Archive | August, 2013

Fly Fishing the South Fork

blog-Aug-29-2013-1-Fly-Fishing-the-South-Fork-of-IdahoI threw down a third fishing day in a row today.  Yes, indeed Granny and I got home late last night from our Wyoming adventure but Gary Eckman booked him and me a One Fly practice day on the South Fork with guide and long time friend Zach Peyton.  A chance to sit in the back of the boat and not have to row a stroke all day – you don’t miss those for anything!

 

blog-Aug-29-2013-2-Fly-Fishing-in-IdahoFishing was far better than last week.  You may remember Gary and I caught some fish Friday but very few and all of them came from one side channel.  It was tough.  The slow day threw some fear into us for the One Fly.  But today we caught fish steadily and on a wide variety of flies ranging from streamers to big dries.

 

blog-Aug-29-2013-3-Gary-EckmanThe improved fishing on the South Fork comes from several things.  First of all Zach guides the river everyday and has for many years.  Even when fishing is tough he has a few pets and places that always have a hungry trout.  Also, the fishing pressure on the South Fork has dropped dramatically the last couple weeks.  Word got out as to how tough the fishing has been so most anglers have migrated to the Snake River around Jackson, Wyoming.  Last, nights have cooled significantly.  Cool nights lead to cooler water, thicker hatches and all-round better fishing.

 

It’s back to the office this weekend.  I’ll be writing and painting and enjoying some baseball.  Yea, the Cubs are long out but there are some extremely interesting races out there.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Bruiser Trout in Central Wyoming

August 27-28, 2013

blog-Aug-28-2013-1-pronghorn-antelope

August 27

Fishing the Yellowstone Country in August can be tough.  Temperatures are often hot enough to sink large trout to the bottom of the deepest pools.  Deep pools are hard to find because of low water.  Floating weeds and debris stick to streamers on every cast and the wind blows harder than normal.  But a little creativity in picking your spots can lead to fine fishing, no people and plenty of wildlife despite these harsh conditions.

 

blog-Aug-27-2013-2-Fly-fishing-WyomingGranny and I drove to the heart of Wyoming Monday night, enjoyed a fabulous meteor shower and slept in the Exploder.  We downed some coffee at the crack of dawn Tuesday under ominous skies and met Weldon Jones and his friend Owen where we could buy only cheap beer.  Then after combing over a tattered map on the hood of my truck we chose a section of the river to float.

 

blog-Aug-27-2013-3-traveling-in-WyomingShuttle services don’t exist in such remote places and hitchhiking doesn’t work when there’s no traffic.  We did our own shuttle and pushed off at 9 AM.  Distant clouds indicated storms on the way but at this point it was an easy 90º and sunny, the absolute worst weather for trout fishing anywhere on the planet.

 

blog-Aug-28-2013-4-Bonneville-cutthroatFishing matched the weather as suspected.  There wasn’t a rising trout to be found and streamers did nothing but entangle in weeds.  Granny hoisted in this small but rather uniquely spotted Bonneville Cutthroat but that was it before lunch.

 

blog-Aug-28-2013-5-Rainbow-troutFortunately those distant storms seen in the morning arrived after we ate.  We broke out the raingear several times and I struggled to hold the boat through heavy wind.  Granny wisely kept a black Warpath jig fly running through every good looking hole she could reach and the fish started eating.  Between 2 PM and dark Granny and I caught a dozen beautiful rainbows and a few more cutthroats.

 

blog-Aug-28-2013-6-crayfishI’m not sure why the black streamer was so effective.  There’s definitely a few baitfish in the river but there are more crayfish than anywhere I’ve ever fished.  These crayfish are dark olive so I’m guessing it was the movement we were putting on the fly that enticed the fish.  Crayfish move in short jumping motions so we stripped and jigged our rod tip at the same time.  Whether that was the trick or not the technique certainly worked.

 

blog-Aug-27-2013-7-Granny-Currier's-cookingAugust 28

Last night was a late one.  We got off the river in darkness and then it was 30 minutes to our camping spot.  Granny and I brought some monster thick pork chops and asparagus for the grill and a bottle of red.  Weldon and Owen, younger more durable chaps, opted for brats, whiskey and microbrews.  We listened to the entire Cubs vs. Dodgers game on my XM.  I’m happy to say my struggling Cubs beat Clayton Kershaw.

 

blog-Aug-28-2013-8-mooseThe boys couldn’t fish with us today.  It wasn’t because they were hung-over but rather they couldn’t fish.  Weldon began his long journey home back to North Carolina and Owen returned to work in Jackson.  However, before he left, Owen was kind enough to do a shuttle for Granny and me.  We fished a different stretch under partly cloudy skies and scorching temps.  It was so hot we passed this enormous Bull Moose literally sitting in the river.

 

blog-Aug-27-2013-9-Bonneville-CutthroatJust like yesterday things started slow.  It was hot.  It was calm and mostly sunny.  Very few creatures moved.  I walked up a side channel and caught this slim cutthroat on a dry fly but though there was plenty of great looking water, the cutty was my only fish.  The day was turning into a scenic float.

