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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

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One Year Later – Busting Out of Covid

by Thomas Hogye

April

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.

See you soon.    Tom

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Are You Connected?

by Thomas Hogye

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.

See you on Instagram – Tom

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January Fires, February Rain -Fly-Fishing or Bust.

by Thomas Hogye

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.

A thousand thanks from all of us John and Pat.

– Fish On my friends.    Tom

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Happy New Year

by Tom Hogye

Happy New Year!

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.

Happy New Year.    Hogye

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Happy Holidays

by Tom Hogye

Happy Holidays Everyone.

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.

Merry Christmas!   Tom

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Pull Out Your Roster!

by Tom Hogye

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!   ?

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Fly-Fishing Cures Covid

by Tom Hogye

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.

Fish!   Tom

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Flaming Covid and Fly Fishing!

by Tom Hogye

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

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History In the Making – Covid Conundrum Continues

by Tom Hogye

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.

Fish on my friends.   Tom    – thomashogye@yahoo.com / 831-214-7578

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In the Midst of Change

by Tom Hogye

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.

I miss you all.   Tom

 

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Go Fishing!

by Tom Hogye

Go Fishing!

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.

Club Meetings!

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!