Another Great Day Fly Fishing the Salt in South Africa

blog-Nov-14-2015-1-mussel-bay-south-africaWe said bye to Knysna, South Africa early this morning and traveled with Craig and Coreta west over an hour to visit their friends Chris and Teresa.  Their friends have a house on top a cliff overlooking the ocean about a half hour past the famous Mossel Bay.  Their view is stunning.


blog-Nov-14-2015-2-collecting-oystersWe’re staying here tonight so upon arrival Granny and I settled into our room then all of us took a walk down the beach.  Craig and I cast in hopes of catching a dusky kob on the fly.  The kob is a fish much like a white sea bass.  Chris has caught them on lures in front of his house on a few occasions but to catch one on fly would be quite a feat.  While we fished Chris chiseled us out fresh oysters which we fed on along the way.  When oysters are this fresh I recommend you chew them to enjoy the flavor of the sea.


blog-Nov-14-2015-3-box-turtleThe fish continue to win the battle and after our session we returned to the house and packed snacks and fishing stuff to head to prime fishing water where the Gourits River meets the ocean.  This is a well-known river for fishing both where it meets the ocean and further upstream.  In fact, tomorrow Granny and I will say goodbye to Craig and Coreta and head upstream to fish fresh water with another of my South African friends, Ed Truter.  As we left the driveway this geometric tortoise was crossing the road.


blog-Nov-14-2015-4-fly-patterns-for-satwaterThe tide was ripping in at the mouth of the Gourits River.  Its nearly a spring tide which means fluctuation from low to high is large.  Theoretically a strong incoming tide brings heaps of fish but five of us fished hard in this area for an hour without catching a fish.  I had one swirl behind my minnow imitation as I lifted to make my next cast.


blog-Nov-14-2015-5-flyfishing-gourits-riverThe wind was cranking to go along with the heavy currents from the incoming tide.  It was actually chilly when you waded in.  Granny, Coreta and Teresa gave up and not only quit fishing but headed back to the house to watch the ocean and drink wine.  We dudes went to a more sheltered area upstream by a bridge.


blog-Nov-14-2015-6-flyfishing-south-africaAt the bridge we got the protection from the wind we hoped for.  It was still blowing but not nearly as hard. There were also numerous bait fishermen here which at least told us there were some fish around.  Craig, Chris and I worked our way upstream to where there was some structure.  Chris was tossing a lure half way across the river while Craig and I tossed the flies.  Not much was happening for anyone.


blog-Nov-14-2015-8-jeff-currier-flyfishing-for-garrickI was still fishing in hopes of a kob which means getting the fly down deep.  I was using my 9 and 300 grain.  Craig switched gears and threw a popper on his 12-weight in hopes for a huge Garrick.  He yelled to Chris and I that he had a follow and invited us over.  I stepped in and instead of dredging with my fly I zoomed it along to keep it near the surface.  On the first cast I nailed a Garrick then went on to land about five of them.


After the five Garricks I went back to dredging in hopes of a kob.  Chris put me on a spot where he thought I had my best chance at one.  There were a lot of snags and I lost a few flies.  When you fish bottom it’s a good idea to count how many seconds you’re letting your fly sink.  I started with about twenty seconds and got hung up.  At fifteen seconds I got hung up then at about twelve seconds I had my fly swimming right along the bottom snag free.  After an hour of relentless casting I hooked up.


blog-Nov-14-2015-9-flyfishing-mussel-bay-saI knew right away that this wasn’t a Garrick.  This fish didn’t run but rather bullied me trying to cling to bottom where I hooked him.  Knowing there were plenty of snags I hoisted him up and muscled him in to me fast.  I was in a terrible spot to finagle a picture.  While Craig was running to assist I climbed down the steep bank only to see up close I had an even more unusual fly rod catch than a kob, I had a white Steenbras.  Unfortunately, before Craig made it for the pic the cool looking grunter like fish flopped off.


blog-Nov-14-2015-10-fly-fishing-south-africaWe rapped it up shortly after the Steenbras returned to Chris and Teresa’s house.  And yes, like every night so far we had an incredible meal and drank better wine than we’re used to.  What was really cool is that Chris and Teresa have an indoor grill – something that would come in pretty handy back home in the winter.  This has been one hell of a trip so far!


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing for Spotted Grunter in South Africa

blog-Nov-13-2015-1-sedgefield-south-africaThere was barely a cloud in the sky this morning when we left Craig and Coreta’s house for fishing.  Today was an exploratory in search of tailing spotted grunter.  Craig knew of some flats about a half hour from Knysna, South Africa which put us at a river mouth and estuary near Sedgefield.  The entrance of this river to the sea was an amazing assortment of colors.


blog-Nov-13-2015-2-flyfishing-south-africaWe tossed some casts for Garrick at the mouth unsuccessfully then quickly turned our focus for the spotted grunter.  This meant driving up the river to where it opened wide and flooded some tidal grasses over the flats.  This was a spot Craig knew of and to access it we walked up an abandoned railroad.  We soon found ourselves navigating over a precarious bridge.


blog-Nov-13-2015-3-jeff-currier-flyfishing-sout-africaUp on the bridge balancing and crossing should’ve been the priority.  But the out of date bridge gave us access to the deep water in the middle of the river and one particular pool was too much for me to pass up.  I stopped and launched a cast with my 9-weight and the 300 grain.  On the first cast I raised a small Garrick but that would be all after a relentless half hour of casting and stripping a Clouser.


blog-Nov-13-2015-4-sedgfield-south-africaLike yesterday, we fished all morning without a fish.  The tide got very low around lunch time and drained the potential grunter flats.  There was no sense in fishing for a couple hours till the high tide returned us enough water so we headed to town for pizza and a couple of vacation brews.


blog-Nov-13-2015-5-jeff-currier-flyfishing-for-grunterThe afternoon session was equally as productive as the morning.  This being said however, we found grunter and many of them and now I’m a bit possessed by them.  Craig and I cast to numerous tailers and cruisers along flats and in holes.  I started with a shrimp pattern and changed variations many times.  I eventually went with a flats standby, the Merkin Crab but even that wouldn’t entice a single fish.  Both Craig and I literally showed our flies to a hundred fish and nothing.  Finally, the tide got too high and the sun too low and we called her quits around 6.


blog-Nov-13-2015-6-spotted-grunterThe grunter is a unique looking fish with a small mouth designed specifically for blowing sand and mud shrimp out of their holes so they can make a tasty meal.  Usually the grunters hunt the shrimp on the shallow grassy flats so when they tip to blow into the holes they tail much like a bonefish or permit.  Naturally because of this tailing behavior fly fishers from all over South Africa are quickly becoming fans of the grunter and after today I can certainly see why.  But Craig and I have much to learn about a technique that works.


blog-Nov-13-2015-7-knysna-south-africaAfter we reeled it in we returned to Craig’s house for yet another fine meal made by Coreta.  One of their neighbors joined and with dinner we enjoyed several bottles of delicious red wine.  Things are exceptional here in South Africa fish or no fish.  We’ll try again tomorrow.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

The First Fish in South Africa

blog-Nov-12-2015-1-knysna-lagoon-zaGranny and I awoke to a spectacular morning here in Knysna, South Africa at our friends Craig and Coreta Smiths house.  It’s nice to be here for many reasons but the first that crosses my mind while in the Southern Hemisphere in November is that while the days are short and wintery in Victor, Idaho they are long and summery down here.  This brings a big smile to my face as I sip my coffee outside in shorts and t-shirt under sunrays at 6 AM.  Today Craig took us on Knysna Lagoon in search of Garrick (locally known as leerie) and the elusive spotted grunter.


blog-Nov-12-2015-2-flyfishing-with-craig-smithI mentioned yesterday that Craig and I met fishing in Egypt.  Craig is a well-travelled fly fisher and fished all over the world but admittedly doesn’t spend enough time fly fishing his home waters.  This being said, Craig has his own boat and knows where the fish live.  His targeted fish today was the queenfish-like leerie that can reach huge sizes that call for the 12-weight.


blog-Nov-12-2015-3-jeff-currier-flyfishing-south-africaMy rod of choice was the new 9-weight Winston Boron III Plus Jungle Rod.  Although not a jungle situation, I played around with the rod on the flats a couple weeks ago and loved it for the bonefish.  I rigged up Granny with my 7-weight, a Scientific Angler WF7F Bonefish Taper line and a Clouser.  The three of us chucked flies all morning on gorgeous looking water just in the lagoon between what they call the Heads but had no results.


blog-Nov-12-2015-4-flyfishing-in-south-africaBy noon we worked up an appetite and boated to the Knysna waterfront and met Coreta at a restaurant called Tapas.  Seafood is as fresh as can be here and very reasonably priced.  We crushed some lobsters and more calamari and a heap of slop chips.  And of course this is vacation so we washed the delicious meal down with a few Black Label South African beers.


blog-Nov-12-2015-5-abel-reel-winston-rodAfter lunch we went right back to our fishing and we still couldn’t buy a fish.  There are lots of shore anglers here and honestly we didn’t see the first person reel in a fish until about 4 PM.  It was exciting enough that Craig drove us by for a look and to my surprise it was a bluefish which here they strangely call them elf.


blog-Nov-12-2015-6-flyfishing-for-garrickAs you guessed we didn’t give up casting till the bitter end.  Craig has a friend that recommended one last spot to try for leerie.  By now the wind was howling and the temperature had dropped to the low 60s.  The three of us were underdressed.  As we pulled up to the spot we saw some feeding fish boiling.  I got my Clouser on them fast and hooked up to my first leerie and ended up with three of the feisty hard fighters.  They were by no means of size worth mentioning but for us it was a good tug and a new species to add on my species list.


blog-Nov-12-2015-7-black-label-beerDay two always causes me the worst jetlag.  Fishing allowed me to fight through the day but afterwards Craig took us to watch the sunset at Brenten Blue on the Sea.  I drank another Black Label and despite watching a whale it was a struggle to keep the eyes open.  From there we returned home and we just finished up an incredible meal that Coreta made for us and poured through two bottles of fine red wine.  I suspect tonight Granny and I shall sleep like rocks.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Arrival Day in Knysna, South Africa

blog-Nov-11-2015-1-flying-to-george-south-africaGranny and I have flown through a 48-hour time warp from the onset of winter in Victor, Idaho to the heart of spring down here on the bottom of the African continent in Knysna, South Africa.  We are staying the next four days in this area with my friend Craig Smith and his wife Coreta.  I met Craig while fishing in Egypt for Nile perch in 2008 then we fished there again in 2010.


blog-Nov-11-2015-2-george-south-africaAs you can imagine, jetlag after such a journey is huge.  South Africa is nine hours ahead of Idaho time and in a completely different hemisphere.  As always, we follow my rule of fighting jetlag by getting on schedule at our new location immediately.  This means that no matter how tired we are we stay awake till at least 9 PM.


blog-Nov-11-2015-3-knysna-south-africaAfter our arrival at around 10 AM in George, South Africa Craig picked us up and we drove for his home town of Knysna.  Upon arrival we met his wife Coreta and they showed us around their beautiful home on the Knysna Lagoon.




blog-Nov-11-2015-4-jeff-currier-&-craig-smithGranny and I were beaten from travel but Craig and Coreta kept us busy so dozing wasn’t an option.  We began the visit with lunch at one of their favorite lunch spots, East Head Cafe.  Craig and I pulverized mushroom burgers while the ladies ate fresh fish.  After lunch Craig and I fished shrimp patterns through some deep holes on the Knysna River with the incoming tide in hopes of catching anything but we had no luck.


blog-Nov-11-2015-5-knysna-elephant-parkJetlag hit hard and our bodies wanted to sleep after fishing at around 3 PM but Craig took us to Knysna Elephant Park and we walked with tigers (just kidding).  This place was amazing and we learned much about an animal we’ve been around much the last ten years.  As spectacular as it was, I was not at ease walking with these monsters.  While Granny was comfortable petting the huge animals I jumped in for a quick pic then got the heck back.


blog-Nov-11-2015-6-knysna-south-africaWe returned to Craig’s and met up with Coreta around 6 PM.  Continuing to help keep us awake, Coreta led the way to their friend’s house for an enjoyable cocktail hour overlooking the bay.  The place was gorgeous and we watched the sunset.  Craig and I drank a few South African Castle beers while the ladies sipped good South African wine.


blog-Nov-11-2015-7-knysna-south-africaI must say the highlight of the day was dinner.  Our wonderful hosts took us to their favorite restaurant on the picturesque little waterfront of Knysna named Cafe Mario.  Coreta recommended we get anything with calamari because Mario’s has the best squid imaginable.  They were right and I can honestly say it was the best calamari I’ve had in my life!


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Intense Travel Week Ends in Africa

blog-Nov-10-2015-1-flying-to-africaI got home from a successful Keys trip late Tuesday night then had a couple days to fine tune a conservation speech about golden mahseer that I gave in San Francisco on Friday night for the Henry’s Fork Foundations Annual Fundraiser.  The talk was held at an amazing old yacht club near Fisherman’s Wharf practically under the Golden Gate Bridge.   The event and speech went very well and I got home late Saturday night.  Then all day Sunday was spent scrambling to pack for three weeks fishing in Africa.


blog-Nov-10-2015-2-granny-currier-africaGranny and I have been traveling since early Monday morning and land in Johannesburg, South Africa in about three hours at 6:28 PM November 10th.  It’s been a long haul but the end is near.  The plan is to overnight in Johannesburg then first thing tomorrow fly to George where we’ll meet up with South African friend Craig Smith.


blog-Nov-10-2015-3-fishing-in-africaWe’ll fish four venues this trip with our South African friends – three different ones in South Africa and the highlight of the trip will be in the small country of Lesotho with my good friends of Tourette Fight it in Africa.  If you read the blog than you know my friends of Tourette because I’ve been on their amazing trips for tigerfish in Tanzania and the flats of the Red Sea off Sudan many times.


Stay tuned for a very interesting set of blogs the next few weeks but as usual, internet is not always available.  I’ll post when I can and I assure you in the end the day by day accounts will all be here.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Never Underrate Florida Keys Bonefish

blog-Nov-2-2015-1-simms-photo-shootA common occurrence on any photo shoot is that on the last day you scramble to get pics you haven’t gotten yet.  The shorter the length of the shoot the longer the last day photo list is.  I’m in the Florida Keys on a two day shoot with Simms modeling new product.  Simms has some very cool stuff to release in the next few months especially in the world of footwear.  But as expected, the first half of today was modeling rather than fishing.


blog-Nov-2-2015-2-tarpon-fishingI knew what I was getting into beforehand.  I came down excited to see and try the new Simms products, enjoy the company of friends I haven’t seen in a while, the 80° heat and of course I crossed my fingers for a few hours of good flats fishing.  This afternoon the few hours of good fishing came to fruition.


For starters, Capt. Bruce found us tarpon.  But the few we saw were hugging bottom on a deep flat, very hard to see and had that “I’m not so hungry” attitudes convincing us to move on after less than an hour.


blog-Nov-2-2015-3-flyfishing-the-flatsNext we hit a favorite permit flat during the perfect incoming tide.  I took off wading and in the first fifteen minutes I saw seven and got one excellent shot.  The chance came as close as you can get to hook up.  Due to the circumstance of light wind and a heavy crab fly that could easily spook a permit on its splash, I led this fish about ten feet.  The big black-eyed fish saw my concoction sink and surged for it.  The permit tipped and tailed over my fly sending my heart to a flutter, but rather than pick it up, he stared for what seemed like an endless amount of time.  I felt the need to twitch my fly and unfortunately it sent the round fish fleeing.


blog-Nov-2-2015-4-flyfishing-permitThe other six permit I saw consisted of a two pack that disappeared before getting in range to cast and a three pack that were spooked before I had any chance.  And last a monster permit that was speeding as though spooked but I got my crab in front of him anyhow but he continued on by without a look.


We ended the day on a beautiful sand flat we could’ve waded it with bare feet.  Instead we did one last photo shoot of some new saltwater wading boots that will be ready for spring.  They’re awesome boots that will replace the OceanTeks.  While I was posing Bruce stayed back at the skiff and along came some bonefish and he nailed one.  That was it.  Brian and Connor hurried up the last few photos and turned me loose.


blog-Nov-2-2015-5-bonefishOver the next two hours we all walked the flat.  It stretched a long way and four of us fished with plenty of elbow room while Brian trailed along with the camera.  The clouds faded in and out.  The wind was light and the tide rushed on to the flat.  I saw several bonnethead sharks and some barracudas before my first bonefish.  He was a hefty one and with a passing cloud hindering my visibility he nearly got too close to me before I saw him.  But I lucked out and landed my fly four feet from him and up-current.  I got tight and like swinging a fly for a salmon my fly passed in front of him.  One strip and he was on and on went the classic bonefish fight with a deep run into the backing, followed by another to the backing then a short one before I corralled him.


blog-Nov-2-2015-6-key-west-bonefishingI picked up one more smaller bonefish for a total of five amongst the four of us.  This was the best bonefishing I’ve ever had in the Keys and the first time I’ve waded for them in Florida.  We ended the day with one last pole across a tarpon flat followed by a final shoot speeding along in Bruce’s skiff with the new Vapor jackets.  It’s been a very action packed wonderful two days here in the Keys. I reckon I’ll be sleeping on the flights home tomorrow!


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing in Key West

blog-Nov-1b-2015-1-fatasy-fest-keywestEarly morning comes quick especially if you were up checking out Fantasy Fest on Halloween in Key West earlier this morning at 1 AM.  But, when you travel, whether in a foreign country or in a far-flung part of the USA, if you have the opportunity to take in an experience, you do so.  Fantasy Fest was a wild and must see event to say the least.


blog-Nov-1b-2015-2-Key-west-flThe beauty of late nights during fishing travel is that they easily get brushed aside because fishing in unique places is always adrenaline-charged.  I can’t ever remember being overtired from the front of a flats boat or dosing off while casting for some bad ass fish in a jungle.  Today and tomorrow I’m on a short notice trip as the fishing model for a Simms photography shoot down here in the Florida Keys.  I promise you, very little time will be spent sleeping but my body won’t accept that it’s tired until the flight home.


Earlier today I mentioned our photographer is Brian Grossenbacher.  Brian and I have been friends for about ten years and did our only shoot together back when we met.  Our coordinator of this photo shoot is friend Connor Flanagan who is the Sports Marketing Manager for Simms.


blog-Nov-1b-2015-3-jeff-currier-&-capt-bruce-chardWe have guides as well (Capt. Bruce Chard, Capt. Steve Hancock and Capt. Mike Weinhofer).  I’m excited because Bruce happens to be a longtime friend.  Bruce and I met at a Sportsman’s Show in Puyallup, Washington nearly twenty years ago.  We hit it off and for years I travelled to the Keys to fish with him and he traveled to Idaho to fish with me.  Like most folks our age, we got busy.  Bruce got busy guiding and with his family while I branched out exploring destinations far beyond the Keys.  I can’t believe it but this is our first time fishing together in about eight years.


blog-Nov-1b-2015-4-fishing-wrecksThe first shoot of today caught me by surprise but I was excited.  Simms has some superb wet weather and harsh elements gear coming out and we tested it offshore.  Capt. Mike Weinhofer specializes in deep water wreck jigging and led the way and provided two boats.  Being a fly only guy I wasn’t in this first shoot yet I had the green light to fish hard and enjoy the morning from the second boat.


We left the Key West dock before 7 AM and traveled about twenty minutes to the reef.  I rode with Steve while Bruce and Connor went with Mike to pose for Brian while jigging live bait over shipwrecks.


blog-Nov-1b-2015-5-sonar-titan-big-water-max-450x450I learned of this being part of our itinerary late Thursday night and had just enough time to put together a deep water fly rig.  My deep water rig consists of my 12-weight Winston SX, my 11/12N Abel and Scientific Anglers new Sonar Titan Big Water Taper Max Sink 700 grain fly line with the 100lb core.  This line drops like a rock and with a huge weighted Clouser Minnow I can dredge down to around 80 feet deep (see last Decembers blog for testing this new line in the Seychelles).


blog-Nov-1b-2015-6-jeff-currier-flyfishing-barracudaThe first stop had us in an easy to handle 30 foot deep area so I not only dredged but I launched some reasonable casts.  My Clouser was an olive and white Ben Byng striped bass concoction.  I wasn’t exactly sure what kind of fish to expect because reefs hold numerous species but that’s what thrills me on every strip.  I let my fly sink to around 15 feet and stripped fast.  On my third cast I got a yank that reminded me I was fly fishing saltwater.  The fish stopped me dead and took off like scalded dog.  Then came the acrobatic jumps and soon after I landed this jagged toothed barracuda.


blog-Nov-1b-2015-7-spanish-mackerelSteve and I followed Capt. Mike to his usual haunts as they did their photo shoot.  Steve is mostly a flats guide for bonefish, tarpon and permit but he knows the deep water as well.  The Clouser went on to catch this Spanish mackerel and several blue runners.  The latter of these fish were enticed from 90 feet down.  One of the blue runners caused a heap of excitement when a large barracuda shot out from under the boat and bit him in half then another took the rest along with my fly.


blog-Nov-1b-2015-8-hogfish-bar-&-grillThe offshore shoot ended at noon.  We ate hogfish tacos at the Hogfish Bar and Grill.  After, Bruce and Steve grabbed their flats skiffs and we launched from Big Pine KeyBrian and I went with Bruce while Connor directed more photo set ups from Steve’s boat.  We didn’t get much fishing in the first couple hours, but Connor turned us loose for tarpon for the last of the afternoon.


I’ve fished with a lot of tarpon guides in my life and I can promise you I’ve learned the most from Bruce.  His instruction on how to cast, where to land your fly, how to strip your fly, is clear and concise and best of all, proven.  He knows the tarpon behavior on the flats like I know the rainbows of the Henry’s Fork.  I love fishing tarpon with him and we’ve caught our share together.  But when it comes to tarpon and when it comes to saltwater fly fishing in general, indeed it helps to know a lot, but it doesn’t always mean you’re going to score big.


blog-Nov-1b-2015-9-capt-bruce-chardAs soon as we began to pole across the flat the low western clouds blocked the setting sun.  Tarpon fishing on the flats is entirely about seeing them and when the clouds block the sun they take away the viewing window.  For two hours we had a total of five minutes of sun.  That being said, I got three close shots.  Two of my casts easily could have landed better but one was on the money.  This cast was to a tarpon Bruce estimated at 175lbs.  The monster fish swam to within five feet of the bow with the fly in his face but he wouldn’t eat.  Such a close encounter is a humbling experience that all anglers should enjoy at least once.


I’ve been in the Keys a mere 24 hours and only have 24 hours before we turn around and go home.  Yes, this is a short one but what a great day.  This morning’s fishing was lots of fun and tonight, even though the sun and tarpon wouldn’t cooperate, it was a blast to catch up with Bruce and Brian.  I suspect we’ll make it happen tomorrow.  Stay tuned. . . .


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Key West, Halloween & Fantasy Fest

blog-Nov-1a-2015-1-Key-WestOne of the many perks of being on the Simms Fishing Products pro staff is being one of the first to fish the newest of Simms long array of products.  Tonight pro photographer Brian Grossenbacher and I landed in Key West, Florida.  We are here the courtesy of Simms.  My job is to fish and Brian’s is to get photos of the new Simms gear in action.


blog-Nov-1a-2015-2-fantasy-fest-key-westWe got off the plane then met up with the rest of the crew and instead of a boring night at a hotel room we went to the heart of Key West madness.  Tonight is Halloween and furthermore – the famous Fantasy Fest.  I can’t post most of the pictures I shot tonight!


Fishing starts later today.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Florida Keys here I Come

blog-Oct-31-2015-florida-keysWith a trip to San Francisco this Friday November 6th to be the keynote speaker for the Henry’s Fork Foundation Reception Dinner then to Africa for three weeks on Monday November 9th, squeezing in two days of fishing in the Florida Keys tomorrow and Monday didn’t seem logical.  But then it seemed less logical not to go.  This is a fully sponsored Simms fishing photo shoot that includes a half day of reef dredging with the 700-grain and a day and a half on the flats with my long time buddy Capt. Bruce Chard whom I haven’t visited in years.  What was I thinking – of course I’m going!


This was a last minute trip.  These are always the best!  A special thanks to Simms for inviting me along.  Stay tuned for what I hope is a great fishing adventure!


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Annual Thermopolis Trip with the Boyz

blog-Oct-25-2015-1-grand-teton-national-parkFall is the time for get togethers with my friends whom are guides, fly shop employees, fly fishing instructors and those who are just too dang busy to spend time with in the summertime.  Fall is the time when fly fishing people do less working and more fishing.  These last two days was the end of the year party with my old fly shop staff.  Even though I’ve been out of the fly shop and guiding biz exactly six years almost to the day, I’m happy to say they still bring me along.


blog-Oct-25-2015-2-scott-smith-fishing“They” is now Grand Teton Fly Fishing and its Scott Smith who is the main owner and founder of Grand Teton Fly Fishing.  Scott worked his way from fly shop employee to casting instructor to guide and eventually to be my head guide by the time I left.  It was an amazing process to build the company and acquire some of the best fishing permitted water in North Western Wyoming.  Now four years in Scott has it under control.  For the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park fishing trips, Grand Teton Fly Fishing is who I recommend.


October 25 – Day 1


blog-Oct-25-2015-3-togwotee-passSunday morning six of us met at 9 AM in Jackson and carpooled four hours to Thermopolis, Wyoming where the Wind River becomes the Bighorn River.  Minus a couple stops along the way to take in the incredible October scenery, we arrived directly at a boat ramp and pushed off the boats before 2 PM.


blog-Oct-25-2015-4-josh-gallivan-fishingEveryone was stoked to be fishing together and there was a lot of goofing off and fun times in order as we put the boats in.  But we were quick to snap into seriousness when we noticed big rising trout in all the likely spots on each bank.  Josh Gallivan (Sicket) went into action and on the first cast hooked and landed this proper brown trout on a size 20 purple Comparadun.


blog-Oct-25-2015-5-trico-flyOur weather was fantastic.  There wasn’t an ounce of wind and the temperature hovered in the low 60°s.  Most of the leaves have left the trees so it’s sort of weird having leafless trees but such nice weather.  The water temp of the Bighorn is warmer that it should be for October as well but fortunately it didn’t stop the tiny Baetis from hatching.  I grabbed a size 20 Trico and tied it on without readers – something not many 50 somethings can do.  Though not a perfect representation of the Baetis its small size was what was needed and the Trico went on to catch its fair share.


blog-Oct-25-2015-6-bighorn-riverDay 1 was productive as long as you could see a tiny fly.  If your eyesight was at all hampered the going got tough.  While Scott, Sicket and I had a respectable afternoon of dry fly fishing the other guys didn’t do as well.  But they stayed more with big ants, streamers and nymphs and the trout just weren’t into those flies.


blog-Oct-25-2015-7-jeff-currier-shooting-poolWe overnighted in Thermopolis and Scott treated the crew to an evening of dinner and beers at the Safari Club.  The Safari Club is a unique hotel and bar that suites multiple day fishing trips to Thermopolis perfectly.  We had a great dinner and I was able to find my long lost billiard skills for a few games.


October 26 – Day 2


blog-Oct-26-2015-8-bighorn-riverThis morning charged in fast but luckily it doesn’t get light till almost 8.  Ben Brennan and I got an early breakfast and watched the rest of the group limp in for coffee around 9.  I guess some of the guys didn’t spend last weekend celebrating someone’s 50th so they took it a little further than normal last night.  Like every day this October, temps were unseasonably warm early in the day but there were a few threatening clouds drifting in.


blog-Oct-26-2015-9-thermopolis-wyWe floated the least fished part of the Wyoming Bighorn today.  The stretch doesn’t see the pressure of the rest of the river due to two diversion dams.  Both dams have taken their share of drift boats over the years due to rogue waves, hidden sharp boulders and the actual waterfall like drops in both.  This time of year the level of the Bighorn is so low you can’t float over the diversions and need a few crazy guides to wade and drag the boats.  This part was not a problem for our crew.


blog-Oct-26-2015-10-flyfishing-wyDealing with less boat traffic wasn’t the only reason we chose this stretch today.  We were looking for some less pressured fish that would be easy to catch.  We caught them yesterday but it took patience and small dries.  We wanted to do some streamer fishing with hopes of tagging a few big browns.  Our choice paid dividends and not only did we stick a few browns on streamers but the risers ate the big summer Chernobyl ant patterns as well.  Fishing was on!


blog-Oct-26-2015-11-wind-riverThe best fish of the trip came on my last cast.  I’d been going back and forth from dry to streamer hitting all the mid river troughs where big browns hold in October.  I smacked my double streamer rig down and let it swing (a good technique in fall).  On the first strip I got a yank and downstream without a jump went what I quickly guessed to be an oversized brown.  At the same time Scott hooked up as well and his leaped and it was a rainbow.  All this happened as the takeout ramp came into sight.


blog-Oct-26-2015-12-jeff-currier-scott-smithScott and I battled while Sicket steered and gradually beached the boat by the ramp.  Then he netted Scotts rainbow and seconds later my brown.  The net had over 5lbs of trout – 2/3rd brown trout and 1/3rd rainbow.  What a way to end a trip!


That’s likely my last trout for a while.  My travels start Friday with a short trip to the Florida Keys for a Simms shoot.  Then one night to San Francisco to speak at the Henry’s Fork Foundation Banquet then off to Africa.  Stay tuned. . . .


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing