Archive | 2017

2017 In Review

2017 was a heck of a year.  It started with nearly 75 straight days of show life.  Nine years ago, when I switched my career to fulltime art and speaking professionally about fly fishing, I wasn’t sure it would work.  But it most definitely has.  This year I gave more than 40 seminars throughout the US and continue to do my art when home.

 

The travel was far from all work.  After the winter show season ended the world travel schedule fired up.  This year I fished in seven countries.  In April I went to St Brandon’s Atoll which belongs to the country of Mauritius.  Mauritius is an island nation located in the southern Indian Ocean as far from Victor, Idaho as you can travel.  I went with a couple friends from home and met up with my South African friends.  Mauritius celebrated my 60th country fished and I added three new species to my list.

 

The other countries fished were Mexico, Portugal, Bahamas, Canada, Costa Rica and Belize.  The Bahamas became my 61st country fished.  Each adventure had highlights but the standouts were:

 

In Portugal I played a role helping the USA Masters Fly Fishing Team to its first ever World Championship Medal.

 

On our Yellow Dog Ambassadors trip to the Bahamas I landed my biggest permit.

 

The most amazing experience of the year involved a polar bear and some oversize char in the Arctic of Ungava Bay in Nunavik.

 

I fished extensively throughout the US.  Granny and I had great fishing at home in Idaho that included my Henry’s Fork Marathon and some superb Blackfoot Reservoir carping.  And we never miss our annual overnight float on the Nunya.  We also enjoyed our annual smallmouth trip to New Hampshire and added a bonus trip in November for the monster redfish of the Louisiana marsh.

 

I made two trips back to Wisconsin – one on the ice and the second was my first trip troutfishing the Driftless area.  There was August on the Manistee in Michigan.  A speaking engagement at the Fly Fishers Club in Oregon led to some epic chinook salmon on the fly.  There was my weekend in Pennsylvania with Joe Humphries and Jerry Arnold.  And last but not least, in November I spoke in Texas and in turn caught my first ever, smallmouth buffalo.  2017 ends with nine new species for my list.

 

While 2017 was one of my best years ever there’s no reason not to believe 2018 could be even better.  I’m an angler.  An optimist.  And I always aim big!

 

I look forward to the 2018 winter speaking tour and lots of great fishing days.  Hopefully there will be visits to new places and if there’s one major goal on my mind – its catch the yellow permit on my return trip to St. Brandon’s in May!

 

Thanks everyone for following the blog.  And thanks to my fantastic sponsors that make my life possible.

R.L. Winston RodsYellow Dog FlyfishingYetiSimmsBauer Fly ReelsScientific AnglersCosta SunglassesKate’s Real Food

Will I ever get a beer sponsor?!?!!!!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Permit Win Again

My return to Belize has been great.  I enjoy spending time with friend Wil Flack and it’s been a pleasure meeting his friend Tayler Brothers.  Wil’s new Belize Permit Club is fantastic.  We’ve been eating well.  Enjoying refreshments at night.  The only downer is that the permit fishing has been arduous.

 

Wil Flack and I have been chasing permit and nothing else.  This little blue runner stole the fly from a permit on the third day but he’s been the only fish in the boat.  With the exception of yesterday, conditions overall have been the toughest I’ve ever experienced on the flats thanks to cloud cover, 50° temps and steady 25 mph winds.  Toss in how sick I was the first three days and yikes!

 

There’s been no backing down.  Wil has poled the flats ten hours a day through the wind and I’ve bounced and balanced from the bow.  Neither of us has let our guard down for even a minute.  It’s a crushing shame I’ve had four permit on and lost them all.  It’s very unusual for me to be beaten so badly by a fish but welcome to permit.

 

Tayler Brothers Photo

We made a long run north to new flats today.  Wil wanted to fish here all week but the wind didn’t allow for it.  This morning was dead calm.  You might think of this as an advantage but unfortunately permit gain the edge yet again.  In saltwater fly fishing its windy most of the time.  When it’s calm, flats fish, especially permit become wearier than ever.

 

Tayler Brothers Photo

Honestly, regardless of our new disadvantage, I welcomed the calm day.  My ears have been ringing from the gales of December all week.  And when you looked across the flats it was stunningly beautiful.  Best of all we could also see a few permit swimming from a mile away.

 

Tayler Brothers Photo

The permit were spread out in groups of two.  The closest two were whirling with their fins and backs out of the water.  Their dorsal fins weren’t straight up like when feeding and their tails didn’t tip.  Like yesterday they looked tired and full.  Nonetheless, we snuck up on them and I got a two good cast to them but there was no interest at all.

 

Tayler Brothers Photo

The lack of interest from the permit continued through the dead calm hours.  We saw quite a few but they either spooked quick as expected or they ignored the fly.  At lunch time we received a gift from the fish gods, light wind – perfect flats fishing conditions.

 

We pretty much stopped eating when the breeze started.  Not only did we want to capitalize but we also saw a line of clouds on the way.  As we hoped we found more permit.  Most weren’t impressed with our flies but there was one.  I got one more chance.  A decent sized permit followed and then surged for the fly and pinned it on bottom.  I strip set hard, felt a tick but he wasn’t on.  No doubt he felt me though because he spooked off like he knew.

 

Why not one last heart breaker?  Its permit fishing.  Soon after, the wall of clouds moved in and the dead calm returned.  In a sick way it was beautiful.  But our permit fishing trip was over.

 

 

 

We returned to the Belize Permit Club before dark for the first time in a few days.  We popped some Belikins and I broke out the sharpies and drew on Wils beer fridge.  It’s a permit about to eat Wil and me – par for the course!

 

After a few beers Wil and his gal took us out to their favorite bar and restaurant, Loggerhead.  I had my first ever hamburger that was stuffed with macaroni.  It may not sound good, but with a few more Belikins it was delicious.

 

Getting your butt kicked fishing builds character.  I don’t like it but I’ll live.  Tomorrow it’s the long flight home and I’m happy to say I’ll be home until January 4th when I leave for the Denver Fly Fishing Show.

 

Merry Christmas everybody and thanks for reading the blog!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Broken By Permit

 

Matt McCormick photo

Wil Flack, Tayler Brothers and I had high hopes heading for the permit flats of Southern Belize at twilight this morning.  We hooked three yesterday in harsh conditions.  Today conditions were excellent.  This was our warmest morning, the clouds were gone, and the wind blew at a 10-15 mph – a mere breeze for this week.  But despite everything being textbook, no matter how you look at it, we’re still fly fishing for permit.

 

Tayler Brothers Photo

The first thing to go wrong happened about 3 ½ minutes into our day.  It was no more than 6 am.  The sun was a half hour from rising.  Wil cut the engine to his tricked out fly fishing panga and began easing us onto the first flat.  The only way to spot a fish at this time is to see a protruding tail.

 

Tayler Brothers Photo

I was dillydallying.  A sip of coffee.  A stretch.  A slow reach for my Winston.  I was utterly unready when Wil shouted, “Cast!”

 

I ripped line off my Bauer Reel and spotted several glistening permit tails.  Somehow my short cast was on the money and the nearest permit devoured the fly when it hit the water.  I strip set and hooked him but perhaps I lifted my rod too soon.  A second later the permit was off and he zipped across the flat taking every other tailing permit with him.  A heap of hungry permit gone to start the day.  Dreadful.

 

This immediate hook up was like catching a monster trout at the boat launch in Idaho as you begin a long 12-hour float.  It’s a jinx.  A way to be sure the rest of your day stinks.  And this is exactly what happened.

 

Jim Klug Photo

Perhaps it was the start of the falling tide but after our first cast at 6 am we didn’t get another cast until 11 am.  This is when we found a big permit slowly swimming (more like drifting) across a flat.  It was as if he was sunning himself while sleeping.  We got several good cast and put the fly in his face with absolutely no reaction.

 

We cast to several fish like this into early afternoon.  It wasn’t till late that we started seeing more permit and several schools.  We got some follows but no aggression towards the fly whatsoever.  We simply had schools of sleepy permit.  I think we were the only creature hungry.

 

4 pm arrived and our fifth day in a row without catching a permit came to an end.  Unreal.  Today was one of my toughest days of fishing of 2017. I’d have bet the world that today we’d land two permit and instead we could hardly get any to follow the fly.

 

All you can do is take a deep breath and laugh.  Shooting yourself definitely won’t help.  At least we finally enjoyed some great weather.  I’ll wish for such a day next week when I’m freezing in my house getting ready for show season.  Tomorrow is our last day.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Three Hungry Permit in Belize

There were a couple changes when we woke up at 4 AM today here in Belize.  First and foremost, I felt much better.  Thank God!  Second, when we left Belize Permit Camp dock at 4:30 am, instead of the temperature being in the 50°s like each morning so far, it was 66°.

 

Skies remained hidden beyond a thick layer of clouds and the wind still blew from the north at around 20 mph.  But the rise in temperature was key.  Immediately we saw permit and at 8 am I dropped my fly a foot from a hefty waving permit tail.  Like magic the permit seized my fly but in less than ten seconds of his run, he severed my leader on coral.  Wil Flack reached into his Yeti and handed me an early morning Belikin while I examined my leader and announced, “Progress in the right direction”.

 

We expected good things to continue but the tailing permit chances disappeared.  The only permit we saw were cruisers underwater.  The wind howled and the clouds remained dense.  Sight fishing was a challenge.  Instead of spotting these permit 100 feet out allowing me a chance to cast, we were continuously ambushed at close range – spotting them and spooking them at the same time.  But in permit fishing you keep trying and eventually we got lucky.

 

Wil spotted three big permit 30 feet away and they were oblivious to us.  I saw the permit as Wil pointed them out.  I made the short cast and the largest of the three fish lifted from the bottom.

 

Every so often a fish paints an everlasting impression.  This permit rose to the crab fly like a trout rising to a stonefly.  I could see right down this permits crab-crushing throat.  I set the hook and cleared my line as it sizzled from the deck.

 

Tayler Brothers Photo

Chaos is the best way to describe a hook up with a big permit.  The most dangerous hurdle is clearing loose fly line.  So many times line jumps from the deck and raps on something.  This could be your own feet but most often it’s the butt of the fly rod.  But we survived step one.  In seconds I was deep in the backing and Wil was poling after the permit like an Olympian.

 

While we survived the first dangers of the permit fishing process, now we had to land him by avoiding all the obstacles along the way.  Permit are one of the hardest fighting fish in the sea.  Things seemed well this round.  This permit ran off the flat away from the dangers of jagged coral.  Cheers from Wil and Tayler filled the air.  But I saw a bad development.  This clever permit was making an about face back to the flat.  Back to the coral heads.

 

The permits change of direction forced me to reel like wildfire.  I gained back my backing and once I was straight to the fish again I could see his plan.  He’d run directly through a coral field.  I eased my tension and Wil put down his pole and fired up the engine.  We raced to the scene.

 

The permit was well past this coral and still on.  I flipped my fly line loose of the coral.  I’m sure it was nicked up but my leader must not have touched.  We were lucky, but then the permit, who was now in backing again raged through the next group of corals.  This time he got me.  My line went limp.  “****!”, echoed through the boat.

 

Me and the boys were feeling bleak after that one but agreed, the permit were hungry and there was no time to waste.  It was after 3 pm and our boat rides home had been bad enough this week with the high wind.  We didn’t need to try it after dark.

 

Tayler Brothers Photo

Wil thought it was safe if we left for home at 4.  The problem however, we found a school of tailing permit at 3:55.  Like any sane anglers we ignored the time and went to work.

 

One permit lost is tolerable.  But two in one day?  The reality hurt.  But it could all be forgotten with a miracle here.  These permit were patient.  I got a dozen casts right too them without them spooking.  The tails would go down for a couple minutes but back up they would come and we’d track them down.  At 4:30 I connected!

 

Tayler Brothers Photo

There was coral everywhere.  Things didn’t look good.  The best attack when you hook up around coral is don’t apply too much pressure and hold your rod high.  I had my Winston so high in the air I was on my tippy toes.  It worked!

 

A hectic three minutes of battle went on and this permit zipped away from the coral and headed for the ocean.  Like twice earlier today, we cheered.  I was near my backing and this permit was straight down below the boat in 70 feet of water.  I had my work cut out but I was eager to begin the tug a war.

 

This was a big permit and I took my time.  I reeled my rod tip to the water and lifted a foot at a time.  Five more minutes went by when the horror happened.  The fly came loose.

 

There’s few words to describe the feeling of the hook pulling from a permit.  Frustrating.  Maddening.  Infuriating.  But there are no words for losing your third of the day.  Needles to say, it was a long boat ride home.

 

We’ll be back at it tomorrow.  Hours later I’ve excepted todays bad luck.  But I’m confident for tomorrow.  Rumor has it the sun will finally appear.  We should see plenty more permit.  And now I know I can get them to eat.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Misery on the Flats

It was a sunny day on the flats of Belize yesterday but the wind was savage.  The forecast for today was promising.  More sun and finally a drop in the wind to a more workable 10 to 20 mph.  But the prediction was wrong.  We had cruel conditions of thick clouds, 55° temps, 25 mph wind and rogue rolling waves over the flats from our departure at 4:30 AM till our return at 6.

 

Just to make things worse, the crud I picked up is miserable.  There’s aches, fever, cough, running nose and the list goes on.  I was dying.  But permit fishing is a team effort.  The boys picked me up.  Wil Flack poled his butt off despite the brutal polling conditions and Taylor Brothers, who I’ll remind you is here to film promotional stuff for Wil and his new, Belize Permit Club, stayed on point with his camera.

 

I did my best, watching for permit while clutching my Winston from the front of the boat.  I had more clothes on than ever before on a flats fishing trip.  Remarkably we cast to three tailing permit in the first hour.  Two of these I fed nicely but they refused.  The third I landed my crab fly on his head and he spooked.  We didn’t see another permit for five hours and we lost sight of him before getting a chance.  Frustrating.

 

At the end of the day I got my best shot of the trip.  Wil spotted a huge permit over 20lbs cruising over a sand flat.  The big round fish was speeding and my only shot was a long now or never cast.  The wind was behind me so I was able to cast 80 feet.  The fly landed ahead the massive fish by about 5ft.  Normally not close enough but because this fish was moving it was perfect.

 

Wil had me fishing a shrimp pattern and I stripped immediately.  The permit turned and followed.  My heart dropped and Wil began instruction on how to strip, “Strip it. Strip it.  Long.  Stop.  Strip it.  Stop.  Let it sink. Strip it”.  Its intense – believe me!

 

There were at least a couple times when it looked as if this permit was eating my fly.  His lips couldn’t have been more than inches away.  But I never felt anything.  Thrillingly, the permit followed all the way to the boat then saw us and spooked.  Invigorating, but not a happy ending to the day.

 

Permit fishing can be torturous at times – most of the time in fact.  The weather is hurting us bad.  Being sick as a dog makes this more of a struggle.  At least I’m with friends and the three of us are determined to make this happen.  It was a long ride home over rough seas.  Too rough to even enjoy a Belikin Beer during the ride!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Beanie in Belize

Todays blog starts with a travel tip.  In the northern hemisphere, even in tropical destinations, December is December.  Its winter and it can get far colder than you may expect.  At midnight I turned the fan off over my bed here at the Belize Permit Club.  At 2 AM I added a blanket.  And at 3 AM I wished I had another because I’m already sick.

 

At 4 AM when it was time to head for the flats it was 55°.  One of the coldest days in Belize in years.  The last item I tossed in my bag were my Simms bibs.  I typically use them in cold drizzle back home when I’m bass fishing.  Thank god I brought them.  In fact, as Wil Flack, Taylor Brothers and I made the crossing from the mouth of the Sittee River to the flats it was so cold I found myself wearing the Simms Beanie I wear skiing back home!

 

Regardless of the cold today was a far kinder day than yesterday.  The sun was out and as we fished we could see the mountains of Belize.  The visibility for spotting fish on the flats was excellent.  The only negative was another day of extreme wind.  Yesterday blew between 25 and 30 mph.  Today was less but still over 20 much of the day.

 

This week is a full-on fly fish for permit trip.  I’ve caught a few permit over the years.  Most recently this one from Grand Bahama in July.  But I’m not a dedicated permit guy.  However, part of the reason I jumped on this last-minute trip is because Wil is a hardcore permit angler and taken well over 100.  No doubt – this week I’m going to learn more about chasing permit on the fly.

 

I wish I could tell you we caught one today.  If you count the number of permit we saw, alone, in pairs and schools we saw about 30.  I can’t recall seeing so many in a day.  I was psyched.  Wil on the other hand said it was fair at best.  Furthermore, likely because of the extreme cold front, the at least ten good presentations I made were ignored.

 

The forecast gets better by the day as our week continues.  If we start seeing more than 30 a day and get more than ten chances in a day, we should stick one.  Tonight was dogs on the grill.  Not only was the weather Idaho-like, so was my usual Idaho fishing and camping food!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Belize Permit Club

Today was a challenging day of permit fishing.  It started with Wil Flack waking us up at 4 AM.  It rained all night and it was drizzling as we made coffee.  I was basically in a coma.  4 AM here is like 2 AM in Idaho and for the last ten days or so I’ve felt as though I was fighting a cold.  Naturally, because I’m on a fishing trip in Belize, it kicked in overnight and I awoke with the full-on crud with a sore throat, congestion and an aching body.

 

It takes death to keep me off the water so I drank the coffee and grabbed my Winston and rain gear and followed Wil down to his dock by headlamp.  Along with us was Taylor Brothers, a friend of Wil’s that is here to film Wil guide me into a permit to use to help promote his new lodge, Belize Permit Club, along with some Instagram live stuff for Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures.

 

Wil, a Canadian, first came to Belize in 1999.  He fished out of San Pedro, Ambergris Cay and loved that trip so much he spent the next ten winters there enjoying the fishing.  In 2011 Wil bought the Tres Pescados Fly Shop in Ambergris and hasn’t looked back since.

 

Wil fished extensively throughout Belize over the years and fell in love with the waters in the south and developed a true passion for chasing permit.  In 2016 Wil began guiding and opened the Belize Permit Club.

 

I haven’t fished southern Belize in 25 years and this is my first time to Wil’s.  Today was a tough first round by not only feeling lousy from the crud but also having to endure some of the worst weather I’ve ever experienced in the tropics.  We suffered through cold (60°), 25-30 mph wind and rain – all which are a recipe for big waves.  We caught zero permit and had a torturous and somewhat hair-raising boat ride from the outer flats back to the Sittee River where the Belize Permit Club is located.

 

We just finished a great dinner.  I can hardly keep my eyes open and unfortunately sicker than when I woke up.  All I can say is 4 AM tomorrow is likely to come way to fast.  But it will come and I will fish for permit again!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Arrival in Belize

I made it to Belize today by the skin of my teeth.  I’m a Delta guy which means getting to Belize flies me through Atlanta.  It was snowing!  We were delayed more than an hour but that was because we needed to be deiced before takeoff and as you can imagine, that’s not normal for Atlanta.  We made it nonetheless.

 

I used to come to Belize frequently back in the late 1980’s and early 90’s.  I came on my own then began hosting trips through Belize River Lodge and Turneffe Flats Lodge.  I made more than a dozen trips.  The fishing is so good I’m surprised I ever stopped but curiosity to see the world took over.  But Belize will always be the travel sparkplug for me.  Here’s a monster snapper on the popper from 1991.

 

My last trip here was in 2012 with Granny.  We returned to Belize River Lodge and caught up with old friends and new guides.  It was a great trip and Granny landed her first tarpon over 100lbs.

 

 

 

 

 

This trip I’m on new turf.  The last-minute invitation came from fellow Yellow Dog Ambassador and friend Wil Flack.  Wil is the founder and owner of the Belize Permit Club.  We are way down south near Hopkins Belize.  The reason for the short notice plan is that Wil has a friend willing to do some filming for him that he can use in his advertising and etc.  I’m just the lucky guy that gets to fish!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Back to Belize

A week ago I was sitting at mom’s house in New Hampshire packing my things to return home for the first time since early November.  I was looking forward to a month in Victor, Idaho before show season starts.  Then my phone rang.  It was fellow Yellow Dog Ambassador and owner of Tres Pescados Fly Shop in Belize, Wil Flack, “Currier”, I need you in the bow of my skiff next week for a permit shoot.  I’ll split your airfare and once here it’s not gonna cost you anything.  Just be in Belize City on Friday”.

 

The call caught me completely off guard and I thought there was no way.  I need to work.  I need to update my presentations for the Fly Fishing Shows.  I have Cliff boxes to draw on for Christmas orders.  I have projects around the house.  Then Granny smacked me and said, “A free permit trip?  A chance to get out of freezing cold dark and dreary Idaho in December?  Are you out of your mind?”

 

What are good wives for?  I lit up my computer and bought my plane ticket.  After five straight 18 hour work days at home, I’m presently in route and will arrive in Belize City at noon tomorrow.  Let the games begin!

 

In the meantime my fish art products will ship as usual and there’s plenty of time before Christmas to please the angler in your family that has everything.  You can shop online and purchase my famous coffee mugs and beer steins.  And there are no better stocking stuffers then my new waterproof fish decals!

 

To get continuous updates on new products, news, travel and new species caught, “Like” my business page on Facebook, Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing.  My regular page no longer allows me to accept new friends.

I will be signing books and DVD’s, drawing, mingling and catching up with friends at the WorldCast Anglers Open House Christmas Party at the shop in Victor on December 21st from 5 PM till 8 PM – be there!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Vacation in New England

After our superb redfishing down in Louisiana, instead of going home Granny and I went to New England for two weeks to visit my family.  We based out of Moms house in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.  The weather was incredible with sunshine and temperatures in the 40°s and 50°s for most of the trip.  I think the weather was better than when we visited last May.

 

Most of the fishing in the area is closed now including Lake Winnipesaukee.  I packed a 6-weight just in cast but for the most part I hiked with my nephew and nieces in my free time.  We had a blast and the kids helped keep me in shape while on vacation.  We climbed a couple of mountains and enjoyed the incredible lake views.  But hands down, our top experience was walking into a sizeable black bear and her two cubs.  Things could’ve gotten dicey but luckily, she and her cubs bolted the other direction.

 

Midway through the trip Granny and I rented a car and drove up the Maine coast for a couple days.  We had intentions of going far but traffic along the Route 1 was surprisingly busy for this time of year.  Perhaps it was the good weather.  We did some hikes but mostly ate too much seafood!

 

Our Maine highlight was a windless 55° day out of Rockland.  We stayed at the reasonable Rockland Harbor Hotel overlooking the ocean.  Out in the bay is a jetty where you can walk a mile out on to a picturesque lighthouse.  Normal late November weather doesn’t allow such a jaunt but we were literally sweating.  We saw loons, king eiders and a curious seal.

 

The last few days we spent back in Wolfeboro.  The Thanksgiving celebrations were long over so I worked, ran, hiked and actually canoed Lake Winnipesaukee.  It wasn’t exactly warm on the lake but to have such a magnificent large lake all to yourself made it more than worth it.

 

One of my work projects was drawing on Cliff Fly boxes.  Here is a striped bass and a false albacore.  Both of these are already sold but I can do more.  Contact me to place and order.  And of course, there’s still plenty of time till Christmas so you can order my fish coffee mugs, beer steins and decals online!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

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