Hello my fellow big stick fly line, fly tying, fly flippin enthusiasts. For what is probably the first time in the 43 year history of the SCFF, we have had to cancel our April meeting due to the Coronavirus pandemic forcing us to shelter-in place and wait out the storm.
I found this beautiful adventure of two people heading across the country to spend a summer fly-fishing in Montana. The photos and video are spectacular and include fish, fur and feather. No this is not the typical adventure that John and Elaine Cook do every summer, but it could very well be, or be you – or me – next!! I invite you to turn on your TV, grab some popcorn and a refreshment – say “youtube” and settle into your most comfortable place and enjoy this nearly 1 hour escape.
You can also visit www.tightloopsfly.com
Wishing all of you good health and looking forward to gathering again soon.
Unfortunately , due to Covid-19, our class is canceled. I’ll bet the bass are real happy! As for other future fly tying classes, we will have to play it by ear, one month at a time. With your spare time, whip out a few of the “Fly of the Month” patterns. Good time to clean reels and lines. Add a new leader and tippet. And follow the dictate of Steve Rudzinski and sharpen those clouser hooks. Stay safe and well
In 1992 I was at the Ed Rice Fly Fishing Show with Mona. We were still practically newly-weds and had recently seen A River Runs Through It, in the movie theatre. As new comers to fly-fishing I was on overdrive soaking in everything as a guy who by today’s standards had virtually nothing in my collection of all things fly-fishing. We were taking in everything from fly-tying, gear, waders, flys, vests, hats, how I came to get my Filson cap, and guys and gals casting fly rods, like I’d just seen Brad Pitt do in the movie.
Mona and I befriended a guy at the Sage booth. At that time, I didn’t know Sage from Orvis, from R.L. Winston, Thomas & Thomas,… They were all just really expensive and really beautiful. This guy was super nice. He grabbed a couple of rods and we went outside to do some casting. It was evening, but the casting pool was lit up. Fly lines shimmering and floating in the night sky against the bright lights. We were having a blast and learning a lot, watching the line, practicing and practicing. When we asked his name, he said it was Randy Swisher. I commented, ‘Swisher?! You mean like, Doug Swisher?’
Yeah, That’s my dad.
Wow – I was hooked. When we went back inside, I asked him about the rod I was casting. It was a beautiful deep bluegreen graphite Sage SP. Mona said I did have a birthday coming up soon, and Randy offered up his employee discount and threw in the rod tube.
I’ve loved that rod and at the price you pay for a rod like that, even 28 years ago – you take care of it.
Well I broke it last summer and was crushed. I was worried that part of the rod wasn’t even available anymore. But the long and the short of it, is they did. Sage treated me like it was one of my kids. They repaired the rod and had it back to me in a few weeks.
“Social Distance”. Two words none of us have ever though of putting together before. In an unprecedented health crisis, none of us saw any of this coming. Although I did hear a 2015 TED talk with Bill Gates who warned us of just such a disaster. Wow. Anyhow, I am, like all of us, at home, working to be responsible so as to mitigate this health crisis. We are certainly going to be a different world in the future, and preparing our “kit bags” for many different things we never really thought of before, will become the new norm. Teachers will now have to prepare for their classes each year, with an online curriculum, just in case. Hospitals, government, manufacturing, finance, business in general will have to have a disaster plan that now may include some sort of crisis unforeseen. Probably all good ideas, but hard to manage now -unless you’re Walmart, Clorox, Charmin or Amazon.
It was really hard canceling the April meeting and equally hard having to cancel the board meeting.
As we are at home, I do recall one of the instructions is to “get outside”! I’ve seen more people walking their dogs, or just walking together than I’ve ever seen before. I painted the laundry room and have been fixing some fences. Went for a bike ride. I took inventory of all my fly-fishing gear. I cleaned my fly lines and rigged up some two fly leaders for surf perch/Striper fishing in the near future. I organized my fly-tying and spun up a couple of bugs for the summer I’m very much looking forward to. My rod came back! Get Outside! Okay – that’s where you can practice Social Distance Casting! The grass is green at the parks, and it’s legal/okay to go to the park. You had time to clean your line and maybe even clean up your favorite stick. A good time to get out and practice your line control, with a little dab of yarn, and do something different. If you’re in the park waving a nine foot long stick with a long colorful string on the end of it, chances are, people are gonna stay way clear of you. Much more than six feet.
