All Dorado and No Bills

November 3, 2009

Sammy enjoyed catching dorado yesterday, but he loves catching marlin on the fly. Last year Sammy was down here in Cabo at the exact same time and had spectacular striped marlin fishing. Both the Pacific and Sea of Cortez were alive with bait balls and feeding predators. Bait balls are huge concentrations of baitfish, and around Cabo they usually consist of sardines. If you look at a bait ball underwater it looks like a tornado as literally thousands of baitfish huddle together for protection and swim rapidly in circles. Marlin, snappers, dorado, tuna or even the unusual Brutus whale to name a few will completely devour an entire bait ball in a very short time. Not a single sardine will survive!

This year is not the same. It’s apparent the full moon has things messed up and/or the fact that Hurricane Rick pushed the marlin and the bait balls out to sea two weeks ago. Like yesterday, Grant Hartman warned us that finding marlin would be tough, however we would go to a place where a few were seen yesterday. The location was not far out of sight of Cabo and by 8am we found ourselves dragging the hookless teasers. Everyone stared with anticipation just waiting to see an explosion in our wake with a slashing bill. But like yesterday, it was all about dorado. Today we landed several nice ones. For some reason they were actually finicky and would not take my normal first choice of a large popper. Instead they just looked at it and went crazy looking for our teasers again. The only fly we fooled them on was our striped marlin fly. Hey whatever works!

I’m pretty content banging up the dorado but would love to see us get a marlin. Sammy truly expected another year like last and he and Grant have discussed a new plan for tomorrow. It appears we will be leaving early and getting home late as we will travel far north and out into the Pacific.

Global Fly Fishing Web Site

Strip Teaser Fun, Yankin’ and Crankin’ It

I arrived in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in the afternoon of November 1st. I’m fishing with a great old friend Sam Vigneri of Casper, Wyoming. Sammy coincidently started at the Jack Dennis Sports fly shop a day before me back in 1987. Back then we did a ton of fishing together, but we both got so busy over the years we hardly ever have time we fish together. So when Sam invited me to try to catch a striped marlin on fly rod with him and guide Grant Hartman of Baja Anglers, another old friend, I didn’t think twice!

We met Grant early this morning and he was quick to warn us that we could be wasting time hunting marlin. Apparently, Hurricane Rick from a couple weeks back moved the marlin out to sea and few have been seen lately. Grants advice was to target dorado (dolphin fish) and hope to see a marlin. We ran about 30 minutes from Cabo Harbor up the Pacific side of Baja. It was a gorgeous morning with little or no wind with gentle rolling seas. Already I was suspicious because despite incredible visibility there were no birds and no signs of fleeing bait.

We began trolling our hookless teasers about ½ mile from shore and headed in a southwesterly direction. It didn’t take long before a dorado crushed one of the teasers. Grant and his mate and I retrieved teasers and his captain tossed out a bridled green jack. Within seconds a tug a war was on between the captain and a nice dorado trying to swallow the hookless jack. Once teased in casting range Sammy launched a popper on my 12-weight Ross fly rod and the hot fish hammered his fly. Sammy was soon holding a fine dorado.

We had a few other dorado in our teasers today and I hooked two and landed one. But really, things shut down after we each got into a fish. I’m a little worried as we are dealing with a full moon.

Teasers are basically hookless lures with bait attached. A fish comes in and hits it, gets a taste and they try to eat it. You take it away from the fish usually by jerking it out of the water and into the boat. The fish keeps hunting expecting it to reappear and you replace it with your fly.

Global Fly Fishing Web Site

Kayak Bivouac for Bonito and Bass

Whenever I’m on the road I always try to wet a line if I have time. I don’t know why more traveling folks whether it business or pleasure don’t try to do the same. It takes little to pack a rod and reel. I guess most people just assume there’s not much to fish for. Like me down here in Southern CA today, what in the world would I bring a fly rod here for? Duh! How about the ocean?

On October 30th, I ventured out with an old friend, Rich Garrett, who generously took time from work to take me fishing. Rich and his gal Mary Lou hooked us up with their friend, Mike Allen, a pro for Hobie Cat, and we sea kayaked outside Newport Beach.

Mike Allen is an expert in kayak fishing to say the least and he kindly took the day and time not only to join us fishing but also teach us how to use a sea kayak. Kayak’s are great fly fishing tools and within five minutes I was sold on the Hobie. We had the option of paddling and/or pedaling for moving in these kayaks. I loved this option because pedaling freed my hands so I could cast to fish with ease.

Today was a gorgeous 85 degree day with no wind. I quickly found myself two miles out to sea rolling in huge Pacific waves while chasing a school of bonito. I’d of chased bonito all day but somehow I’d ventured a long way away from Mike and the gang. I knew as a total rookie that wasn’t such a good idea and didn’t want to worry everyone. Also, it occurred to me that a kayak could resemble a seal to a big shark! I’ve fly fished for blue and mako sharks in the nearby waters off San Diego and recently friend Jeff Patterson actually caught a great white on the fly down there! So as fast as my legs could pedal I hauled ass back near shore. There I met up with Rich, Mary Lou and Mike and dredged Clouser Minnows along the kelp beds. I have fished the surf in Southern California several times and learned the good fly’s should have some orange and gold. Therefore, the Clouser I used was orange and white with some gold on the body. Throughout the afternoon we landed a handful of handsome little calico bass and mackerel. A fantastic day!