 

blog-Aug-27-2013-10-Granny-CurrierThen, despite the sunnier day than yesterday, the fish turned on.  Its amazing how this often happens.  You literally go from nothing happening anywhere to where you can do no wrong.  From 11 on we caught more than 20 quality line stealing bows, three browns and a few more cutthroats.  The best fish of the weekend was this fantastic rainbow Granny pulled from an inside turn less than 12” deep.  Like all the rest, this dark striped bow ate the Warpath jig fly.  What a weekend!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Is It Already Time to Start Thinking One Fly?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAugust 23, 2013

Summer has zipped by once again.  Sure there’s a few weeks left, but here in the Yellowstone Country nights have cooled significantly and our first frost isn’t far.  It can only mean one thing; the Jackson Hole One Fly is just around the corner.

 

I’m fortunate to fish in the One Fly competition.  It’s expensive to enter.  I’m not sure what it is but probably about $5000 for a four person team.  It’s a great investment however; you get three great dinners, wine and beer at parties and two days of guided fishing.  Best of all, most of the money raised goes towards restoration projects for rivers and fish in need.

 

I’m a guest angler of Gary Eckman’s Good Times Team.  I fished on Gary’s team in 2010, 2011 and 2012.  It’s darn cool he includes me on his team and because he does, I give my soul to help win.  So far I’ve done well but we still haven’t made the podium as a team.

 

blog-Aug-23-2013-2-South-Fork-of-the-SnakeThis year I’ve been traveling but normally by this late in summer Gary and I have fished together at least several times on Snake River in Wyoming and the South Fork of the Snake in Idaho.  These are the waters where the One Fly takes place.  Although I know both well, it’s nice to “tune up”.  Every fish counts and keeping your ONE fly (that’s all your allowed) on without losing it in a tree takes some practice.

 

blog-Aug-23-2013-3-Gary-Eckman-on-the-South-ForkToday Gary and I, joined by friend Andy Asadorian, floated the Upper Canyon of the South Fork.  The South Fork hasn’t been fishing up to its potential for several weeks but we need to check it out regardless.  Over the years I’ve chosen a small dry fly for the competition.  I’ll probably do it again this year so I practiced with a small dry all day long.  This choice destined for a long morning.  I literally caught one 6” brown trout in the first four hours of fishing today.  It wasn’t as bad as it seems though.  Gary caught one whitefish despite trying every method in the universe including nymphing.

 

blog-Aug-23-2013-4-Andy-Asadorian-South-Fork-River-Brown-TroutAndy chucked streamers and caught three fish.  These were nice fish and nice fish add up to far more points than a few smaller ones.  One of Andy’s fish was this hefty brownie that came from underneath a grass clump on an inside turn.  The way his streamer was working caused me second thoughts on fly choice.

 

blog-Aug-23-2013-5-Fly-fishing-in-IdahoAt 2 PM I was up to a roaring four fish less than 12”.  If it was tournament day I would have jumped overboard.  We approached a sexy looking side channel at the same time the first heavy rain in about two months hit.  I had Andy pull over and I walked over to it.  There he was, a nice cutty rose right in front of me.  I made one cast and bam; I landed an 18” cutty.  I made three more casts and caught another dandy cutty of about 17”.  That was all she wrote.  In fifteen minutes I landed five sizeable fish that would liven up any quality One Fly score.  After today I’ll be sticking with the small dry.

 

blog-Aug-23-2013-6-fishing-the-South-ForkWhile I was raking in fish in the upper part of this side channel, Gary was stripping a purple streamer through the seam where the channel entered the main river.  These are always good places.  Although the usually productive place wasn’t great, Gary landed this heavily spotted rainbow that also would have scored very high in the tournament.

 

It was good to be back in the boat with Gary practicing for the One Fly.  Gary’s one of the most hardcore anglers you’ll ever meet and believe it or not he’s in his 70’s.  He absolutely won’t slow down.  I can only hope to be doing the same at his age.  The next few days its back to work but I expect to get Granny out on the water for her days off Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Beastly Browns, Brutal Bugs, Big Bears & Bad Snakes

blog-Aug-20-2013-Scott-Smith-&-Weldon-JonesAugust 20, 2013

The blog has been a little slow since my return from Bolivia.  It’s a fact that until today, my last fish was that monster golden dorado.  There’s no doubt I’ve been enjoying this.  It’s helped me work rather than fish.  But today was time to move on.

 

Move we did.  Friends Scott Smith, top guide and owner of Grand Teton FlyFishing and Weldon Jones, guide as well, took me to a special place.  A place I’ve known about for years but simply haven’t taken the time to go.  The undisclosed place is a long drive, a long boat ride followed by a long hike through some of Wyoming’s most uninhabitable territory.  Most the residents here will eat you in a heartbeat!

 

blog-Aug-20-2013-2-Jeff-CurrierWe drove there last night.  Then this morning we made the hour long driftboat ride across the lake with Scotty’s new 6hp Mercury.  The weather was surprisingly cloudy and cool and we felt a few shots of rain, enough to put on my Simms Paclite Jacket.

