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Striper Fishing on the California Delta

blog-Feb-19-2015-1-flyfishing-for-striped-bassI don’t get a chance to wet a line much in the heat of my speaking schedule but today was an exception.  Granny and I are working our way down to the Pleasanton, California Fly Fishing Show.  Last night I spoke to the Tracy Fly Fishers Club.  It just so happens my friend Ben Byng lives here and today he generously took Granny and me to the California Delta to check on the striped bass fishing.

 

blog-Feb-19-2015-2-jeff-currier-and-ben-byngBen and I have been friends for about fifteen years.  We met at the Sportsman’s Show in Sacramento when he was tying flies and had a picture of himself holding a huge striper.  I couldn’t help but quiz him about the pic and within minutes he offered to take me.  We’ve been friends ever since.  I join him annually on the Delta and he often makes it to the front of my drift boat on some great trout rivers.

 

The weather has been above average mild and dry since we left Idaho on the 12th.  From Idaho to Seattle to Portland and now California, almost every day has been bright, sunny and warm.  But wouldn’t you know, today was the coldest, dreariest, foggiest day California has had in months just because “Monsoon Currier” wanted to go fishing.

 

blog-Feb-19-2015-3-flyfishing-the-california-deltaRegardless, it’s always good to get out and get that first fly fishing outing of the year under the belt.  We launched Ben’s boat at Holland Riverside Marina.  From there we navigated through scattered heaps of hyacinth and dense fog.  I’ve seen the fog on the Delta plenty of times but all the floating vegetation is a new problem.

 

blog-Feb-19-2015-4-ross-reels-sa-flylines-winston-rodsI was tossing my Winston 9’ 7-weight with the Scientific Angler Streamer Express 300 grain.  The grain weight of this fly line is better suited for the 9-weight but my aging eyesight experienced a mishap when I pulled the rod from the dark closet at home last week.  I saw the 9’ and mistaken it for my 9-weight.  I adjusted my stroke to make it functional but its mistakes like this that force you to become a better caster!

 

blog-Feb-19-2015-5-jeff-currier-fishing-the-california-deltaI wasn’t feeling confident when Ben cut the engine at the first spot.  There was tons of debris floating and the water was murky.  Ben pivoted the boat with his trolling motor while I tied on one of his straight black Clouser-like concoctions.  Despite the lack of confidence it felt good to launch that first cast of the year.

 

On my third cast I went tight on the first strip and running line began bouncing through my guides.  The pull caught me totally by surprise.  Both Ben and Granny thought I was snagged on the riprap next to where my fly landed but it became obvious that it was a fish as he darted to the deep.

 

blog-Feb-19-2015-6-jeff-currier-striped-bass-fishingThis hungry striper was up for the fight but so was I.  You probably remember my last fly fishing day of 2014 was dredging in the Seychelles.  To prevent those fish from retreating to their homes we cranked down on every one and didn’t let them run at all.  I had a flashback and treated this striper the same.  Within two minutes I was lipping my striper and posing for a picture.

 

Granny called it when I let the fish go.  She stated that I jinxed the day by catching one too quick.  Sure enough she was correct.  We went about six hours without further action.  We continued to cast and try numerous places but all we did was soak in the cold damp into our bones while watching some huge ships make their way.

 

blog-Feb-19-2015-7-flyfishing-the-california-deltaDuring the last hour of fishing the stripers turned back on.  Ben took us to a drop off near where we started the day and we doubled up on some small stripers and Ben caught a chunky little black bass about 10”.

 

blog-Feb-19-2015-8-striper-fishing-with-jeff-currier-and-ben-byngI’m most certain that if we fished till dark we’d have enjoyed some good fishing.  Ben in fact said fishing was good late.  But unfortunately Granny and I needed to check get on the road to Pleasanton and get ready for this weekends show.

 

The Pleasanton Fly Fishing Show is generally a busy one.  Be sure and come by if you live in the area.  You can scroll down to yesterday’s blog to see my speaking schedule.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

The West Coast Fly Fishing Tour Continues

blog-Feb-18-2015-1-Mt-ShastaThe old red Explorer was limping badly when we started this West Coast speaking tour (Victor – Seattle – Portland – Tracy, CA – Pleasanton, CA – Fresno, CA – Victor). Every mile we put behind us is a relief.  It’s the transmission that’s going.  On the highway the engine screams at 4000 RPM’s and it takes a couple shifts to move forward at traffic lights.

