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First Fire of 2016 Throws Wrinkle into Nunya Trip

blog-July-19-2016-1Flexibility is a crucial mindset to have if you fish.  Whether it be while traveling 8,000 miles from home or at home, things can happen that mess up an original plan.  You can freak out and waste your time sulking or make a change in plan and do the best you can.  Granny and I planned on floating the Lower Nunya this week.  We were well organized and packed for the thirty-five mile two day float.  But on Sunday afternoon a thunderstorm set the region on fire and the road to get there closed.

 

blog-July-19-2016-2-jeff-currier-IdahoNo doubt we were disappointed.  Preparing for such a float takes days and we were ready.  Furthermore, the Nunya float is one of our all-time favorites and with a hectic schedule in weeks to come we may not make it this year.  But I tossed my frustration aside and broke out my Idaho Gazetteer and decided this week we’d go for a drive to new territory.

 

blog-July-19-2016-3-Idaho-sceneryWhen exploring I bring my 4- and 5-weight Winston’s, floating lines and one box of dries ranging from caddis to hoppers.  I stick in a few nymphs and call it good.  The forecast was for temps in the 90°s so no waders but rather the Simms sandals.  We sleep in the back of the Exploder so less is more on a trip like this.  We had our grill and all the dream food we had planned to enjoy on the Nunya.

 

July 18, 2016

 

blog-July-19-2016-4-flyfishing-idahoGranny got off work and hopped in the truck and we listened to the Cubs game on my XM and headed west then north for three hours.  When the sun set we drove down a dirt road until there were so many darting jackrabbits I couldn’t see straight anymore.  We pitched our camp chairs and enjoyed a couple cold ones then climbed in the truck and slept till 7 Tuesday morning.

 

July 19, 2016

 

blog-July-19-2016-5-flyfishing-with Jeff-currierIt’s cool when you drive into an unfamiliar place in the dark then wake up and see where you are.  I lit up the stove and put on the water for coffee then looked around.  We’d found ourselves in a beautiful spot with sagebrush plains surrounded by massive Idaho peaks.

 

blog-July-19-2016-6-flyfishing-idahoAfter coffee we continued our drive.  It was a 55 mph zone but I was so enthralled with the new place I was doing 35.  The poorly paved road was ours and we came to a public fishing access sign.  The tilted sign said the access was .5 miles down some dirt so we went and found a small murky stream.  The place was so intriguing that though it wasn’t even 9 AM we went for it.

 

blog-July-19-2016-7-jeff-currier-flyfishing-idahoI grew up on small streams and I love small streams and I don’t fish them enough.  It seems my life is all about finding bigger better badder stuff.  I wasn’t ten minutes into that ice cold water and felt as though I’d died and gone to heaven.  It wasn’t about the scenery anymore nor catching fish.  It was all about tuck casting, curve casting and accuracy to get my fly into the nooks and crannies.  Its great fun and a skill of mine that needs some honing.

 

blog-July-19-2016-8-idaho-rainbow-troutThere were lots of hungry rainbows to catch.  They couldn’t keep their lips off my yellow stimulator.  I came to several deep pools and after I picked off the top water hunters I put on a nymph and Euro styled it through a few times hoping for some bigger bows.  But to no avail – just a heap more par marked gems like this one.

 

blog-July-19-2016-9-jeff-currier-yetiGranny and I lost track of time and before we knew it we were under the afternoon sun.  I reeled in then took one more look at the Gazetteer and we drove straight into the mountains to find another small stream with a gorgeous camp spot to spend the night.  This doesn’t take long in the boonies of Idaho.  When we got there we kicked back for lunch and a cold one before trying our new stream.

 

blog-July-19-2016-10-flyfishing-small-streamsThis stream was made of cascading pools, slippery rocks and tree covered banks.  There were lots more small rainbows eager to eat.  I was in 4-weight paradise.  I tried to hand off the rod to Granny but she’s not into the small streams like me.  She eventually left to relax in camp and prepare dinner.  I wandered for another three hours and caught about thirty more little rainbows.

 

blog-July-19-2016-11-camp-cookingGranny’s camp dinners are to die for.  Tuesday night was fresh Chinook salmon on the grill with some sort of scrumptious pasta side she made at home.  I kept her drink full with plenty of ice.  By now missing out on our Nunya float was so far in the past we didn’t know the plan once existed!

 

 

July 20, 2016

 

blog-July-19-2016-12-granny-currier-flyfishingFor us we slept late today.  At home we’re up at 5:30 this time of year.  But we camped in a canyon and the sun didn’t rise on us till 7 AM.  Then we took the leisure to roll over a few times and I didn’t have the coffee done till almost 8.  We soon found ourselves on the headwaters of this unknown creek bow and arrow casting into waters so small and tight you would think a trout couldn’t live.

 

blog-July-19-2016-13-jeff-currier-bauer-reelsLike yesterday the rainbows were eager.  It was a blast sending each one of them airborne before my slightly opened barbless hooked caddis released them.  There was no need to put a good fly on as there’s no need to land every one of these fish.  Just the occasional close up was all we needed.

 

blog-July-20-2016-14-small-streamsAs my fly floated into a deep pool a trout took a nonchalant look then laid flat tight to bottom.  There were glowing white rims on his fins that led me to believe it was a 12” brook trout. I love small stream brookies and changed dries three times to try and entice him up and back out of the pool but no luck.  Finally I tied on a mini leach and lobbed a backhand cast through the tree branches.

 

blog-July-20-2016-15-bull-troutThe small char couldn’t resist.  I hooked him and after a weak twisting fight I brought him to hand.  Wow!  This fish turned out to be only the second bull trout of my life and my first ever on fly!  Bull trout are a protected species in Idaho and it’s illegal to target them.  Once I identified the rare jewel we made sure to leave him in the water and take only one quick photo.  Then off came the streamer and it was dry fly only for the remainder of the morning.

 

blog-July-20-2016-16-flyfishing-idahoWhat a weekend salvaging the cancellation of our favorite trip down to the Nunya.  Had this not happened we wouldn’t have experienced some of the great small streams of Idaho.  We wouldn’t have caught a hundred colorful rainbows and I wouldn’t have added a new species to my list.  Often times you look back in the mirror and it’s the unplanned adventures that are the best.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Out Smarted by the Huge Carp of Blackfoot

blog-July-15-2016-1-flyfishing-carpEverything seemed right before I left Victor to meet my friend Tom Hansen for a day trip of fly fishing for mirror carp on Blackfoot Reservoir.  The forecast had sunshine, light winds and temperatures in the 80°s, absolutely ideal carp conditions.  When we arrived at around 9 AM to rig up the massive waterbody was glassy calm.

 

blog-July-15-2016-2-blackfoot-reservoirFrom our first parking spot we could see the carp.  We were up on a bluff looking down and there were at least five of the big boys working slowly in the weeds.  Only these weren’t weeds after all, it was the grasses.  Blackfoot Reservoir was at least two feet higher than normal and places I normally drive my Exploder were underwater.  Even campsites were a foot deep!

 

Once down to lake level it was tough to see.  I opted to stay in one place while Tom eased his way along.  Sure enough a couple carp came to me but it was so calm I literally lifted my rod and they spooked.

 

blog-July-15-2016-3-flyfishing-for-carpI put on a crayfish fly given to me at the Pleasanton Fly Fishing Show from my friend Chuck Furimsky.  The thing looked great so I put it out about twenty feet and let it rest.  I crouched low and waited.  Soon enough an uneasy acting mirror carp came through and though he didn’t appear hungry, I gave Chucks fly a twitch and the carp surged for it.  I’m sad to say he hit so hard that as I struck I broke him off on 2X.  Sh*********!  That was my only fly like that.

 

blog-July-15-2016-4-flyfishing-blackfoot-resIf you fish a lot you know how the story goes from here.  When fishing is tough and you’re given an opportunity you must not screw it up.  I retied on another crayfish pattern and proceeded to fish the next six hours without another decent chance.  No doubt the high water gives the carp an excessive extra amount of space to hide in and food to eat.  Furthermore, the dead calm conditions are so unusual at Blackfoot that the mirrors were on high alert.  I’m sorry to say neither Tom nor I hooked another carp all day.

 

blog-July-15-2016-5-mirror-carpIt was a good time regardless.  Carping tunes the skills and in today’s case my saltwater flats fishing skills.  Coincidentally Tom will be on my hosted trip to the Seychelles in December.  I recon we’ll get back here a few more times this summer till we get it right!   Next in line – Grannies and my annual Lower Nunya trip!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Annual Ladies Day on the Bryant River

blog-July-12-2016-1-flyfishing-idahoI needed a tranquil day on a river after my grueling twenty Cliff Fly Box art weekend.  Was taking the girls on the Bryant River really the relaxing answer?  Probably not exactly, but nonetheless, my annual ladies day on the river with Granny, Jessica Chitwood and Pam Parkins is always a blast.