Stay well my friends. Hang in there and all of us at SCFF are wishing everyone good health so we get through this together and get back to having fun together. We are going to appreciate that more than ever before.
Over 150 members have submitted over $5,000 in dues and additional $1,300 in donations for scholarships and conservation. New 2020 rosters will go to the printers and be available at the April meeting. Please email/txt me and I will mail you a roster. Thank you Scott Kitayama for helping with Google Groups .
My first attempt to navigate the new system and thanking Vicki for patience and giving me an idea for a new name for my title and position with the organization.
I wanted to share the letter I got from the volunteers and friends who are working hard to save the last wild river system all the way to the headwaters where the largest open pit copper and gold mine is slated, approved and rejected and near approval again and up to Washington at this stage. Our members approved a donation to saving Bristol Bay and also honoring the name and legend of a fallen friend, guide and fisherman who lost his life in Alaska rafting a wild American Creek, he was not found and we donated his speakers fee to the charity in his name, This is for you John Squires and your wife Vicki and children and giant dog who miss him very much.
Other news is that although listed as being in our county off Laurel Glen Rd, the new 5 G tower was rejected by residents in the area I learned but calling the glass studio next door to where the tower was said to be located the owner said its not going up now. Santa Cruz County is so far opposed to the spread of 5G at this time. Nearest tower is across from SJ City Hall or Hollister. Fresno seems to have the most activity in CA at this time.
As Scoop once said at the end of all his years of alternative radio news, “If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own”. Peace and stay well, ‘Conservation Slim’
Just a little tease for the next club raffle. The big prize will be a 10 ft. 3wt Echo Carbon XL Euro Nymph rod with a Rio Euro Nymph sighted leader with tippet ring. Along with these will be the DVD by Devine Olsen on how the whole Euro Nymph thing works. If you ever thought about trying this, now is your chance.
Since lock down here in the bunker I have been ordering a lot of cool stuff, stay tuned.
This, easy to tie, fly pattern has many material and color variations. Try using it for shad in rivers or perch in the surf. Shad fishing is right around the corner. And of course perch can be targeted usually in spring, summer and fall. Our surf fishouts will begin soon and may be an acceptable CDC outing due to the ability to practice social distancing of 6 feet or more.
Hook: Mustad 34007 or Eagle Claw 253SS , sizes 4-10
Thread: 6/0 , color to match head
Eyes: med size bead chain
Tail: marabou or calf tail, red, orange or white
Flash and Body: crystal flash, red, orange or pearl
Head: sm. chenille or crystal chenille, red or orange
Coating: Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails nail polish
Glue: Supper Glue, Zap-A-Gap or similar
Attach thread behind hook eye. Touching wraps to mid shank then forward to 2 eye lengths behind eye.
Tie in bead chain eyes on top of shank with many crisis-cross wraps and circular wraps below balls but above shank. Apply glue. Position thread at rear of shank.
Use sm. amt. tail material. If calf tail,clean out underfur. Position material on top of shank. Tips, shank length to rear. Tie in place up to bead chain. Cut excess.
Using 3 strands of crystal flash, bend in half forming a loop. Tie to top of shank withloopextendingto tipof tail. Position thread behind bead chain. Wet strands. With touching wraps, wrap forward to bead chain, then back to tail, then forward again. Tie off, cut excess. Cut loop. Apply glue to body.
Remove some fibers from end of chenille. Tie in strings behind bead chain. Position thread in front of bead chain.wrap chenille around both beads forming a round head.tie off, cut excess. Multiple thread wraps behind hook eye. Tie off, cut thread. Apply glue.
Coat body and tie off thread wraps with Sally Hansen’s.
