Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Different Way To Make A Difference.

A little pick-me-up from yesterday's Debbie Downer....

Constantly within the world of fly fishing we are bombarded with all things “new”. New rods, new reels, new lines, all of which promise to make a difference in the way we fish for the better. For many of us, these new products may help some, other times they may not. But no matter how you look at it, they are meant to change “us”…But what about a totally “new” idea? What about something “new” that makes a difference for everyone? What about a different way to make a difference?

Loon Outdoors has come up with a new “Idea” that is exactly that… Different ways to make a difference.  They explain it perfectly on their website...or see below.

There are some whose creativity matches their passion for conservation. We are grateful for those who not only fight the good fight, but come up with new ways to raise money, get people involved and market their cause.

We will keep this page updated with new ideas as they come in. Our hope is that these ideas will help other passionate
shops, organizations and conservationists get their ideas off of the ground.

This idea is so simple, and yet could potentially change so much for the really is mind boggling. It seems the first company that has jumped on board is Rocky Mountain Anglers out of Boulder, CO. As one of our local sponsorts for the Film Tour, it's great to see them so involved!!

How ‘bout this for a “new” idea that makes a difference?...

When the folks at Rocky Mountain Anglers in Colorado noticed that their local Boulder Creek had trash piling up, they decided to do something about it. They informed anglers that if they brought in a bag of trash from the banks of the creek they would receive a free fly of their choice: small bag = small fly, big bag = big fly. Five bags of trash entitled anglers to a Rocky Mtn Anglers ball cap.

The beauty of this is that everybody wins: the shop (for the small price of a fly) gets people in their store, anglers are motivated to chip in, and, most importantly, the river gets some attention!

Do your local waters need a little TLC? If so, think about taking a page out of the RMA playbook!

How awesome is this concept?!! It’s a win, win for everyone involved. The shop gets people in the door (good for the shop, and the industry), the people clean up their back yard trout water along with getting a few flies for free! …And of course the biggest winner of them all, the environment. Simple.

Kudos to Loon Outdoors, along with Rocky Mountain Anglers for thinking outside the box on this one. It’s seems now more than ever the industry is trying to come up with that next big idea that will get us out of the proverbial ‘rut’ that many think we’re in. Something what will increase participation along with retail sales over night…last time I checked Brad Pitt wasn’t working on his double haul for round two.

I say take a page from Loon Outdoors and challenge each other to think of ideas that can make a big difference one small step at a time in your area.

Free Flies Anyone?


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Conservation FAIL.

The Rio Baker in Patagonia changed my life…
For those of you that don’t know, the Chilean government recently approved the development of one of the world’s largest hydroelectric dams in southern Chile, Patagonia. The project will scar the two longest free flowing rivers in all of Chile. This decision was made even with 61% of the population opposing it. On top of the dam issue…
"The project also calls for a 1,500-mile chain of huge power-line towers to transmit electricity to the north. The power-line corridor would permanently scar an enormous swath of Chile, and open rivers north of Patagonia up to dam building”
.  . I’ll let you read the articles by The Cleanest Line from Patagonia and the AP to fill you in with the rest. It really is sickening...but you can decide for yourself.
In the spring after my last year of college, I was on my NOLS course in Patagonia, fly fishing and backpacking in this exact region of Chile. I had just finished college and was venturing out of the states for the first time. One day into my trip I knew I was in trouble. “This is the furthest from people I’ve ever been, that was the ‘cleanest’ trout I’ve ever caught, that’s the bluest river I’ve ever seen, that’s the highest mountain I’ve ever climbed”. I quickly realized that traveling with fly rod in hand was going to shape the rest of my life…and so far it has.
Near the middle of our trip, I remember our hosts sitting us down at the campfire and bringing up the possibility of dams being put in the river that we had been fishing and exploring. I’m sure that we all had the same thought “No way, not here, not possible, this place is way to amazing for that to happen”. To even try to describe to people what this place was like is almost impossible. To fish for wild trout in the shadows of the Andes Mountains, it’s an experience you have to experience to believe.
In the years that followed, I would from time to time hear the issue being brought up in the conservation and fly fishing worlds, still not really clear as to the true possibility of this happening.
Well the other day I came home to this on my FB wall…

Hi Matt. Just got an email from Conservacion Patagonia that Chile's environmental commissioners approved HidroAysen's proposal to construct five hydroelectric dams on the Baker and Pascua Rivers. Everywhere we fished & hiked in 2006 will be underwater in a few years : (

    • Matthew Heron Sickening that got approved. I've been trying to follow it as much as possible. I was just talking to my wife about it the other day. Makes me wanna puke.
      Thursday at 8:40pm ·
    • Jorge Postigo Hi Mathew & Dave, as a chilean fly fisher I fell ashamed that the commissioners gave green light to the project! The news you received is right (unfortunately).

The Rio Baker and its surrounding tributaries and landscapes will forever be etched in my mind as one of the most beautiful places that not only trout live, but that we have left on this earth. In this day in age, the options for non hydroelectric energy are mind blowing. Has Chile learned nothing from the mistakes of its neighboring countries and even the world? Haven’t they learned from us (Esp. in the Pacific Northwest) the irreversible damages that dams can cause to the natural balance of Mother Nature? Apparently not. 
The entire watershed that we hiked, fished and made new friends will completely be buried under water. Forever. We even set up base camp for a few days at the confluence of the Rio Baker, and Rio Nef mentioned in the article…this is the exact spot where one of the dams will be.
I can only hope and pray that in the next few months or even years that somehow justice will prevail before construction begins.  Plans are already being put in place to try and reverse the outcome of this decision, and it sounds like in just the past few days momentum is already building.
Check out a few of the pics from one of the “Last best places”…
(Huge bummer, for whatever reason one in a hundred of  my pics, including all the Rio Baker pics won't load...not sure what's up. These pics do the region no justice.)

The start of two weeks in the Andes.


Money hole.

Money everything.

The locals preparing our traditional Asado. Fresh!

The crew at the end.

More updates coming soon thanks to chum nation...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

SA Quickie.

Well it's been a while since the last post, I've been busy with guide trips and even a few classes in the snow. Not to mention the final film tour stop of the year in Boulder, with 800 people!! More on that later...but first, a just one quick post...

The first preseason order of SA swag showed up today and just in time too. Things are starting to pick up with classes and trips… and to say I was running low on leader and tippet is an understatement.

A big thanks to Scientific Anglers for an amazing first year on their pro staff and I couldn’t be happier to have them involved with my program. If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out the new Mastery Textured lines, then you should.  Everything you've heard and read is true. They are the perfect younger (and less pricey) cousin to the famous Sharkskin lineup. Did I mention that they are imprinted with SA ID. No more guessing the Wt. and taper.  I just picked up a few more and can’t wait to get them wet in the morning.

400+ leaders should get me through the first month of beginners classes haha.

Ummmm, fluorocarbon!

I Spy Saltness.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring 2011 Bug Slinger

Good buddy Rob McAbee just launched the new line of Spring Bug Slinger gear. 

Some of you may recognize the new short sleeve-T version of the original classic, the Cross Sticks. That’s tops on my list.

 Also, the new permit logo and mayfly decal are nuts!! My order will be going in very soon…

I heart mit.

I'm gonna need several of these...

Check out the rest of the new goodness at the Mothership.

And how bout' that redfish shot on the homepage? Baller.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Tampa Poon Madness

Shortly after leaving Daytona, we arrived in Tampa, home adult tarpon and Skinny Water Culture. Vince Stegura is one of the head masterminds behind this relatively new (3yrs or so) clothing company. Growing up in Florida, Vince pretty much got sick and tired of seeing the younger generation of fly fishers wearing only Columbia fishing shirts, and anything with a Guy Harvey print. He thought “Are those the only options now-a-days?”. And boom, SWC was born.  We spent a ton of time in the “office” learning a bit about the company and what makes it tic…and a lot about what my generation of fly fisher is after. Vince left us with a steroid sized Santa sack full of all kinds of Tee’s, long sleeves, vapors, hats, and hoodies. Jackpot!
Vince, makin' moves in the mothership.

A duck hunters dream.

"Why do you have a shirt with a permit smokin' a joint?"
 "Because it's a permit, and permit do whatever the fuck they want"

The next day, Tampa Bay on The Fly (local shop) hooked us up with a TV interview to help promote the show the following day. Last min we found out that only two of the four of us got the nod to be on set. So Thad did his thing, and Dave got the green light for number two because of his local roots. No worries, Dave made one call, and we had a boat waiting for us in the am.
Brothers don't shake hands, brothers gotta hug!

Or not...

I was great to get on the water in a new area, but we did hit the tide wrong. But like I said, Chad and I were on the water and loving life…not being crammed in a stuffy studio haha. But there was one thing about the interview that made me a bit jealous….
Steve'O was in the house!

The sold out show went off without a hitch. It was a perfect venue with lots of good brews, and restaurant servers for every seat…not a bad set up. Thanks to an inside scoop from Florida Fly Fisherman Magazine; we were the first to announce that ALL FLORIDA BONEFISH ARE NOW CATCH AND REALEASE ONLY!! HELL YES! It gave me chills to hear the crowd’s reaction after I gave the good word.
Here are all the details, with permit regs changing as we speak.
Packed house at the Tampa Pitcher Show.

After the show, the SWC crew put on a nice little post show get together…I’ll let the pics do the talking.
500+...need I say more?

"Celebration". Beer with goat bling.

In what was my final day on the south east run, we were after tarpon. This was my first time to chase the adults, and I soon learned why people go stir crazy over these big boys. Good friend Brian Jill of Lost Coast Anglers had us lined up with two boats, and some good friends for a loooong day of chasin’ the silver kings.
The first part of the day we were after pods of fish daisy chaining on crystal clear flats in about 5-8 feet of water. We had two boats with three guys a piece. I was the first one on the bow once we got settled, and to say I blew my first shot would be putting it nicely. I dumped a fat pile about 20 feet short, and way left.  After my legs stopped shaking, I got my shit together and had a few more shots throughout the day…no hook eats. But at least it wasn’t my fault.
We litterally got low holed on the flat! Wtf?


How do they say…”the night time is the right time”.  That night we were back on the water chasin’ poon under the lights. By about midnight they started to show and were getting a bit more aggressive.  At 1:45am, Brian heard a gulp and said “cast there!”.  So I did. And it was on! I got in about half of a strip set before the fish was at the boat, he then pulled a 180 and headed for the gulf. Never had I seen a drag scream so fast, or watch that much backing disappear.
At the twenty min mark we had our hands on the fish twice. Bad idea. This fish wasn’t even close to ready.

Gettin' worked.

Oh, I got this.

No I don't...

At about the 40 min mark I was wondering if my arms and back were gonna make it…they did, barley. At 45 min we had the fish landed. We even got a DNA cheek sample for FDOW. Cool stuff.
Boom Goes the Dynomite!

Tryin' to grab him.

Love this shot.

He gave me one last "F-You", and it was over.

First adult tarpon in the books…must have been the lucky shirt.
Brian- Hey Matt, what time did you have to be at the airport?
Me- 5:30, why, what time is it?
Brian- Five
Me- Crap!
We took the boat out at 5:23 am, and I made my flight as it was loading. Sixteen out of twenty hours on a flats boat chasin’ poon… It was the perfect end to an amazing run in the South East! See ya’ll in Boulder for the final hosted show of the year!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The FLA Stops- Round #1

Not long after chasing reds, we were headed south to the Jacksonville show. There was a quick detour though; I was getting dropped off in Hilton Head, SC to have the quickest family reunion in history. As it turns out, I was in the area the same time my cousin was having his second baby, on top of that his mom (my aunt) and two of this three brothers and sisters where there too…from Michigan. On top of that my aunt and uncle from NY happened to be taking a nice south east road trip at the same time. Not a bad deal. The icing on the cake was my mom being able to make the trip down to help with the new baby. Being on opposite coasts since college, it’s a rare treat to get to spend time with the rents and I tired to make the most of it. Good thing my dad couldn’t make it, I’m sure we would have fished and there wouldn’t have been much of a reunion for me anyway.

Hilton Head CVS'a are Selling sun tan lotion, Tahoe CVS's are still selling winter sleds.

 It was great to see the fam and catch up some, however it was short lived. In about 30 hrs I was in my rental car to meet back up with the boys in Jacksonville. The Jax show had a good, but unusually quite crowd…I think next yr we’ll just have to promote some pre show vodka-redbull specials. That should do the trick. This was also good friend Rob McAbee’s home show (He also headed north for the Charleston show), you may know Rob from all the Bug Slinger Fly Gear you’ve been seeing the last few years. He was rollin’ deep with his local boys decked head to toe in BS gear. I know I’ll be rocking some of the new threads real soon. It was good to catch up with the crew…but like always, early the next morning we were headed south.

Our boy Rowdy pimpin' a new BS Tee, soon to be realeased.

We took one little detour again on the way to Tampa, we were headed to Daytona for the grand tour of Costa Del Mar. For the second year in a row, they are the presenting sponsor of the film tour and without their support since day one; the film tour would not be what it has become today. After a quick tour (sorry pics not allowed inside), they treated us to lunch, and a drive by of the Daytona 500…pretty sweet if you ask me, next time we’ll have to hit it a few weeks earlier and partake in some of the crazy festivities.

Casa de Costa.

Well I did sneak one pic.

Start your engines.

Holler DB.

The OG #3.

Next up…Tampa poontangle.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fly Fishing is Not A Crime, SC Reds edition.

To be honest I can probably some up our visit to Charleston in a few short words…Good good, good fishin’, good people. And that’s about it. But I won’t.  We arrived in town knowing that both our 5pm and 8pm shows were sold out, not surprising since there are literally red fish swimming down the streets down there.

Thank you Charleston Angler for crushing it!

Thad making some serious decisions.

Paul Puckett holdin' it down.

Delicioustown USA.

After doing who knows how many shows over the years and visiting countless cites, I can honestly say that Charleston may be my new personal favorite. One of the main reasons was the people as mentioned earlier. We didn’t stay in a hotel at all while we were there, why …because a friend of a friend gave us the green light to crash his pad for a few days. Little did we know that new best friend Graham Hegamyer and his girlfriend Christina had only moved in a few days earlier. This was literally the definition of southern hospitality.  Not only did they open their doors for us…but there was SEVEN OF US! We had few good friends taggin’ along for a bunch of the southeast.
If you're ever in C'town...Hit him up.

The crew gettin' down on some southern grub.

The morning after the show all plans to chase reds were quickly put to rest because of insanely high winds that would have made life miserable. All was not lost though…Graham quickly put in place plan B, and we were chasing bass in a local private pond in no time. I caught what might have been my first large mouth on the fly in what must have been ten years. Hopefully I’ll have the vid of this soon…along with the four old guys that wanted to put our asses in jail for putting a flats boat in the pond! HAH! After one of the craziest old man pissing and screaming matches ever secretly recorded on video ended…good prevailed and we were given permission to fish the pond…again.
Fly Fishing is Not a Crime.
Day two, the winds died and we were headed to open water in a 32’ Commander center console, with a pair of sexy 250s. Thanks to our Atlanta boy Paul Puckett for this incredible hook up! This was it, off to chase giant cobia and jacks…what could possibly go wrong! Wha wha whaaaa. Just as we left the inlet, engine one stopped pissing, and that was a problem, big problem. We headed back to the dock and had everyone and their brother trying to get it working….nadda.

Big water breakfast.

Jack Crack.

Plan B…again. We made one call and Graham had us loaded on his boat chasing reds in no time. Saved again. We hit the flats just as the tides were changing, and we were on fish in no time. Over all the three of us had about ten eats or so, and about six hook ups. I was lucking enough to get my two to the boat. Enjoy.

Good start.

It's on!


The "little guy".

Jacksonville, Tampa, Tarpon coming soon.