 

blog-July-12-2016-2-yeti-coolersWe got an early start in order to put the two hour drive behind us and still put on the Bryant early.  It’s not always easy organizing the ladies this time of day but they were so pumped they were ready to rock as planned.  We hit the boat ramp shortly after sunrise and loaded my Yeti with orange whips and food and pushed off.

 

blog-July-12-2016-3-floating-under-bridgesThe water was so high that the first bridge we hit required chairs folded and all hands on deck.  And I mean flat on deck like a turtle.  The front of my boat cleared the bridge by less than one inch.  It’s a good thing the Yeti was full and we all ate a big breakfast so the boat floated low.  It was a bit unnerving and probably not the wisest move of 2016 – but we made it.

 

blog-July-12-2016-4-ladies-flyfishing-dayFishing was poor for us.  A couple other boats passed stating a few fish were caught but this was one of the slowest ladies days for fish numbers I can remember.  Perhaps I wasn’t cracking the whip hard enough?

 

blog-July-12-2016-5-ladies-day-on-the-riverThis being said however we caught a few.  Granny put my 4-weight Winston Boron III LS to work and landed a number of small rainbows and the occasional baby brown trout.  We probably could have tossed some streamers but catching wasn’t all what today was about.  It was fun with the gals we got it done.  It’s back to serious fishing come Friday when I head for monster fish waters with friend Tom Hansen.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

A Man of the All-Nighters

blog-July-11-2016-1-jeff-currier-flybox-artNot sure why but when I have a massive assignment I can’t go a minute without thinking about it.  It’s in my DNA.  About a week ago I took on an unfathomable task of decorating twenty Cliff Bugger Beast Fly Boxes with my Sharpie art for the Sweetwater River Conservancy in Alcova, Wyoming.   Not on just one side of the fly boxes but BOTH (forty drawings).  Furthermore, with delivery required by July 20th!

 

blog-July-11-2016-2-jeff-currier-clif-flyboxWhen I hung the phone after saying “yes I can do these” I got worried.  Making it worse, I couldn’t start ASAP because I had to wait for my blank Cliff Boxes to arrive.  They were in route when I was fishing with my South African friends.  I continued my uneasiness feeling so much that when I got home from fishing Friday and saw the blank boxes had arrived I decided that’s it, I’m sitting down and doing them all.  I started Friday afternoon at 4 PM and finished them at 9:30 Sunday night.  I took three naps and watched a heck of a lot of baseball but the job is successfully done!

 

Ladies day on the river tomorrow!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Camera Time and Cutthroats

blog-July-8-2016-1-yellowstone-cutthroatPlans to fish the Rizzo today with my FlyCastaway pals from South Africa cancelled.  To make up for it arapaima king Tim Brune and I did a short day on the technical dry fly water of the Rizzo with another South African friend, Craig Richardson.  Craig is a FlyCastaway guide and spends most of his work year on the flats of St. Brandon’s.

 

blog-July-8-2016-2-flyfishing-idahoCraig arrived only 48 hours ago from South Africa.  Last night was the first time we met, however Craig guided Tim in St. Brandon’s last year.  While being guided Tim invited him to Idaho to fish and he’s here for almost two months.  It’s my style of travel – show up – make it happen – and figure out how to pay for it later.  Life is not a dress rehearsal!

 

blog-July-8-2016-3-fly-castingI must say I was more focused on relaxing and taking some photos.  This is the time of year when I update my PowerPoint presentations.  Tim is one of the best casters I know so I flicked away some cool shots like this one here.

 

blog-July-8-2016-4-flyfishing-idahoCraig has never been to the western USA so the main goal was to get him some cutthroat trout.  There was a good PMD hatch and a few heads of rainbow and cutthroats sipping the small yellow mayflies.  These fish are not easy to catch and Craig had to adjust his St. Brandon’s flats fishing techniques to accommodate our style.  It didn’t take long and he was rod bent.

 

blog-July-8-2016-5-craig-richardson-fishingCraig ended up catching several of these beautiful cutthroats.  Our fishing was excellent despite some wind and heat.  Now it’s back to work.  My fishing time will be lean the next couple weeks because I took an order for 20 Cliff Fly Boxes with art on BOTH sides due on July 20th.  Furthermore, I have some exciting international fishing starting hot and heavy at the end of this month.  Details on this in coming days!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Seychelles Gurus Meet the Henry’s Forks Fabled Ranch

blog-July-5-2016-1-flycastaway-guidesYou should remember my South Africa blogs back in November.  Granny and I had the time of our lives there visiting many friends and we tracked down a few fish along the way.  The last segment of our trip we spent with FlyCastaway owners Tim Babich and Ryan Hammond.  They took us to the famous Sterkfontein Dam for three fun days of smallmouth yellowfishing.  Today I was able to spend time with them on my favorite river right here in Idaho, the Henry’s Fork.

 

blog-July-5-2016-2-trouthunterA few of us hosted Tim and Ryan.  Founders of the famous TroutHunter, Rich Paini and Jon Stiehl, put the day together as a float through the Harriman Ranch.  Along with us was another longtime friend, Rene Harrop.  If you’re not familiar with Rene you need to be.  Rene is a true master of the Ranch on the Henry’s Fork and his books will teach more tricks about dry fly fishing than you can imagine.

 

 

 

blog-July-5-2016-3-henry's-forkWe loaded the Yeti’s in the boats right in front of the TroutHunter and pushed off under blue sky and a light wind.  Like almost every day this summer, the light wind picked up and threatened our chances.  Furthermore, there was no hatch.  But the way the Ranch works, you always keep your eyes open.  Sure enough we found a bank feeder for Tim showing his massive white mouth feeding on something only a trout’s eyes can see.

 

blog-July-5-2016-4-flyfishing-in-africaThis was by no means an easy cast.  The large rainbow really was actively feeding on something we couldn’t see and the wind was playing havoc with Tim’s 16 foot leader.  Tim definitely dropped a few casts short then a couple in the grass.  The fish was so engrossed in his feeding he didn’t take notice (funny how even the smartest fish can be when eating).  Eventually Tim made the perfect cast and the fish munched his flav spinner.

 

blog-July-5-2016-5-trouthunter-flycastawayI was ready with the camera to get some awesome jump shots.  Most the big rainbows of the Ranch jump several times.  Of course this big boy just wanted to tow Tim around and take him downstream.  Rich and I followed along hoping the big bow wouldn’t come off and after a few minutes Rich got the net under him.

 

blog-July-5-2016-6-tim-babbich-henrys-forkThe trout was big.  Almost all the Ranch fish are big but this was a true specimen close to 20” if not a little more.  Tim was stoked because he’d dreamt of catching a big rainbow on the Henry’s Fork.  I was stoked because I know how hard big fish were to come by two weeks ago to the day during my Marathon.  This could be, and in fact would be, our only catch of the float.

 

blog-July-5-2016-7-ryan-hammond-henrys-forkNo more fish wasn’t for the lack of effort.  The six of us parked the boats and walked the famous “Bonefish Flats” section of the Ranch for hours.  The wind conditions creating waves and a few whitecaps didn’t make it easy.  I spotted two more big bank feeders.  Tim cast to the first but no luck.  The second however he hooked but lost.

 

blog-July-5-2016-8-last-chance-henrys-forkWe pulled off the river at 5 and returned to TroutHunter for a few beers.  While we drank them we kept a watchful eye at the Last Chance section of the Henry’s Fork hoping for some insects and big feeding rainbows to follow.   The bugs didn’t show up but by pure luck there were two rocks that ended up supporting four nice rainbows.  Again, the Henry’s works in mysterious ways.

 

blog-July-5-2016-9-tim-babich-henrys-forkTo get them required getting in the water.  It’s cold here this week and wadering was the preferred method. But wadering up takes time.  I convinced the Africans to wet wade.  Ryan was reluctant for sure but Tim went for it.  Soon his mind was off the cold of his legs and focused on the risers.  He ended up hooking all four and landing two.  A truly epic day for Tim on the most holy dry fly water in the world!

 

blog-July-5-2016-10-tim-babich-ryan-hammond-flycastawayTim was frozen by the time it was too dark to fish anymore.  It hardly gets this cold where Tim and Ryan live in the dead of winter.  He shivered his way back to the TroutHunter where we warmed up and powered down 1/2lb buffalo burgers.  It’s been a great day and as of now we have plans to hunt some more fish together on the Rizzo River on Friday.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Henry’s Fork Marathon 2016

June 20, 2016

blog-June-20-2016-1-flyfishing-henry's-forkYou probably gathered by now that I’m behind on the blog.  There wasn’t time to write more than notes while in Ireland.  Then when I got back to the USA it was action packed with the Henry’s Fork Marathon and a family visit.  This photo is Granny watching some huge fish rise on the Henry’s Fork the night of June 20th.  I got home from Ireland this exact day and when Granny got off work we hustled to camp in the Gravel Pits near Osborne Bridge on the Henry’s Fork to catch the first full moon on the summer solstice since 1967.

 

June 21, 2016

blog-June-21-2016-2-Henry's-Fork-river-IDJetlag and rest aren’t words of my vocabulary.  Despite being exhausted from traveling from Ireland all day yesterday and the 7 hour time difference messing with my brain, I awoke at 5 AM to singing meadowlarks and Brewer’s sparrows.  They invigorated me to leap from bed in the back of my Exploder.  I woke up Granny and friend Scott Smith who camped with us and drove up to the Last Chance parking lot to make coffee and rig up for my annual Henry’s Fork Marathon.  (See Marathons – 2014, 2013 and 2012 to get the idea)

 

blog-June-21-2016-3-troutbums-henry's-forkIn case you don’t know what my Marathon is, it’s my longest fishing day of the year at my favorite place on the planet, the Railroad Ranch through Harriman’s on the Henry’s Fork.  I leave the Last Chance parking lot between 7 and 8 AM and walk all the way to the Osborne Bridge and back.  Never returning to my truck before 10 PM.  Then I follow up with a burger and beers at the TroutHunter.  This is my favorite fishing day of the year and I welcome anyone to join me.  This year, reports of tough fishing scared away many that said they were coming so there were only five of us.  All I can say is some people put too much weight on the catching rather than being with friends at one of the most incredible places on earth.

 

blog-June-21-2016-4-jeff-currier-hf-marathonGranny and I had my Simms pack full of food, beer and cigars and we all left the parking lot under unpredicted cloudy skies and calmness.  The temperature was 79°, unusually warm.  There should’ve been brown drake spinners on the water from last night’s hatch but there were none.  Furthermore there should’ve been PMD’s hatching and there was only a spattering of them.

 

blog-June-21-2016-5-harriman-ranch-henry's-forkAt 9 AM I saw a huge rainbow head poke the surface.  I got in position to catch him while the others relaxed and watched but the fish never showed himself again.  I went as far as to drift a few over where I saw him in hopes he was there but he didn’t fall for it.  Trout 1 – Currier 0.

 

blog-June-21-2016-6-railroad-ranch-henrys-forkBy 10 AM the clouds were gone and it was undoubtedly 85° and still rising.  Along with the heat came some of the most relentless wind I can remember in Marathon history.  I learned later from the news that gusts hit 45 MPH and the day’s steady winds were 30 MPH.  It was so bad that the slow moving waters of the Ranch turned to a frothing nightmare of foam and whitecaps.

 

blog-June-21-2016-7-osbourne-bridge-henrys-forkSuch conditions weed out normal fly fishers from the dedicated.  While we Marathoners continued to look for rising fish in protected slicks not one other angler remained on the river.  We pressed on and at 3 PM finished the first six miles of our journey and touched the Osborne Bridge, our halfway point.

 

blog-June-21-2016-8-flyfishing-the-Henrys-forkThe wind, heat and sun were so bad for fishing we could only laugh.  While some feel that beers are for after a day of fishing, today without beers would’ve been for the insane.  We got comfortable on the lava rock and sipped luke warm beers and celebrated the longest fishing day of the year.  All Ranch regulars know how to turn unfishable conditions into a fun day.

 

blog-June-21-2016-9-Henrys-Fork-with-jeff-currierAt 5 PM the five of us had five casts total and not one fish hooked let alone landed.  But the cool thing is we all had faith that the wind would stop and the brown drakes would hatch causing and absolute feeding frenzy.  Normally this is the case on a hot windy day in late June but instead the wind continued to rip as we slowly made our way back upstream.

 

blog-June-21-2016-10-jeff-currier-fishing-the-henrys-forkAt 6 PM the wind reared its ugly head a few more MPH.  Personally I was done laughing.  I’ve seen a few days like this and normally I can call it a day.  But not on my annual Marathon.  I lit a fat cigar and kicked back for about the tenth time of the day.  During my smoke I could swear the trees began to sway slightly less.

 

blog-June-21-2016-11-brown-drake-hatchIt was a big cigar that I didn’t finish till 7.  By now the wind dropped to 20 MPH and its sick to say it seemed calm.  I could hear again and the first brown drakes fluttered recklessly through the sky above.  Only occasionally would one make the water.  When the large mayflies did I watched closely hoping to see a nose pluck one off.  Finally I thought I saw one disappear.

 

blog-June-21-2016-12-jeff-currier-Henry's-forkThe disappearance of the drake was nothing more than a sloppy rise – or was it?  Could it have appeared sloppy only because a large trout plucked it out of a wave?  The answer was maybe so I stared at the spot hoping for a second look.  But not another drake or any insect for that matter floated over.  Finally I approached the spot with caution.  On my first cast with my brown drake imitation the nose I’d been waiting for all day engulfed my fly.  “On Scotty Boy!”  I yelled.

 

blog-June-21-2016-13-jeff-currier-winston-rodsScott turned just to see my big rainbow go airborne.  Wild leaps and fast runs is what the fish of the Ranch are known for and this heavily spotted bow didn’t disappoint.  I charged after him doing my best to avoid hitting backing and to keep the fish from the weeds.

 

I kept the pressure on with my 4-weight Winston.  I wisely use 3X and with this you can land any trout fast.  I broke his spirit on the second run attempt and stopping the third was hardly a challenge.  Moments later I beached my first big Idaho trout of the year.

 

blog-June-21-2016-14-henrys-fork-rainbowToday was my 29th Marathon and I’ve only been skunked of a big fish once.  I’d like to keep it this way for the rest of my life.  As I gazed down at this beauty I couldn’t help but smile.  It had been a tough day but all the wind, heat and lousy hatches dealt weren’t enough to hold me back from catching at least one.  “You’re next Scotty Boy”, I said.

 

There’s four things that can make a day miserable on the Ranch of the Henry’s Fork.  The first is hot temps.  We got screwed there.  Second is high wind.  Bam!  Third is bad hatches.  Yea we experienced that.  And last, is that when the sun sets the temperature plummets.  Unfortunately we had this also.

 

blog-June-21-2016-15-henry's-fork-marathonScott squared up on a nice fish minutes before the 9:35 sunset.  This was a big one that on each rise pushed a bow wave that was big enough to look like he was a swimming muskrat.  Scott laid his fly out there perfectly, so perfect I yelled that’s the one!  Sure enough it was.  But the trout was big enough to require the words “God Save the Queen” before you set the hook.  The New Zealand saying allows time for the giant mouth of a mammoth trout to completely close before you lift the rod.  Scott was a little too fast and he only nicked him.

 

blog-June-21-2016-16-henrys-fork-sunsetAfter that the sun set and against all probability of today the temperature plummeted.  When this happens the hatches stop immediately and the fish stop the feeding.  We walked slowly the final two miles to the cars from where Scott met his fish.  There was nothing.  We returned to the Last Chance parking lot at 10:50 PM.  Another Marathon and nearly a 16 hour fishing day in the books.

 

My Marathon is an incredible fishing tradition.  But remember, the Ranch of the Henry’s Fork isn’t for sissies nor is a sixteen hour day of fishing.  This fun day separates the crazy hardcore from the moderately faithful.  This being said, I hope next year to see you there!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing in Ireland Comes to an End

blog-June-18-2016-1-flyfishing-champ-jackie-coyneIt’s been a wonderful trip over here in Ireland competing in the World Masters Fly Fishing Championships.  I can’t explain how exciting it’s been to return to world competition.  It’s like I went back in time.  Furthermore, it had been fifteen years since I’ve seen many of my European friends.  We’ve had a blast together and last night after the final session we partied down till the wee hours.

 

blog-June-18-2016-2-joe-humphries-flyfishingToday was a relaxing day around the city of Galway.  Our generous sponsor and team captain Jerry took us out to some classic Irish Pubs for Guinness and fresh seafood.  Joe Humphreys has been craving oysters since we got here and he, Jerry and I knocked off two dozen of the tasty creatures.

 

 

 

blog-June-18-2016-3-team-italy-flyfishing-championshipsWe returned to the hotel for closing ceremonies.  This included a big dinner and medal ceremony.  The way things finished up is Team Italy took 1st Place, Team Scotland 2nd and Team Ireland 3rd.  We came in 5th place which isn’t half bad considering not one of us on the team had ever fished in Ireland let alone the competition water.  I wanted so badly for us to win a Team Medal for Joe but we had one too many blanks.  Thoughts of just one more fish will haunt for a few days.

 

blog-June-18-2016-4-jackie-coyne-flyfishing-irelandAs for Individuals finishes my longtime friend Jackie Coyne of Ireland took home the Gold Medal.  I’m extremely happy for him.  Jackie had a lot of pressure to do well as this is his actual home waters.  No doubt now he is the best fly fisherman on his waters and now the world!
I ended up with a very respectable 8th place finish.  Honestly I came here hoping to dip in the top ten but it didn’t seem very realistic against the Euros on water I’ve never fished.  Right behind me was Scott finishing 11th.  He and I carried the team and Jerry has already asked us to represent Team USA in Portugal in 2017.   We’ll see how my schedule shapes up.

 

blog-June-18-2016-5-flyfishing-irelandThat’s a rap on Ireland and the 2016 World Masters Flyfishing Championships.  I’ll fly home tomorrow and then it’s to the Henry’s Fork.  I’ll rest when I’m dead!

 

A special thanks to all my sponsors for this one.

Jerry Arnold – R.L. WinstonBauer Fly ReelsYetiSimmsYellow Dog Flyfishing AdventuresScientific AnglersCosta SunglassesKate’s Real Foods

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

A Last Day Surge in the World Flyfishing Championships

blog-June-17-2016-1-world-flyfishing-championships5 AM arrived without the need of a wakeup call.  I was ready.  Scott was ready.  We drank coffee and relaxed before a 6:30 breakfast then all of Team USA boarded buses for the last day and last two sessions of the World Masters Fly Fishing Championships.

 

blog-June-17-2016-2-jeff-currier-flyfishing-irelandMy first session (actually session 3 of the competition) took place at Lough Muck.  Muck has proven to be as testing as Lough Corrib.  The Wednesday afternoon session here caused seven blanks!  That’s incredible and I’ll admit I was a bit nervous on the bus ride.  But when I got there I liked the looks of my beat (Beat 9) and despite the harsh wind and cold I felt assured I’d catch a fish.

 

blog-June-17-2016-3-flyfishing-lough-muckJust like on Lough Fee session 1 I dissected the shoreline of my beat with dry flies.  The wind and waves made the idea seem questionable but I had to look for that quick easy fish close to the bank.  30 minutes in without a swirl I reeled it in and switched to nymphs.  Nymphs also failed.

 

blog-June-17-2016-4-world-masters-flyfishing-championshipsAn hour passed and I hadn’t scored a fish to liven up my young Irish controller, Evan.  The wind was borderline cyclone and thoughts of a blanking disaster did cross my mind.  I picked up my 6-weight Winston with the Stillwater line and went to work with the simplest but most proven method of subsurface fishing.  I tossed three Woolley Buggers as far as I could and let them sink the same ten count that worked on Fee and began retrieving in an erratic strip.

 

Erratic is the key.  I start with three fast short strips then jump to a couple long slow ones then some short fast strips again then stop.  In my mind I see a following fish and do whatever it would take to make him eat.  The method works like you cannot believe.  On my second cast I dropped a fish that felt good.  Next cast I got him – 21 cm – no blanking for me on Muck!

 

blog-June-17-2016-5-flyfishing-championshipsI’d scrape up two more solid wild brownies and finish with three.  Three doesn’t sound like much but in the end, the Frenchman had five, I had my three and the Scottish angler caught two and the rest of my sector opponents struggled.  I was on track for my plan.  I won 2nd place and scored a mere 2.  More than half my group blanked.

 

Results for Individuals in my group for Session 3

 

blog-June-17-2016-6-inagh-lodgeWe had a nice lunch at the historic old Inagh Lodge.  My lunch overlapped with Scotts.  Scott’s morning beat was on Lough Inagh and good news, Scott caught three and also scored 2nd place!  No doubt, he and I propelled the team!

 

blog-June-17-2016-8-jeff-currier-flyfishing-in-the-worldsMy final session was on Lough Inagh and I went head to head with Irishman Dennis whom I fished against in Poland back in 1998.  He’s a great guy and fished on Lough Inagh before.  When it came time to decide who was in charge of the boat – I trusted Dennis to choose our locations for the entire session.

 

blog-June-17-2016-9-competition-flyfishingThe wind still howled and the sun and clouds took turns.  The scenery was terrific.  I gazed around in all directions while we bounced over waves racing the other competition boats to get to our first location and the 3 PM start.  This was my last time fishing in Ireland perhaps for many years.  Perhaps even in my life.  I took it all in like we all should at such moments.

 

blog-June-17-2016-10-beadhead-wooly-buggerDennis led us to a rocky forest filled shoreline and soon our controller Podraig told us to start.  I was fishing three Buggers on my Stillwater with no intentions of changing flies the entire session.  This is about keeping your fly in the water for all the three hours not 21/2 hours because you’re changing them so much.  My point fly was the same one I used in the morning, a bead head bugger Scott tied for me last night.  The simple pattern had already been fruitful.

 

blog-June-17-2016-11-wolrd-masters-fly-fishingInagh had been fished hard for three sessions by some of the best anglers in the world.  No doubt I expected another tough three hours.  However, I won the practice session here on Tuesday by a long shot.  I was extremely confident until after the first hour when I hadn’t a fish.  I’d watched Dennis catch one and boil a few others on a floating line and some sort of wet fly he was keeping out of sight.

 

I thought hard about switching to a floating line and changing flies.  Who wouldn’t after watching Dennis?  But rather than spend the ten minutes it might take to make the adjustment, I stuck to my druthers and continued to cast and cover water like a machine.

 

blog-June-17-2016-12-lough-inagh-irelandAnother hour went by.  I’d pricked three fish and landed zero (my set up was ok).  They were typical short strikes that occur after fish have suffered from pressure.  Of the four venues in the competition, Inagh was the one I least feared to blank.  But here I was with less than an hour to go and not a fish on the score card.  It was cold but I was sweating.

 

blog-June-17-2016-13-world-championshhips-of-flyfishingWith 55 minutes to go it happened.  We were in a random spot, I guess you could say a desperate area hoping for one easy fish, when I got slammed.  This time he stayed buttoned on and I swung him to the net.  He was an obvious measurable brown trout.  Not only was I on the board but he was bigger than Dennis fish which means my fish scored higher.

 

blog-June-17-2016-14-bauer-fly-reels-jeff-currierI’m confident in my angling enough to know that if I was having troubles so were the other competitors.  Next on my mind was catch another.  One fish would score well but two would be even better.  With thirty minutes to go I landed yet another nice fish at 29 cm!

 

The “Currier” persistence continued.  Cast after cast covering every inch of water I could reach.  I knew there was at least one more in me.  With six minutes to go I got him.  He barely measured at 20.5 cm but he measured.

 

blog-June-17-2016-15-jeff-currier-flyfishing-championshipsI ended with three fish.  As I expected, the session was tough for everyone.  The big winner was Pierwigi with four then 2nd place for me with three.  I’d scored my second 2 of the day and beaten my own goals set before the day even started.  Consistency in the World Championships of Fly Fishing always scores best.  I was pumped!

 

Results for Individuals in my group after Session 4

 

It’s unexplainable how exhausting competing in the World Championships of Fly Fishing is.  I was knackered by the time I boarded the bus back for the hotel.  But I wasn’t tired enough to doze off.  What kept me awake was knowing I’d kicked butt today and that if my team did the same we might win a medal.

 

When I arrived to the hotel Jerry was waiting and quick to congratulate me on my day.  But then came the bad news.  While Scott also did well throughout the day, Jay and Joe blanked the morning session then in the afternoon Joe blanked a second time.  Had we one less blank we’d have won the bronze medal.  Instead we’ll smile with a respectable 5th place finish as a team and I got 8th as an individual.

 

Final Team Results

 

More tomorrow with closing parties and final results from the World Masters Fly Fishing Championships in Ireland.  This has been an epic day!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Day Off for the Cliffs of Moher

blog-June-16-2016-1-flyfishing-irelandThe one thing you get better at as you get older is putting the bad behind you and moving forward.  Yesterday’s terrible afternoon session for Team USA had me down last night but today I woke up and started preparing for the last two sessions for tomorrow.  I’m ready to go and have plans to not only avoid the blanks but also a goal to score no less than 3rd place in both sessions.  That would be huge for our team!

 

blog-June-16-2016-2-cliffs-of-moher-irelandFishing in the World Masters Flyfishing Championships includes a tour to the Burren region.  At 10 AM our Team headed on a bus tour with all the other teams to see some castles, hike and see the Cliffs of Moher.  It was a relaxing day and the Cliffs were one of more marvelous views I’ve ever set eyes on.

 

blog-June-16-2016-3-doolin-irelandOur last stop was a late lunch of fish and chips and a Guinness in Doolin.  This is a cool little town a couple miles from the ocean and minutes from the Cliffs of Moher.  When I come back to Ireland someday with Granny this will be a mandatory stopover so I can enjoy it for more than an hour.

 

It’s early to bed tonight and game on manana!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

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