 

blog-Aug-20-2013-3-Fly-Fishing-in-WyomingOnce across the lake we tied off the boat on some rocks at the base of a waterfall, attached some big terrestrials to 9’ 1X leaders and began our hike/wet wading adventure deeper into the backcountry.  Once up over the falls we got our first look at the no less than spectacular river.  It was glassy calm and moving slower than bonefish flats on the Henry’s Fork – a favorite place of mine.

 

blog-Aug-20-2013-4-Wyoming-FishingAs we stared at this amazing piece of water the sky blackened.  It wasn’t rain or clouds but rather the mosquito air force.  Three minutes into the hike and Weldon was sprinting back to the boat for bug dope.  I had some on me but it was almost gone.  An empty tube of Ultrathon would have undoubtedly resulted in untimely death for the three of us.

 

blog-Aug-20-2013-5-Jeff-Currier-and-Weldon-JonesTrudging beside the river was difficult.  As you stumbled along slipping on clumps of grass and falling in holes you not only awoke more mosquitoes but also swarms of aggressive horseflies.  I opted to head up to higher ground and traverse a hillside to avoid them.  However after the fourth massive pile of fresh bear poop I returned to suffer at rivers edge with Scotty and Weldon.

 

blog-Aug-20-2013-6-Jeff-Currier-fly-fishing-in-WyomingThere wasn’t much going on.  There were no hatches and zero rising fish.  So after picking off a few dink cutthroats and rainbows blind we reeled in and hiked for an hour.  We passed an impressive canyon that I couldn’t help but climb down and make a few casts.  The excursion resulted in a minor ankle twist and a few more small fish.  We were here for big browns so we moved on.

 

blog-Aug-20-2013-7-Fly-fishing-in-WyomingAnother hour of hiking brought us to an even more impressive piece of river and a seemingly endless valley.  The epic view would have fulfilled your favorite western movie and some.  By now the sun was out and the heat waves blurred the ground.  The hoppers were clicking so loud we just knew we were about to crush some huge browns.  But we didn’t.

 

blog-Aug-20-2013-8-Weldon-Jones-Fly-fishing-WyomingFor the next six hours, Scotty, Weldon and I fished our way upstream.  We covered the few rises we saw and methodically drifted our flies over every deep run and along undercut grassy banks.  Based on Scotts and Weldon’s previous trips, we should have caught ten huge browns but instead we caught only three.  Not huge browns either, they were respectable but word has it 30 inchers lurk.

 

blog-Aug-20-2013-9-Jeff-CurrierSure, a heap of bruiser brown trout would have elevated the day, but it was a gem nonetheless.  It was a privilege to be invited along with Scotty and Weldon to what is one of the last great lower 48 fishing locations.  There are huge browns, rainbows and cutthroats here but far better than them; this place provided me that hard to explain “wild” feeling.  The feeling you experienced frequently when you were young but hits you rarely as you get older.  I cherish this feeling.

 

blog-Aug-20-2013-10-Fishing-in-WyomingThere were some side adventures of note.  I got separated from Scott and Weldon.  I’m always the guy.  There were occasional side channels entering the main river.  I hiked everyone of them and within ten minutes or so I’d be back to the main channel and there would be Scotty and Weldon.  This was not the case on the last one.  I fished up this small channel for 45 minutes and the channel continued veering away from the main river not towards it.  I was spanking 14 inch browns and rainbows on every turn.  I couldn’t stop.  But then I found some wolf tracks in the mud and got that sick feeling.  Yikes!  Was I being watched?  (See my tiger story).  That was it, I backtracked to the main river and sure enough this put me far behind Scott and Weldon.  Knowing they’d figure out I was missing and begin to worry I attempted to catch up.

 

It was getting late.  The last thing I wanted was to hike deeper but I had to.  I didn’t want the guys looking for me all night out there.  My quickest method was to head back to the bear infested hillside and walked deeper into the wilderness.

 

blog-Aug-20-2013-11-Wolf-tracksAs I hiked I was immersed in a juniper forest expecting a mountain lion to pounce on me at any second or a grizzly to startle and eat me.  Honestly it was the creepy hike from hell.  Every so often I’d yell as loud as I could hoping to hear the boys but they were deafened by the river.  At least I was scaring critters so I kept it up.  Finally after an hour of this desolation Weldon returned a yell.  They were about a half a mile away as far as I could tell and I yelled I’m heading back.  Indeed they were looking for me.  An hour later we regrouped.

 

blog-Aug-20-2013-12-prairie-rattlesnakeThat should have been the end of our day – a happy one hour grunt back to the boat.  But instead I came within a glance of ripping prairie rattler fangs from my calf.  I was third in line.  Generally, the hiker in the lead scares a rattlesnake into rattling and everyone has time to step back.  But I came within inches of planting my Simms Wading Shoe right smack on the middle of this three foot snake that opted to give us the silent treatment.  That is till I almost stepped on him.  His rattle went off like a fire alarm and I leapt backward like a little girl.  Dang that was a close one!

 

We returned to the boat after our adventurous hike at 6:45 PM.  The great thing about Weldon’s boat is its cooler, a cooler full of cold beer!  The hour long putt-putt back to the truck was perfect length for a cigar and two beers.  All three of us leaned back and took in the sunset.  The ride was as good as the day itself.  I pulled in my driveway at 12:30 AM this morning.

 

I’ll be updating more often from here on out.  Its One Fly practice time and I’m deeply into my art of late.  I’ll be posting a roosterfish painting shortly that so far is my best art ever.  It’s a gift for my roosterfishing partner, Sammy Vigneri.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Hiking and Fishing in the Tetons

blog-Aug-13-2013-1-Hiking-in-the-TetonsAugust 13 – 15, 2013

 

Not sure how it came about, but during our annual Christmas Eve party friend Jessica Chitwood suggested we all go on a backpacking trip into the Tetons this summer.  The thought was a great idea and Granny and I were on board immediately.  We haven’t been backpacking since we trekked to Mount Everest in 2002.

 

blog-Aug-13-2013-2-backpacking-Grand-Teton-National_ParkAugust 13

 

There were nine of us for this week’s adventure that started at String Lake in Grand Teton National Park.  We left with heavy packs (including fly rods) at 10 AM and headed west along Jenny Lake and up Cascade Canyon.  As you would expect the scenery was no less than phenomenal.

 

blog-Aug-13-2013-3-Grand-TetonWe covered about seven miles and camped above South Cascade Canyon in a group site.  When we arrived we had thunderstorms all around us but none centered on us and we enjoyed some light drizzle for a few hours before the sun broke back out.  Then we sipped our favorites and watched the sun rays light this unusual view of “The” Grand Teton.

 

blog-Aug-14-2013-4-black-bear-Grand-Teton-National-ParkAugust 14

 

I heard a robin scolding outside our tent before sunrise.  The shrill went on for ten minutes or so.  It was time to get up anyhow and I saw Andy and Leslie waving to me when I poked my head out of my tent.  I crept speedily over and they were watching a black bear chowing on huckleberries.  I’m glad we took care of our food properly or it would likely have been gone!

 

blog-Aug-14-2013-5-Granny-Currier-Hurricane-Pass-Grand-TetonsAfter breakfast we hit the trail again.  We hiked about eight miles that included crossing over the steep 10,000 foot Hurricane Pass.  On the top is one of the most incredible Teton views of all.  The Grand, Middle and South Tetons shoot high above all other mountains.  Unfortunately the west is full of forest fires, especially in our area and what is normally jaw dropingly beautiful was only ok because of the haze.

 

blog-Aug-14-2013-6-Jeff-Currier-Climbing-in-the-TetonsAs always, I took my view a step further and climbed a pinnacle to get higher than the trail over the pass.  I hope my mom doesn’t see the picture as I was not exactly in a safe place.  Nor was the scramble to get up and down safe.  In fact, an older couple passed us later.  They saw me from the distance and the lady gave me an earful of how crazy and dangerous the move was.  She even went as far as to say my mom wouldn’t be happy.  She’s right, but I’m a thrill seeker.

 

blog-Aug-14-2013-7-Sunset-Lake-Teton-National-ParkWe ended the day in the Alaska Basin and camped on one of several Alaska Basin Lakes.  These lakes are why we all packed fly rods.  Unfortunately, no one strung up a rod.  We didn’t see a fish or a rise and word is that the fish were frozen out last winter.  High mountain lakes are always unpredictable.  What a drag!

 

blog-Aug-15-2013-8-wild-flowers-Grand-Teton-National-ParkAugust 15

 

The hike out today took us to the Teton Creek Trailhead just east of Driggs, Idaho.  It was smooth sailing with much lighter packs.  The wine was gone, most of the food eaten and the hike was downhill most of the day.  The highlight for me were areas of incredible wildflowers.

 

blog-Aug-14-2013-9-The-TetonsThe older Granny and I grow the less walking for fish we do.  Honestly we end up in the boat more than we should.  I think everyone is guilty of this. Regardless of the lack of fish, I’m glad we got the backpacks on.  The change of pace was refreshing and the hike was no less than spectacular.  In fact it was so fabulous that Jess will let us know what next years expedition will be at our Christmas Eve party.  I’m sure it will be good.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Kids and Fly Fishing

August 6 & 7, 2013

 

blog-Aug-6&7-2013-1-Gros-Ventre-River-WyomingThere’s no better way to recover from catching the fish of a lifetime in another hemisphere less than 36 hours ago than to return to the home waters immediately.  Its even better to kick back and watch young fly fishers appreciate small Snake River Cutthroats as much as I did my monster golden dorado.  Tuesday and Wednesday was our annual Gros Ventre River camping trip with the family – one of my true favorites.  (see 2010 & 2012).

 

blog-Aug-6&7-2013-2-Teaching-kids-how-to-flyfishYou can’t ask for better weather, but that’s par for the course around Jackson, Wyoming in August.  We cherish these days.  It was 85º during the day, 70º around the campfire at night and upper 50ºs for sleeping (we’ll pay for it in January!).

 

blog-Aug-6&7-2013-3-Fly-fishing-for-kidsThe nieces are six, nine and eleven now.  They can cast by themselves, mend, strip in a fish and have improved much with their line management.  They are becoming true anglers.  And what’s really fun is that they’re big enough for a hike so I took advantage of that and we hiked to a far away meadow that I’ll doubt gets fished more than a few times a summer.  The cuttys were suicidal – exactly what you want for kids.

 

blog-Aug-6&7-2013-4-Sammy-Currier

Sammy posing with her first cutthroat of the day.

blog-Aug-6&7-2013-5-fly-fishing-in-WyomingMontana putting the heat on Snake River Fine Spot.

blog-Aug-6&7-2013-6-Montana-CurrierMontana prepares to pounce on her trophy.

blog-Aug-6&7-2013-7-Kids-fly-fishingSix year old Sierra launching some casts.

blog-Aug-6&7-2013-8-Sierra-RoseSierra corrals her cutthroat all by herself.

That’s all for this week.  After more than two weeks from the office it’s back to work.  Next on the agenda is the Alaska Basin Trail and others through the Tetons with the fly rod next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

A Fly Fishing Miracle in Bolivia

August 3, 2013

blog-Aug-3-2013-1-Fly-Fishing-in-Bolivia“Never give up” is a motto I’ve used all my life.  I’ve used the saying with everything from school, sports and especially in fly fishing.  I’ve used it many times on this blog when things weren’t going well.  May 12th in India was my most recent “never give up” miracle.  Excruciating days upon days of trying to catch a large golden mahseer for Confluence Films next film, “Waypoints” paid off.

 

As I write, it’s the middle of the night over South America.  I’m three glasses deep in the red and everyone on the plane is out like a light except me.  Why?  I’m too amped for sleep even though the Bolivia trip is 2,000 miles in the rearview mirror.

 

blog-Aug-3-2013-2-Fly-fishing-for-golden-doradoHere’s why.  Yesterday was the last day of fishing.  Today was pack up and leave day.  The trip was over and I didn’t catch a huge golden dorado or land a pacu.  Sure, it was an absolute dream to fish in Bolivia.  My friends treated me and I caught fish any angler would die for.  But deep inside I wondered if I’ll ever make it back to Bolivia.  Will I ever fish waters famous for monster dorado or cast to a pacu again?

 

Last night the Pluma Lodge host Maurisio suggested I sneak one last hour of fishing in this morning before the journey home began.  Who knows right?  Anything can happen.  There was little time because our grunt for the jungle landing strip was scheduled for 10:30 AM.  Our bags needed to be ready by 10.  I didn’t get packed last night and fishing also meant putting on what is now wet, muddy, stinky gear again for a mere hour of fishing which would probably lead me to the camp pool.  Fishing has already proven to be tough so what were my chances in the pulverized camp pool?

 

blog-Aug-3-2013-3-Pluma-Lodge-BoliviaAs I sucked down my first cup of coffee and watched the sunrise from the Pluma porch I became very “Un-Currier Like” lazy.  I tied on a new piece of wire shock tippet and a fly but that’s as far as I got.  Maurisio and I started chatting and next thing we knew I’d blown off my fishing.

 

By 9:45 I was feeling guilty of my actions.  Here I was on the Pluma Lodge porch staring at the water and checking out my Fantasy Baseball Teams.  What a waste!  But it was too late.  I was packed, in my flight clothes and ready to head for Idaho.

 

blog-Aug-3-2013-4-rigging-for-golden-doradoWe left on time and after our sloppy four wheeling through the mud to where the boats pick us up to take us to the plane we found ourselves standing on the banks of the Secure River.  Our boat wasn’t there yet so naturally as a group of anglers we stared at the water.  Man, I wanted just one more day.  Maurisio suggested I set up a rod.  My tackle was truly buried so Dale offered his.  The gang coaxed me on and next thing you know I was rigged and tromping down a rugged jungle wood strewn hill for the river in my flip flops.

 

When I got down I cast to all the likely spots.  I’m freaking wrecked from all the hiking we’ve done the last few days and wasn’t my usual agile self.  I got snagged and had to maneuver for an angle to free my fly.  That meant back in the jungle, hopping more rocks and sinking to my knees in mud.  I trashed my only clean pants for flying and had to reach in the muck to retrieve my flip flop but luckily finally got the fly loose.

 

During this little fiasco the boats arrived.  100 yards upstream the guys were loading.  I knew they’d pick me up so I made another cast.  This cast will go down in history!

 

blog-Aug-3-2013-5-Golden-Dorado-Flies-BoliviaMy fly swung through the murky tailout below me.  I stripped and swiped my rod to give the massive black and red fly some action.  That’s when a huge dorado grabbed and jumped.  Things like this happen so fast that I barely saw this fish.  But he was big, bigger than any fish I hooked this week.

 

This event unfolding was overwhelming.  Here I was fishing because our boat transport was late and I was hooked to my biggest fish of the trip.  And unlike any golden dorado I’ve hooked this week, this one didn’t jump again.

 

blog-Aug-3-2013-5a-Jeff-CurrierBy now the guys saw I was connected.  They began hooting and hollering.  Surely they thought I had an ordinary dorado.  Soon they realized however by the way I danced on the rocks I had no control of this fish.  He had to be big.

 

blog-Aug-3-2013-6-Golden-DoradoIt took about three minutes for the boat to get to me.  Honestly I expected to have a nice 15lb dorado in hand by now, but the fish continued fighting deep. The boat bounced off the rocks several times while my line narrowly escaped the twirling motor propeller.  I survived a risky leap into the boat, kept the rod bent and off to the other side of the river we went.  This was an amazing moment because now the entire group, two locals and Maurisio were all with me.  This was becoming the ultimate group effort.

 

blog-Aug-3-2013-6a-freshwater-doradoThe other bank was a shallow gradual gravel beach, ideal for landing a big fish.  We beached but the boat swung over my line as the fish surged upstream.  The motor prop was still running.  I was pulling with all the tension I dared and our Tsimane boat man lifted the engine prop within a second of total disaster.  A miracle was in the making.

 

Another hurdle behind and it was up to me.  I was out of the boat and had to land my fish.  All this time passed and other than the first jump, this hard fighting dorado had not yet showed himself.  The entire gang stood waiting for their first glimpse.  I was too far away to see but when they got it, all I heard were a lot of “Holly ****s!”

 

blog-Aug-3-2013-7-Jeff-Currier-Golden-Dorado-fishingI got my first view the first time I beached the burly dorado.  He was flipping huge!  “12 kilos”, the locals shouted, “Maybe 13!”  I was shocked.  I couldn’t believe this was happening.  Six days of relentless angling with nothing like this – amazing.  It wasn’t over though.  Three times the fish up righted himself from the shallows and booked back for the deep spraying me with his rooster tail.  Finally on my fourth attempt I pounced and corralled the monster.

 

blog-Aug-3-2013-8-Jeff-Currier-in-BoliviaThis massive dorado was long and his belly drooped around my grip.  He was a muscular beast.  My fly fell out so I gripped his tail with all my might.  He thrashed and tossed me around.  If he slipped from my grip there would be no pictures.  But I held on and this fish will go down as the miracle on the last cast.  A cast that never would have happened had I given up!

 

blog-Aug-3-2013-9-Jeff-Currier-Fly-Fishing-for-Golden-DoradoIt was a celebratory boat ride to the landing strip.  I chugged a Pacena Beer and we talked about the extraordinary episode the whole way.  I was soaked, muddy and stunk of dorado for the plane ride but I never noticed.  I not only caught the biggest dorado of my life but also one of the top fish of my life because I was fishing on complete bonus time.

 

That’s a rap on Bolivia.  What a great ending.  I’ll get home late tonight only to grab my camping gear and head to the Gros Ventre with Granny and the family tomorrow.  Stay tuned and “Never ever ever give up . . . .!”

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing for Golden Dorado

 

August 2, 2013

blog-Aug-2-2013-1-Golden-DoradoThe last day on any great trip entails some anxiety, especially when I don’t feel like I’ve met my goals.  This last day in Bolivia had me thinking more than usual because this could be the last day fishing in Bolivia of my life. Would I ever have another chance for a pacu?  A big dorado?  It’s a sad thought, but today may have been it.

 

blog-Aug-2-2013-2-Guide-Chucky-in-BoliviaTom and I headed for a long eight mile hike to the Upper Pluma River with legendary Amazon guide, Chucky.  I met Chucky in the Brazilian Amazon in February.  We didn’t have much time to meet as you may remember the plane crash that day, but Chucky told me one thing, “When you come to Bolivia in August it will blow your mind Jeff!”  I hadn’t forgotten.

 

Chucky may perhaps be the best guide here.  Not to take away anything from the others, but Chucky and I fish the same.  He has gut feelings about where to cast, when to cast and if fish are around even when you don’t see one.  Chucky is good.

 

Chucky was also fully aware of my personal goals.  The guides know what’s been caught and who’s caught it.  And Chucky was as determined as I to get me both my first pacu and a larger than 10lb golden dorado.

 

blog-Aug-2-2013-3-Hiking-in-BoliviaChucky, Tom and I walked up the Pluma River for four miles.  It took us almost three hours due to the terrain.  The rocks are brutal on the feet, river crossings are slippery, you must be careful with shortcuts through the jungle and also it’s hot.  The cold front from the start of the trip is long gone and days are humid and in the 90ºs.

 

blog-Aug-2-2013-4-Upper-Pluma-River-BoliviaAt 11 AM we were there, a half mile above Camp 1, another option for fishing when staying with Tsimane Lodges.  We had a mere four hours to fish before the long walk out.  Like everywhere we’ve been this week the place was stunningly gorgeous.

 

blog-Aug-2-2013-5-Tom-Hansen-golden-dorado-fishingIt turns out the plan was good.  On the first run I fished I landed a stout 10lb dorado and so did Tom.  Tom also landed a couple 5lbers and jumped a large fish.  At the time he jumped his pig I was tossing to a rock wall in hopes of a pacu from one of Chucky’s pacu places and heard the splash.  The fish sounded huge but unfortunately he came off.  After that I put down my rod and set up my camera.  Then I followed Tom and Chucky to the next pool.  Tom made one cast and jumped another nice fish and I got this really cool photo.

 

blog-Aug-2-2013-5a-Tom-Hansen-Fly-Fishing-in-BoliviaI followed Tom with my camera for two more pools and he caught another great dorado.  Then Chucky informed me the last pool was for me.  We were five miles from the Lodge and we were about to head back.  This was my last chance for a big dorado.  I started to pack up my camera but then something hit me.  Why put it away if I’m going to need it in a second?  I turned the dial to the face like preparing for a hero shot and stepped up to the pool with my 9-weight Ross RX.

 

blog-Aug-2-2013-6-Jeff-Curier-golden-dorado-fishingI made several cast to good looking places but nothing.  There was one really good looking place however against the far bank.  There was a rock and in front of it a deep trough started – always ideal for any fish.  I ripped off a few extra feet of fly line and landed my fly a few feet above the rock.  I let the fly sink as it approached then started stripping fast.  Not one, but two large dorado came charging.  When a big dorado is hot for your fly its hard to screw up let alone when there are two.  A second later I had a teen sized dorado bouncing all over the place.  Moments later I was hoisting my biggest dorado of the trip.

 

As always the walk out was far longer and harder than the walk in.  During the walk my mind was spinning.  Was I really happy with my best dorado of the trip?  Indeed it was a nice fish and only someone very spoiled would fret.  But again, was this trip my best chance at a big dorado or a pacu on fly?

 

I can’t look back and no one can look into the future.  I’ve now fished in Bolivia, caught a handful of incredible fish and best of all made some new friends while spending time with old ones I haven’t seen in awhile.  This was an incredible trip.

 

Tomorrow begins the long journey home.  At the moment we are scheduled to leave here at 10:30 AM.  It gets light at 6.  Does that leave me an hour of fishing before I pack up?  I’m presently drinking good red wine with the staff so it looks unlikely, but you never know.  We’ll see tomorrow.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing the Lower Pluma River of Bolivia

August 1, 2013

blog-Aug-1-2013-1-Golden-Dorado-BoliviaYesterdays’ beating on the Itirizama River was far behind me when I awoke today.  I was feeling extremely confident for fishing on the Lower Pluma River.  Our guide was Carlos.  To our advantage, Carlos was on this very water with Skip yesterday and knew where the golden dorado were.

 

blog-Aug-1-2013-2-Pluma-River-BolivaThe Lower Pluma River is twice the size of Itirizama River.  The beautiful river consists of cascading rapids followed by long slow moving bottomless pools.  And the Pluma has a tinge of color to it making it far more forgiving when landing a cast near spooky dorado.

 

blog-Aug-1-2013-3-Freshwater-doradoEach guide we’ve had here at the Tsimane Lodges has a slightly different strategy for dorado.  I love it because I’m learning a variety of techniques.  For example, Carlos is a big fan of pounding away at the shallow rapids, an area we really haven’t concentrated on much this week.  Sure enough on the second run I connected on a voracious strike and landed this healthy 10lber.  This fish came from a spot that I most likely would have passed up had I been on my own – I learned something.

 

blog-Aug-1-2013-4-sabalo-hunting-BoliviaLast week while on the Secure River I showed a picture of a kid shooting arrows for sábalo (everything eats sábalo).  Hunting sábalo is the thing to do if you live here.  Anytime we’re near a village we see the locals hunting these plentiful fish.  Till now I’d only seen one person actually kill a sábalo.  That changed today.  The locals controlling our boat for Carlos were absolute marksman.  I watched the kid in the front of our dugout nail three sábalos in a row!

 

Despite the quick start, the dorado action never heated up.  Tom caught one fish all day.  I lucked into seven.  Most were small dorado from 2-5lbs.  The big boys simply weren’t showing themselves.  That’s when I made a drastic fly change.  The reason for my fly change is that the guides almost always recommend dark flies.  Always black and something, but mostly black.  I put on a worldwide big fish favorite of mine, a chartreuse Warpath Jig Fly, something these fish have never seen.  The look on Carlos face was not the look of approval.  I went with my gut anyway.

 

blog-Aug-1-2013-5-Jeff-Currier-Fly-Fishing-the-Pluma-River-BoliviaI fished the fly wildly.  I didn’t just let it swing through the fast water while stripping; instead I jumped my rod tip up and down, sort of jigging it.  I ended up sticking a couple more smallish dorado and then landed this second double digit dorado of the day.

 

The highlight of the day was causing extreme carnage.  I made a long cast across a deep pool with a black and red Warpath Fly.  I made half a strip and hooked a small dorado.  I’m not after small ones so like he was a 12” cutthroat on the Snake, I stripped him back rapidly.  As he skipped across the surface a larger dorado smashed him from below.  All I saw was a large flash of gold and the toothy jaws chewing on my fish.  That’s when a MONSTER dorado leaped three feet out, turned in mid air and angled downward landing his jaws around my dorado.  Normally this would result in a quick break off or at least loss of your fish.  Not this time.  I gave a few feet of slack and when I came tight I strip set like hooking a sailfish.  The big boy was on!

 

blog-Aug-1-2013-6-Golden-dorado-carnage-in-the-AmazonIt’s rare, but evidently there was enough hook sticking out of the small dorado to sink into the big dorado.  The beast leaped four times putting on a gill rattling dorado flinging freak show.  It was an awesome sight.  I thought for sure I had them both on one hook, but after the fourth of these wild jumps the 20lb plus (yes – over 20lbs!) dorado got loose.  The little guy remained hooked and I dragged him in.  Indeed sad, the eye hanging out, the body ripped apart, but its life in the Amazon.

 

blog-Aug-1-2013-7-fly-fishing-for-golden-dorado-BoliviaToday was by no means what fly fishing in Bolivia is famous for but I lucked into some decent action.  I won’t lie; I needed a day like today.  Tomorrow is our last day and I’m still lacking two of my goals for this trip, land a big dorado or a pacu.  One or the other and I’ll consider this trip a huge success.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing the Itirizama River of Bolivia

July 31, 2013

 

blog-July-31-2013-1-Tom-Hansen-fly-fishing-in-BoliviaToday was Day 1 fishing from the Pluma Lodge.  We mixed up fishing partners and Skip, who I fished with the first three days, moved over with Dale and me with Tom Hansen.  It was Tom that initiated bringing me on this trip and we’ve been looking forward to fishing together here in Bolivia for more than a year.

 

blog-July-31-2013-2-Jeff-Currier-and-Tom-HansenTom and I drew what is considered the riskiest of the four available Beats, the Itirizama River.  The Itirizama River is known as the river of feast or famine.  The New Zealand looking stream is small and clear and full of resident golden dorado rather than migratory dorado.  They’re far trickier to catch because they’ve seen flies before.  Furthermore, the river is the lowest and clearest it’s been in recent memory.  The last time it was fished was a week ago and results were grim.

 

blog-July-31-2013-3-Fly-fishing-BoliviaMost of the fishing done from Pluma Lodge is by wading.  Locals follow you in a dug out canoe carrying your stuff and a cooler of food and drinks.  Usually they’re in the dug out polling along but water levels are so low that they were out dragging the dug outs most of the time.  Our work is just as tough hiking over slippery rocks all day long.

 

blog-July-31-2013-4-fly-fishing-for-doradoThere’s also an English speaking guide.  Most of the guides are from Argentina and spend their summers guiding in Patagonia.  Our excellent guide today was Emiliano whom I have posing here with the largest sabalo I’ve ever seen.  Sabalo are the main food for dorado.  I want to catch the dorado that can eat this one!

 

blog-July-31-2013-5-Fly-Fishing-in-BoliviaTo describe our day on the Itirizama as difficult would be speaking lightly.  From the very first cast to the last the dorado spent most of the day fleeing ahead of us.  At our first stop Emiliano pointed out four big dorado while perched from a massive rock.  I crawled into position and when I raised my rod four other dorado we didn’t see rocketed upstream spooking every other fish along the way including some pacu.

 

blog-July-31-2013-6-Lunch-in-BoliviaSpeaking of pacu, once we acknowledged the dorado as next to impossible to catch, I focused on pacu.  Emiliano knew of some reliable holding spots for pacu.  We got a few glimpses of them but for the most part I was casting blind to the areas.  The method we used for the normally fruit eating fish was to sink a small streamer next to the rocks and let it virtually dead drift.  Its tedious fishing and quite frankly you don’t do it with tons of confidence.  Lo and behold, at our lunch spot I hooked up.  Although not ferocious like the take of a dorado, it was solid grab and for ten seconds I felt power like you rarely experience in freshwater.  Then just like that he was gone.  I was left enormously disappointed from yet another pacu.

 

blog-July-31-2013-7-Tom-Hansen-tough-wading-in-BoliviaTom and I each landed one small dorado.  Results from the rest of the group weren’t incredible like Bolivia is famous for but the other beats produced a few fish and some quality ones.  Dale landed and 18lb dorado and Skip a 20lb and of course, a pacu he caught while blind casting to a dorado spot.   The fish are here, Tom and I apparently need one of the more forgiving beats.

 

blog-July-31-2013-8-fly-fishing-in-BoliviaDespite our tough fishing, seeing one of Bolivia’s most classic rivers, the Itirizama River was a treat.  Of all the places I’ve fished, this one ranks as another of the most scenic.  Tom and I saw a lot of it also.  We looked at the map on Google Earth tonight with some of the guides and we hiked and waded more than eight rugged miles.  No wonder my hips and knees are shot.

 

Tomorrow it’s the lower Pluma River.  This is where Skip landed his 20lb dorado and pacu today.  Unfortunately Eric, another of our group was skunked here so who knows.  The guides and lodge manager are claiming this is the toughest fishing they’ve experienced since they opened the lodge – lucky us.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

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