 

Other than the concern for breaking down with all my show stuff it’s been a great drive.  Above is Mt Shasta as we entered northern California yesterday after a visit up in Portland, Oregon.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATonight I’ll be presenting “Fly Fishing through Midlife Heaven” for Tracy Fly Fishers.  I’ve added in some arapaima stuff from Guyana per their request.  Then tomorrow we striper fish with Ben Byng and Steve Potter on the California Delta.

 

Starting Friday it’s the Pleasanton Fly Fishing Show.  Here’s my speaking schedule for the weekend:

 

Friday

12:30 – Release Room – “Fly Fishing for Carp”

2:15 – “Casting in the Wind and the Double Haul”

Saturday

12:15 – “Fly Casting 101”

Sunday

11:00 – Release Room – “Fly Fishing Warmwater – Bass, Pike, Carp and More”

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

The Lynnwood, Washington Fly Fishing Show

blog-Feb-12-2015-The-Fly-Fishing-ShowI’m back on the road again.  This time I’m driving because its twelve days of West Coast talks.  I’ll start this weekend with the Fly Fishing Show in Lynnwood, Washington and head south from there to California.  I have a couple one night gigs including Tracy Fly Fishers and Fresno Fly Fishers and three days at the Pleasanton, California Fly Fishing Show.  This is usually an enjoyable tour with temps in the 60°s rather than the subzero temps and snow I dealt with on the East Coast in January.

 

I’ll get a day of striper fishing on the CA Delta in as well with my friends Ben Byng and Steve Potter.  I make it out with these guys every couple years and generally catch a few.  Hopefully this year I’ll nail a big one.

 

Here’s my seminar schedule for the weekend in Lynnwood.  If you’re there please swing by my table and say hello!

 

Saturday

11:15 – Casting Pond – “Casting in the Wind and the Double Haul”

3:00 – Catch Room – “Fly Fishing Warmwater – Pike, Bass, Carp and More”

Sunday

12:00 – Catch Room – “Improve Your Fishing Photography”

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Bonus Ice Fishing in Wisconsin

blog-Feb-8-2015-1-icefishing-with-tip-upsThis is a short and sweet trip and on Sunday morning everyone is free to do as they like.  Do as you like but you must make it back to meet at the Pea Patch for some pool games and lunch followed by the cigar room at Little Bohemia for a few hours of dice.  I chose to fish, so Joe, JR, Brett and I went fishing close by to Chippewa Retreat while everyone else opted out based on the slow previous days.  We got an early start and had our first tip-ups down by 8 AM.

 

blog-Feb-8-2015-1-tipup-ice-fishingWho knows whether it was the early start or the location, but the bite was on.  We didn’t get more than three tip-ups set and a flag popped.  I landed a respectable pike and by the time I released him (he was barely hooked) two more flags popped.

 

blog-Feb-8-2015-3-ice-fishing-for-pikeFor the next three hours the four of us were busy tending to flags.  Being the guest, the guys let me try for every flag one man could handle – that would be about thirty.  I caught fourteen pike and one yellow perch.  Most of which we released because almost all were lip hooked.

 

blog-Feb-8-2015-4-jeff-currier-icefishing-for-pikeWith all the action you’d expect at least one good fish.  Sure enough we got one.  I landed this hefty 34” northern that I was lucky to catch.  There were some walleye around so our hooks were small and the tippet was light.  The fight of this bruiser started easy but at the hole he put on a fierce attempt to escape.  Head shakes with these toothy beasts usually end in disaster but luckily the line slipped through my hands with no resistance and the angry pike didn’t bite me off.  Instead we got him and he posed for a couple quick shots before I released him back to his under ice wonder world.

 

blog-Feb-8-2015-5-bald-eagleIt was a nice four days up in Northern Wisconsin.  There were a lot of highlights ranging from a couple of quality pike to eating fine food with terrific friends.  One of the best highlights was when a bald eagle snatched a small pike from the ice seconds after we caught him.  John was literally about to carry him to Joe to prepare for lunch but as he put his gloves back on the eagle came from nowhere and snatched him.  This aggressive behavior shows the fishing has been tough for everyone!

 

blog-Feb-8-2015-6-manitowish-waters-icefishing-invitationalAfter some competitive games of eight ball and a smoky-room afternoon rolling dice with fine cigars, we ended this outstanding annual fishing tradition with a massive celebratory feast at the Little Bohemia.  Just to give you an example, George had me order twelve shrimp appetizers and eight lobster tails (for additional appetizers) to go along before our dinners.  Here’s to an epic first fishing adventure for 2015!

 

Now it’s back on the speaking circuit.  Next stop, Lynnwood, Washington this weekend for the Fly Fishing Show.  I hope to see you there!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

The Chippewa Retreat Ice Fishing Invitational

February 6-7, 2015 – Day 1

 

blog-Feb-6-7-2015-1-icefishing-in-wisconsinThe weather was balmy up in Northern Wisconsin in comparison to other years (2010 and 2014) for our annual ice fishing trip out of Chippewa Retreat Resort in Manitowish Waters.  Day 1 offered little wind; overcast skies and temps steady around 16°.  Our party, hosted by friend George Hillenbrand II, enjoyed a casual departure for the lake as well.  We woke up around 7:30 then ventured to the famous Little Bohemia Restaurant for a needed greasy breakfast.  We didn’t arrive on our lake until 10:45 AM.

 

blog-Feb-6-7-2015-2-ice-house-in-wisconsinAwaiting us were friends (Wisconsin fishing guides Joe Pestka, James Pestka (JR) and Brett Jolly).  JR and Brett had at least a dozen tip-ups rigged and ready to drop down ice holes with live minnows in hopes of northern pike, perch, walleye, crappie and more.  Head guide Joe had the “shack” (icehouse) to a steaming 65° and the bacon grease was sizzling.  The bacon isn’t so much for the eating but rather the best oil imaginable for cooking curly French fries and fresh fried pike.

 

blog-Feb-6-7-2015-3-icefishing-tipupOn a normal year, minutes after the tip-ups are set flags begin to pop and in come the fish.  But Day 1 proved as slow as slow can be.  We watched and watched while few flags popped.  The ones that popped rarely had a fish on them.  Most were light bites that pulled just hard enough to trigger off the flag of the tip-up but the fish didn’t consume the baits.

 

blog-Feb-6-7-2015-4-wisconsin-fish-fryThe day wasn’t a total bust however.  Getting blanked on the ice in WI is unheard of.  Despite the slow fishing there were eight pike caught and one bluegill.  Not one pike was big but Joe cooked up what little we had and made a scrumptious lunch for us all.

 

blog-Feb-6-7-2015-5-wi-ice-fishingWe packed it in earlier than normal.  When it comes to ice fishing you need to know when to call it or the sport can get old fast and you’ll drink too much.  At 3 PM we returned to Chippewa Retreat where we enjoyed yet another amazing meal.  This time was at their new restaurant, The White Oak Grill, followed by late night cigars.

 

Day 2

 

blog-Feb-6-7-2015-6-joe-peskaDay 2 was designed to make up for the slow Day 1.  We went to a lake they fished several years back.  This was the one year I missed and they ran down seventy flags and landed more than forty fish!  Brett was here two weeks ago with a family and they experienced similar luck.  But it was bad news when we arrived at our casual 10:45 again.  Joe was quick to exit the shack and tell us they had no flags since they arrived at 8.

 

blog-Feb-6-7-2015-7-jeff-currier-and-rick-schreiber-icefishingSomething was definitely wrong these past two days.  Whether it was the weather, barometric pressure or what no one knows.  From 11 till 2 we caught only a few more pike than we did on Day 1.  I however lucked into this slightly larger pike of 28”.

 

Our organized fishing is over and tomorrow morning everyone is free to relax or do as they wish.  I’m going fishing again with the guides for a few hours.  Then it’s a classic Wisconsin Sunday with shooting pool followed by an afternoon of dice and cigars.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Return to Chippewa Retreat Manitowish Waters, WI

blog-Feb-5-2015-1-ice-fishingOnly those who don’t understand roll their eyes and shiver when I gleam about my annual ice fishing adventure to Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin.  Ice fishing in the Great North Woods of WI is one of the most beautiful events of the year.  Not only is the fishing generally excellent but it’s in a fascinating setting and a relaxing break from my life on the road.

 

blog-Feb-5-2015-2-smoking-cigars-in-wiFriend Rick Schreiber and I arrived in Wausau, WI late last night.  We stayed in town and went out and shot some pool like old times.  It was great.  This morning we drove up to our headquarters of Chippewa Retreat and met up with friends Larry F. Burtschy, Dave Baker, John McGraw (owner of Chippewa Retreat) and our host George Hillenbrand.

 

blog-Feb-5-2015-3-smokeys-in-manitowish-watersToday was a kick back day with beers and world class cigars before heading out to Smokey’s Restaurant for our first feast of the week.  We had sensational meals of fillets with buttered lobster tails – this followed about ten different shrimp appetizers!  Tomorrow its ice fishing with guides Joe and James Pestka and Brett Jolly.  These guys are good friends and we’ve been fishing together for seven years now.  Stay tuned!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

First Leg of the Tour Complete

blog-Jan-26-2015-1-blizzard-of-2015I’m not a big winter guy so it’s a delight to look at the calendar and see January almost gone.  When I get home this week I’ll actually notice it getting lighter earlier in the mornings.  I just hope it doesn’t give me spring fever because its way too early.

 

blog-Jan-26-2015-2-simms-fly-fishing-partyIn addition to January almost gone, I have my three biggest Fly Fishing Shows behind me and all were a great success.  This past weekend was the Somerset New Jersey Fly Fishing Show and it was excellent.  In fact, all three shows, Denver, Marlborough and Somerset will go down in the history books as the best.  The highlight of the weekend has to be however Simms night where me and many other Simms Ambassadors were treated to dinner at a top Cuban restaurant.

 

blog-Jan-26-2015-3-a-blizzard-in-wolfeboro-nhGranny and I drove the six hours from NJ all the way back up to Wolfeboro, NH on Sunday night.  It’s a good thing we busted out the miles because Monday was the arrival of a classic Nor’easter.  All roads from NJ to Maine were closed by noon on Monday.  Although down south they didn’t get hit nearly as bad as expected, up here in NH we got buried.  My brother lives in Amesbury, MA and he measured 28”!  Every business was closed except Garwood’s.  How convenient that was.  We sipped brews and watched the blizzard from comfy warm seats over a blustering Lake Winnipesaukee.

 

Baring no flight issues, tomorrow its back to home sweet Victor.  It’ll be nice to relax for a weekend and enjoy the Super Bowl.  Then Wednesday it’s off to Manitowish, WI for my annual ice fishing trip before on the Fly Fishing Show circuit begins again later in February.

 

Never stop moving!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

The Somerset Fly Fishing Show 2015

blog-Jan-22-2015-1-hiking-in-new-hampshireIt was and enjoyable week up in New Hampshire with family the last three days.  But today it’s back to work starting with a long drive down to the Somerset, New Jersey Fly Fishing Show.  Somerset is the largest of all the Fly Fishing Shows and I’ll be there showing off the art and entertaining with a couple seminars.  The line up of speakers here is the best of all shows so I have only two talks.  Here’s my schedule:

 

Friday

 

11:00 – Release Room – “Trout Bumming the World”

 

Saturday

 

3:00 – Strike Room – “Trout Bumming the World”

 

See you there!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

January Fly Fishing Shows Whizzing By

blog-Jan-21-2015-jeff-currier-marlboro-flyfishing-showFor the first time in years we had near perfect weather for the Marlboro Fly Fishing Show.  Indeed it was cold but no snow and therefore no reason for New England fly fishers to stay off the roads.  And yes, the show was excellent.

 

I had a blast catching up with old friends.  Many were industry folks but I saw a lot of friends from Boston Fly Casters (A top club where I’ve spoken many times) and even some high school pals.  One was one of my best friends from high school, Carl Close, whom I had not seen in 29 years!

 

All my seminars went well and I’m presently relaxing up in Wolfeboro, NH at my folk’s house hanging with family.  Thursday it’s to the biggest show of the year, the Somerset Fly Fishing Show that takes place Friday – Sunday.  I hope to see many of you there!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing