Archive | January, 2018

The Marlboro Fly Fishing Show 2018

I’m a third of the way through what I call the, “100 Days of Insanity”.  From around December 1 till April 1 I work almost every day focusing on my shows and speaking tour.  Its constant travel with long drives, planes and hotels to deliver fly fishing seminars, casting demos and speeches (of course a tiny bit of fishing).  It’s the preparation that goes into my talks and seminars that’s the most work.  But it’s a small price to pay for all the great fishing I get to enjoy the rest of the year.  To be honest, I love meeting folks and entertaining so the “100 Days of Insanity” should actually be called “Winter of Fun”!

 

This Friday through Sunday, January 19-21, I’ll be at the Marlboro, MA Fly Fishing Show.  I’ll be giving a wide range of presentations and casting demonstrations.  When not speaking I’ll be at my booth with my fish coffee mugs, beer steins, prints, decals and likely decorating a fly box with my art.  Be sure to stop by and say hello!

 

Here’s my schedule for the weekend:

 

Friday

11:00 – Casting Pond – “Casting in the Wind and the Double Haul”

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

4:30 – Authors Booth

Saturday

10:00 – Casting Pond – “Fly Casting 101”

11:00 – Authors Booth

3:30 – Catch Room – “Streamer Tactics for more and Larger Trout”

Sunday

2:00 – Authors Booth

2:45 – Catch Room – “Fly Fishing Saltwater – Bonefish to Billfish”

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

First Fish of 2018 Well Worth the Wait

My last six fishing days of 2017 ended in skunks and yesterday, the first day of 2018, started with a skunk.  Today I had to get on track.  Steve Berry, Gentry Smith and I headed to some urban Phoenix ponds where we always catch fish.

 

Photo by Gentry Smith

The last time I fished here was in 2014.  Steve and I along with other longtime Arizona friend, Cinda Howard, crushed this place catching koi, common carp and grass carp in the same day.  But it was immediately obvious that today would be different.

 

On Tuesday before I got to Phoenix they experienced rain and a cold front.  The waters of these ponds were chilly.  So cold that many of our hot weather loving carps were lethargic and some of the resident tilapia actually froze to death.

 

The conditions didn’t keep us from trying.  There were a few koi and common carp lingering.  I tried various nymphs.  But I nor Gentry could convince any of the slow-moving fish to eat.

 

 

 

 

Steve on the other hand managed to fool a few.  He stuck a koi which slipped off before I got a photo and he caught a couple small common carp.  Steve had the perfect combination of the right fly (some egg looking thing) and a knack for hardly moving his fly.

 

By midafternoon things had slowed even for Steve.  I was pulling my hair out.  I couldn’t catch a fish.  We were hungry so Steve suggested we hit a drive through and move to another place he and Gentry had heard of but never fished.  I hated the thought of a new place this late in the day.  What if the new place was a bust?  It would be my eighth skunk in a row.  But the boys were eager to see the new canal so off we went.

 

Traffic slowed us and we didn’t get to the new spot until 3.  This canal was wide and shallow.  The water was clear and at the start we saw no fish.  We walked a half mile and just as we were about to give up a lone grass carp of about 20lbs cruised by.  Though I made a cast this was not a feeding fish and he fled when my hopper hit the water.

 

We walked further and the water got deeper.  Then there they were.  A few oversized koi, grass carp and plenty of common carp.  This was my last chance.  The January sun was lowering fast.  The clock was ticking so I tied on a secret crayfish pattern that’s bailed me out on a tough day of fly fishing for carp more than once.

 

An hour went by.  In spite of all the carp around it became quickly apparent they weren’t feeding.  Undoubtedly these carp also were affected by the colder than normal water temperature.  My eighth skunk in a row seemed very real.  It was a crushing thought that I couldn’t get out of my head.  But then it happened.  Thanks to my never-ending determination, I hooked up!

 

The way the eat occurred was I saw a school of common carp raise from the bottom.  I could see more than their backs.  I could see their eyes clearly.  Rather than pick one individual, I cast in front of the entire school and began stripping my crayfish.  They followed and that’s when I went tight.  A massive common carp thrashed with several violent headshakes then my line peeled off the reel.

 

Though I finally hooked up, the next predicament gleamed heavily.  Where I stood on the banks of this canal to the water was a good six feet.  There was no way to land this fish on this side of the canal.  On the other side however, where Steve was wisely fishing because he’d crossed at the highway bridge, there were steps to the water.  The only reason I wasn’t with Steve was because the setting sun was in his eyes.  I felt I needed to see while he was comfortable fishing blind.

 

Photo by Gentry Smith

The good news however was that I already had a plan.  There was rickety fenced off bridge 50 feet upstream from me.  As my carp took off downstream I loosened my drag and ran upstream.  I hopped the fence and scurried across the treacherous bridge.  Soon I was on the other side.

 

The carp had me deep in my backing.  My 5-weight Winston LS was bent to the hilt.  I ran downstream along the canal reeling in the slack as fast as I could.  I caught up to my carp and got half the fly line on the reel.  Steve was now by my side and said, “Currier, you know you’re a maniac right?

 

 

Photo by Gentry Smith

I laughed at Steve’s remark and started putting the heat on my carp.  At first, he seemed so heavy I felt helpless.  But things started to give.  Five minutes later I got him to the surface.  He was tired and I eased him near the steps into the canal.

 

 

 

 

Photo by Gentry Smith

These steps were small and steeply angled.  I wasn’t too confident I’d be able to pull this carp landing off without a net.  I cleaned my pockets handing Steve my wallet and phone.  Then I took off my Simms pack and started down.  The carp was so hefty that I realized I needed two hands.  I handed Steve my rod when I had the fish close.  I grabbed my 3X tippet and gently slid the carp to me.  I put my right hand under his belly and in one quick move lifted him to my chest which turned into a bearhug with a carp.  I had him!

 

This was an awesome specimen of a common carp.  He was long and tremendously obese.  He was well behaved and Steve clicked of pics as did Gentry with his long lens from the other side of the canal.  After a minute of admiring him I crept back down the steps with the carp under my arm like oversized football.  Even when I put him back in the water the carp remained relaxed.  Then in one swift flick of the tail he was gone and I had Phoenix canal water from head to toe.  I’ll take it any day.

 

At last I’ve broke a long drought of catching my targeted fish.  When you target the hard ones, this can happen.  But I promise you, it builds character, mind endurance and probably a few fishing skills along the way.  We reeled it in under the last light on Camelback Mountain.  The urban fishing setting was actually quite beautiful.  I love this Phoenix Arizona urban fly fishing!

 

Tomorrow morning I fly home to unpack and pack.  Next week its back east for the Marlboro Fly Fishing Show.  I hope to see you there!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Humbled by Grass Carp

When I come to Phoenix to do fly fishing presentations I always add a couple days for some urban fly fishing.  Phoenix has an elaborate canal system through the city and its neighboring suburbs along with manmade lakes and ponds.  Each and every one of these waters are home to carp.

 

Lucky for me, I also have a good friend, Steve Berry, who likes to chase the carp when I’m in town.  He takes a few days off and we fish.  Along with us this trip is a new friend, Gentry Smith.  Gentry led the way today through the shopping malls bringing us to a canal where he’s seen a lot of grass carp (also known as white amur).

 

Grass carp are one of my favorites.  Unlike the common carp and mirror carp that have a diet ranging from crayfish to algae, grass carp focus on vegetation.  You’d think – ok I’ll just pile some green marabou on a hook and toss it out there, but grass carp are far too intelligent for that.

 

The flies I like are foam bodied hoppers in either olive or chartreuse in sizes 4-8.  I think more than the fly pattern, landing your fly gently within 6” of the grass carps face is critical.  They’re attracted to the splat and usually do an immediate investigation when the fly lands.  Often times they swim past the fly and follow the leader up to the fly line then up the line until they see you.  It makes you feel pretty dang stupid especially when they flick their massive tails, splash and turn and vanish into the deep.

 

The three of us had a ton of those reactions today.  But we also had a number of grass carp eat the fly.  I stopped counting how many times my fly was eaten at around ten.  But utter disaster however, of all those grass carp that ate my fly, zero of them actually got hooked!

 

Grass carp will test you.  They like to nudge the fly with their nose a few times.  Then they like to nibble on it.  With my flies that means chew on a rubber leg first then bite the foam.  Somehow, they do all this and manage to avoid the hook.  Often watching this process is too much to take and you set the hook prematurely pulling the fly away.  The grass carp spooks and you stand there scratching your head.

 

No doubt everything that could go wrong went wrong for me today.  I set too soon.  Waited too long.  Set when things were just right but nobody was there.  Honestly, I believe I had 15 or more grassies eat my fly and I never did more than sting one for a second.  Its an empty feeling when you miss three trout in a row but missing 15 of a difficult to fool fish like a grass carp – you want to jump in the canal!

 

Steve and Gentry were having a similar experience.  It wasn’t just me.  But persistence always pays off.  Usually for me but today it was for Steve.  We saw a grass carp rising in a place where he could only be reached by a risky balancing act.  Steve spotted him first so it was him that had to go for it.

 

Normally when a friend puts themselves in such a position you want them to fall in for a good laugh.  But not here.  Getting out of a canal could require a rescue so on this occasion I was nervous watching.  But it all panned out.  Steve didn’t fall in and he hooked our one and only grass carp of the day.

 

This was by no means the grass carp of dreams.  Grass carp can reach sizes of more than 60lbs.  But on a fly rod and on a tough day like today – a grass carp is a grass carp and Steve avoided the skunk.  Gentry and I on the other hand left with our tail between our legs.

 

I haven’t been so frustrated in a day of fishing in as long as I can remember.  Watching these fish eat my fly over and over and setting the hook and feeling nothing but air was brutal empty feeling.  No doubt I’m stuck in a fishing jinx.  If you read my permit fishing story in December than you know today was the 7th day in a row where I didn’t catch my targeted fish.  Tomorrow I’m in desperate need of a slump buster.

 

My speech tonight for Arizona Flycasters Club went fantastic however.  Tonight, I entertained with my PowerPoint presentation, “Saltwater Fly Fishing – Bonefish to Billfish”.  This was a bonus gig that came to play after I spoke last night to Desert Fly Casters.  I enjoy giving presentations so if you’re a member of fly fishing club that hires speakers, please keep me in mind.

 

Revenge on the carp starts first thing tomorrow!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Back to Phoenix

Its life in the fast lane from now till April.  I always move fast but during my show/speaking tour season it moves crazy fast.  Today I escaped the big storm in Idaho and caught an early flight for Phoenix.  Though the reason was to deliver my PowerPoint presentation, “Four Seasons of the Yellowstone Trout Bum”, to Desert Fly Casters tonight, I’ll be fly fishing for grass carp on Thursday and Friday with my friend Steve Berry.  After Steve fetched me from the Phoenix airport he took me to see the Chicago Cubs new spring training facility.

 

I never stopped moving from 3 AM in Victor, Idaho this morning till after my speech and returned to Steve’s house tonight.  It was a draining 22-hour day.  But it was also a great success and over 120 members of the Desert Fly Casters were well entertained.

 

A funny thing came up at my gig.  There were folks from the other Phoenix fly fishing club, Arizona Flycasters Club, attending.  When I was done they asked if I was free to speak to them tomorrow night.  Yes, I am.  So, after fishing tomorrow it will be back to the microphone.  Now it’s time for some desperately needed sleep before yet another fun filled day.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

The Games Have Begun

Thanks to everyone who came to the Denver Fly Fishing Show.  That was one of the best shows ever and Granny and I appreciate all of you that made a point to say hello.  My hand is sore for drawing fish on so many different things including a few hats.  I hope those that caught my presentations enjoyed and perhaps even learned a thing or two.

 

The minute the show ended last night Granny and I hit the road and drove all the way back to Idaho.  A 9 hour drive after an exhausting show probably isn’t the wisest thing to do but when the roads are clear of bad weather from Denver to Idaho you take the opportunity.  Last year wasn’t fun.  After maneuvering through hundreds of deer and elk herds we got in the door at 2 AM.  But I drank my coffee this morning overlooking the back yard.  That’s worth it to me because I don’t get many chances to do that in the winter.

 

I finished unpacking and closing the books on the Denver Fly Fishing Show 2018.  As I unpacked one bag I packed another.  Wednesday night I’ll be speaking to Desert Fly Casters in Phoenix, Arizona.  For those of you in the area be sure to be there.  On Thursday and Friday I’ll be fishing with my pal Steve Berry for carp on Phoenix’s urban waters.  I can’t wait!

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

The Denver Fly Fishing Show 2018

It’s time to give the fish a rest.  Its show time folks.  Starting with the Denver Fly Fishing Show this week on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  I’m ready to rock my entertaining PowerPoint presentations, teach fly fishing seminars and give casting demonstrations.

 

I’m looking forward to the next three months.  I see many of my friends and get to meet many of you folks that follow the blog.  Take a minute to check out my entire winter tour schedule and if you live near one of these events block it off and come by for a visit.

 

In Denver I’m one of many speakers that include friends Phil Rowley, Landon Mayer, Gary Borger, George Daniel and more.  Between my presentations you’ll find me at my booth.  I’ll have my famous fish coffee mugs and beer steins including several new fish on them.  I’ll be signing my books and DVDs and be sure to check out my long awaited new fish decals.

 

I’ll have an assortment of black Scientific Angler fly boxes and the usual Cliff fly boxes with my fish art on them.  If I do say so myself, the black ones are stunning.  For these I use paint pens.  They’re more work but the fish light up on them like they are electric!  If you come by and don’t see the fish you want – request it.  I love a “fish art” challenge any day.

Also, feel free to Contact Me in advance to have a box ready for you with any fish at any of my winter shows.

 

Here are my seminar and demonstration times for this weekend at the Denver Fly Fishing Show.  Click on the presentation titles for full details.

Friday

12:30 – Strike Room – “Trout Bumming the World”

2:45 – Authors Booth

Saturday

10:30 – Release Room – “Streamer Tricks for More and Larger Trout”

12:00 – Authors Booth

3:15 – Pond 2 – “Casting in the Wind and the Double Haul”

Sunday 

10:30 – Release Room – “Fly Fishing for Carp – A 20lb Fish near Home”

12:00 – Authors Booth

3:15 – Pond 1 – “Casting in the Wind and the Double Haul”

Hope to see you there!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

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