can’t meet for the benefit of our membership, our mission, fly-fishing, scholarships, a beer together, and what we can do to help? Get out of the way.
As many of you know, if I miss a board meeting or a club meeting, it’s because of work. Oh – and I’m still working – twice has hard to do half as much with thirty percent less. But I am grateful. Anyhow, I miss everyone when we can’t get together. Having the board meeting via the internet came terrific and it was really good to see everyone, hear their voices, laugh together and do our job.
So, while we physically still can’t “get together” for the May meeting – we’re gonna get together. We are going to have our May Meeting on Zoom. You will all get an invite in your email – so make sure it’s up to date. Wear your best fishing hat, and we’ll get through the business portion quickly. AND – we’re going to test out a raffle by having a super nice door prize for anyone attending. Jeff Goyert said his wife will do the draw – so we know it wasn’t fixed!! Then we’ll have a Zoom presentation with Western Rivers Conservancy. Yes – a presentation – on line, with questions afterward.
The new website is up -www.santacruzflyfishing.org, AND in less than a month, we had our first member who signed up on line. I can’t wait till we have our first member join from a different country!! How cool is that! Over the next month or so, the website is going to get even better and there will be opportunities for lots of fun stuff.
Look, I know it’s really a mess out there and I realize that without my phone and with out the internet, I likely wouldn’t have the job I have, and the club wouldn’t be doing much at all. So while all the technology and traffic often gets on my nerves, I am so grateful for these opportunities to do so much good, in a time when we need to focus more on that.
Stay tuned, I’m working on Mark to do some YouTube or Zoom casting instruction / Q&A, and I’m trying to convince Elaine how awesome it would be to do some Zoom based fly-tying. And Sam Bishop is organizing some Social Distance Surf Casting for Perch and Stripers. So watch the newsletter and schedule. The surf is open and this is an excellent time of year to get out on the surf.
Things will continue to change as we adjust to all of this conundrum we’re in, so keep close to your newsletter and the website. Write, call, talk to each other, get out there and practice yer casting. We will be back on the water. Think how terrific all of this is for the environment, for the fish, for those places you like to fish. Know they aren’t getting hammered, but they are being left to recover.
Wouldn’t it be a good idea if maybe every couple years, we just shut down everything to let the earth heal from all that we do to it?
I think so. Thank you all for our support, we are wishing you well and a safe return to a new normal.
In 1992 I was at the Ed Rice Fly Fishing Show with Mona. We were still practically newly-weds and had recently seen A River Runs Through It, in the movie theatre. As new comers to fly-fishing I was on overdrive soaking in everything as a guy who by today’s standards had virtually nothing in my collection of all things fly-fishing. We were taking in everything from fly-tying, gear, waders, flys, vests, hats, how I came to get my Filson cap, and guys and gals casting fly rods, like I’d just seen Brad Pitt do in the movie.
Mona and I befriended a guy at the Sage booth. At that time, I didn’t know Sage from Orvis, from R.L. Winston, Thomas & Thomas,… They were all just really expensive and really beautiful. This guy was super nice. He grabbed a couple of rods and we went outside to do some casting. It was evening, but the casting pool was lit up. Fly lines shimmering and floating in the night sky against the bright lights. We were having a blast and learning a lot, watching the line, practicing and practicing. When we asked his name, he said it was Randy Swisher. I commented, ‘Swisher?! You mean like, Doug Swisher?’
Yeah, That’s my dad.
Wow – I was hooked. When we went back inside, I asked him about the rod I was casting. It was a beautiful deep bluegreen graphite Sage SP. Mona said I did have a birthday coming up soon, and Randy offered up his employee discount and threw in the rod tube.
I’ve loved that rod and at the price you pay for a rod like that, even 28 years ago – you take care of it.
Well I broke it last summer and was crushed. I was worried that part of the rod wasn’t even available anymore. But the long and the short of it, is they did. Sage treated me like it was one of my kids. They repaired the rod and had it back to me in a few weeks.
“Social Distance”. Two words none of us have ever though of putting together before. In an unprecedented health crisis, none of us saw any of this coming. Although I did hear a 2015 TED talk with Bill Gates who warned us of just such a disaster. Wow. Anyhow, I am, like all of us, at home, working to be responsible so as to mitigate this health crisis. We are certainly going to be a different world in the future, and preparing our “kit bags” for many different things we never really thought of before, will become the new norm. Teachers will now have to prepare for their classes each year, with an online curriculum, just in case. Hospitals, government, manufacturing, finance, business in general will have to have a disaster plan that now may include some sort of crisis unforeseen. Probably all good ideas, but hard to manage now -unless you’re Walmart, Clorox, Charmin or Amazon.
It was really hard canceling the April meeting and equally hard having to cancel the board meeting.
As we are at home, I do recall one of the instructions is to “get outside”! I’ve seen more people walking their dogs, or just walking together than I’ve ever seen before. I painted the laundry room and have been fixing some fences. Went for a bike ride. I took inventory of all my fly-fishing gear. I cleaned my fly lines and rigged up some two fly leaders for surf perch/Striper fishing in the near future. I organized my fly-tying and spun up a couple of bugs for the summer I’m very much looking forward to. My rod came back! Get Outside! Okay – that’s where you can practice Social Distance Casting! The grass is green at the parks, and it’s legal/okay to go to the park. You had time to clean your line and maybe even clean up your favorite stick. A good time to get out and practice your line control, with a little dab of yarn, and do something different. If you’re in the park waving a nine foot long stick with a long colorful string on the end of it, chances are, people are gonna stay way clear of you. Much more than six feet.
Stay well my friends. Hang in there and all of us at SCFF are wishing everyone good health so we get through this together and get back to having fun together. We are going to appreciate that more than ever before.
Yawn! It’s 3:15 a.m. and I’m up getting ready to head to the airport. I like getting up early. Especially if I’m getting on a plane or into my truck to head out on an adventure. There’s just something about that special excitement that comes from discon-necting from the normal work flow of life, planning to get into the great outdoors and fish.
My favorite time to be driving is so early that even in the Bay Area, no one is on the road. Your only concern the potential of a deer, coyote, mountain lion, raccoon, or pos-sum crossing the road. Coffee! Always on the road long enough for that break from black to navy, to dark blue as the sun is long from the horizon, but letting us know that it will soon be first light.
When my brother and I first drove across the country more than 37 years ago, I still distinctly remember when that first light started to occur and where. The most stunning is when we were driving through Cheyenne, Wyoming. That one I’ll never forget. In Albu-querque when my dad and I drove across again and it had snowed on our way into Flagstaff, Arizona.I can’t really explain it, but maybe it’s this weird sense of being ahead of everyone else, being the first to see what no one else was seeing, and to see it all pure, quiet, no traffic, no one else. It’s kind of like those winter days in Ohio when it snowed a foot, was still snowing heavily, and the bunch of us ventured out to the Metro Parks in the hills, and how almost unnaturally, crazy quiet it was. Or the time Mona and I were at eleven thousand feet on the Bear Tooth Mountain pass in Mon-tana hiking a couple miles back into the wilderness to fish for Brookies. We stopped and just looked at each other, marveling at how we could hear nothing. Nothing at all but for a bird, a bug, or the sound of the breeze.
Last year, I was up early and passing through the foothills in Roseville, on my way to my first Pyramid fishout, when that first light occurred again. Could not have been a bet-ter morning, capped off by seeing my good friends of SCFF by First LightBy President Tom Hogye10:30 a.m., then landing my first Lahontan Cutthroat by 12:30. This would be where they do that “mic drop” thing – boom. One and done, baby!
Or there was that morning, freezing cold, ice on the guides, can’t really see the river you’re entering. How light makes you rub your early morning eyes as if they need help adjusting, then that grab hours later and you’re off and running with a steelhead on the other end.Even though this morning means sitting in the airport on a Sunday morning heading for a conference in Florida, where it’s all about “how much more can you bring in the door, Hogye”, I am looking forward to those other mornings, those mornings I might not have a chance to do if it weren’t for my work, family, friends and SCFF. Makes everything worth it.
Over the next couple of months, watch for the new SCFF website! Thanks to PatSteele, Bob Peterson, and your board, we willbe fast moving into the 21st century with some really exciting, intuitive and vibrant changesto the Santa Cruz Fly Fishing website. We’re really excited. And if you’d like to lend yourexpertise and be on the cutting edge of this work, helping us withour monthly newsletter, content, email lists, and other resources we are working on, please reach out and we’d love to have your help.
If you need a good book to read, look for “Feather Thief”. It’s a very interesting look at what happened to the fly-tying industry and one particular person. I’ve listened to the podcast twice and then met Bill Keogh from Keogh Hackles at this year’s Fly-Fishing Expo in Pleasanton, where so many of us met for what you could rightly call our second “Christmas.” It’s such an awesome place to meet so many people who love the out-doors, fly fishing, and all that it encompasses. Was another really great year.
At this moment, sitting on the plane for yet another work trip, I’m looking forward to trips with SCFF, my family and friends. See you soon!