This trip was a weird one, from beginning to end. The first glitch came when I got the notice to check in. I did so, and obtained my boarding pass. I tried to get John’s pass as well, but he was not listed as a passenger on the same locator number, which was odd. No matter what search criteria I used, I could not find John. John finally resorted to calling the airline, and to his dismay, he was not ticketed, so after spending all afternoon on the phone, he finally managed to get a last-minute ticket.
We got the same flight, although not seated together, and arrived in Atlanta, spent the night as planned, and flew out to Georgetown Exuma the following morning.
We picked up a small car at the airport. We noted several scratches on the right front door of the vehicle. We stopped by a deli to get some lunch provisions, and when we came back out to the car, we noticed a big dent on the same side of the car as the scratches. John was afraid we would be held accountable for the dent, but it was rusty and had obviously happened before we rented the car. A lady saw us walking around the car, fretting, and came out. She offered to call the car rental place to tell them about the dent, as she was related to the owner of the rental agency. She squared things up with them, and we went on our way.
Tom Pelikan and Noelle Nichols had gotten to Exuma several days before us, and they reported they had had a good day’s fishing, so we anticipated something similar. That was not to be. The weather was so windy our guide, Drex Rolle, called us to cancel our first day’s fishing. We spent the first three days hunkered down, waiting for conditions to improve. We finally got to go out, John went up to bat first. Try as he might, he couldn’t seem to work line out or get any distance on his casts. Drex coached him, and finally took the rod to demonstrate, much to John’s chagrin. Drex caught a mangrove on his back cast, wiggled the line to get it loose, only to have the tip section come off the end of the rod. He carefully retrieved the rod tip, and discovered it had fractured right above the ferrule. Fortunately, we had my Orvis Helios II, which John used for the rest of the day. I only got up briefly all day. I think John got two fish, tagged a few more but did not land them. It was a pretty scanty day.
The next time we went out a couple of days later, I caught a good-sized bone fish on my second cast. We thought, hoo, boy, it’s going to be a great day if this keeps up! It didn’t. John didn’t score until after lunch. There were the few schoolies after that, but nothing to write home about.
We had a third day out, but again, the fishing was not that productive. Tom and Noelle had to leave before we were to depart, so John offered to take them to the airport. After dropping them off, he went over to the car rental agency to thank them for being so nice about the dent. No good deed goes unpunished. He backed into a post behind the car and put a sizable dent in the bumper!
We spent the rest of our time resting, reading, and watching the COVID-19 crisis unfold. We were worried we wouldn’t be able get back into the USA. It came time for us to try to fly home. We got back out to the airport, checked the car in and John settled the bumper issue with the rental agency. We got in line to check in. John suddenly discovered he did not have his passport! He ran back across the street to the car rental agency to look for it. I got out of line and piled our bags in the corner. I waited, almost in tears, not knowing what he was doing. He was gone for almost an hour, and his phone was left in my bag, so I had no idea what was going on. He finally came running back in, having found the passport back at our bungalow, on the bathroom floor. We checked in, and got aboard, and flew in to Atlanta. We were supposed to fly out to LAX and then on to SJC after clearing customs. We got aboard a nice, cushy 777, but they couldn’t start the starboard engine. They fiddled with it for over an hour before pushing us back to the gate and making us get off. The time for our connections had long since lapsed, so we had to rebook with the gate agents. They couldn’t get us home that same night, so they gave us hotel vouchers, and booked us on a morning flight straight through to SJC.
We stayed in the airport Westin in Atlanta. We left instructions for a wakeup call for 6 AM. Not only did they not call, the room clock had not been reset for EDT, so when we did arise, we only had 30 minutes to jump on the shuttle and get ourselves over to the airport, go through TSA, and get on the westbound flight. It was eerie. We were on a 737, and counting us, there were only 20 passengers on the flight.
This isn’t so much an article about fishing as it is a caveat for anyone planning any trips in the near future. We can’t fault the good people of Exuma, they took very good care of us, fed us well, and did their level best to make our vacation enjoyable. Nobody has control on fishing, nature or a pandemic. All we can do is cope, use good sense, wash our hands, stay home and pray this latest crisis resolves itself. For now, we are just happy to be home, safe and well!