The Clouser Minnow was originally designed by Bob Clouser to be a freshwater fly, but tied in bigger sizes, it is deadly in the brine as well. A great prospecting pattern, you can cover alot of water with this one on those rare occasions when you might not know exactly where the fish are hanging out. On the retrieve it darts like a wounded baitfish just begging to be swallowed by something higher on the food chain. This fly should be tied sparse to imitate the long, narrow silhouette of most baitfish. Since the weighted eyes are on the bottom of the fly, it rides with the point up, so you can drag the bottom with it and not get many snags.

Global Fly Fishing Web Site

225 Species of Fly Caught Fish – No Far Flung Fish Fables, Forgeries, Fibs, Fiction, Fallacies, Fertilizer or Fairytales

Thousands and thousands of air miles, airline cuisine (yuck), endless hours waiting in dirt strip airports for lost luggage, journeys across oceans and continents, sleeping under the stars, a tree branch, a tent, in the dirt on or near a critter colony, hundreds of yards of trashed fly lines, pounds of lost streamers, dries and nymphs, gallons of Gink and warm beer, busted fly rods, demolished fly reels, useless dead-end hand drawn maps on bar napkins, forgotten names, faces, pungent smells, hundreds of rolls of 35mm film (thank God now for digital) blisters, calluses, sunburn, diarrhea, frostbite, sprains and pains, countless skeeter bites, spectacular rivers, lakes, streams, creeks, ditches, channels, culverts and miscellaneous mud holes …

FISH are where you find them !

View lots o’ fish in a larger map

Thanks to Google Maps and internet magic, I’m now able to share with you the locations of every one of the 225 species of fish I’ve caught on a fly rod, since I was but a wee little one on the banks of a pond in New England, to my latest adventure in Baja California in November 2009 and beyond.

I’ll be adding new data to this Google Map as often as time permits, so check back often. I’ll include the common and Latin name of the fish, the name of the water found and they’ll be marked on the map with a little fish icon.

The right hand side of my blog is where this map will always reside.

Global Fly Fishing Web Site

No Time for Starlets, Autographs, Glitz or Glamour … Where’s the Fly Shop on Hollywood Blvd?

The weather here in Southern California is fabulous as it is most of the time. If it wasn’t for the traffic, living here would be a consideration from about January till April. The fishing here in the Pacific surf and local lakes with huge largemouth bass could keep the interest of any serious angler throughout the winter. I’m down in this neighborhood because I spoke to the Long Beach Casting Club last night. Long Beach is a large city located in Southern California on the Pacific coast. It is situated in Los Angeles County, about 20 miles (32 km) south of downtown Los Angeles. Long Beach borders Orange County on its southeast edge. The Douglas Aircraft Company (later McDonnell Aircraft Corporation and now part of Boeing) had plants at the Long Beach Airport where they built aircraft for World War II, and later built DC-8s, DC-9s, DC-10s, and MD-11s.

Founded in 1925, the Long Beach Casting Club is a fantastic group of serious anglers and casters that take great pride in their club. They have a really gorgeous facility consisting of a classic clubhouse with walls covered with unique fishing artwork and fly collections. There’s even a lighted casting pond right outside the front door – it’s awesome! As one of the oldest continuously operating fly fishing clubs in the country, they have a rich history of contributions to the sport, i
ncluding several world and many national tournament casting champions. Two of their members are American Casting Association Hall of Fame Honorees, while ten members have been casting All Americans.

The talk I gave is called “Four Seasons of the Yellowstone Troutbum“, and is one of my favorites to deliver and always draws a good crowd. Most fly fisherman have fished Yellowstone National Park a few times or if they haven’t, it is surely near the top of their “To Do” list. As I always do at these presentations, I arrived early and did a fly painting while folks watched and then donated it to the club. I’m staying here a couple days with good friend Rich Garrett whom I met in Jackson, Wyoming 20 years ago. Today we are just taking it easy. We spent an hour at the club casting pond. Rich and some of the other club members practiced their spey casting while I borrowed a 5-weight from Rich and worked on some long casts across the pond. Tomorrow Rich and I are taking out the sea kayaks with Mike Allen of Hobie Cat to try and scare up a few bonito, calico bass and whatever else wants to suck in a fly. A great way to kill a day in Southern California before I head down to Baja on Sunday, November 1st.

Global Fly Fishing Web Site

Cub’s, Coffee, Frosted Flowers and ‘JackDennisless’

I feel as though I’m retarded (retired) today even though I am by no means a 44 year old retiree. Yesterday I ended a 23 year run of being a full time employee at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop. TWENTY THREE YEARS!!! And today, I am “JackDennisless” It seems weird but I know it’s going to be great thing.

The beginning of the second half of my life went like this: I slept till 7:30 am, I haven’t done that in a year. Instead of hurrying to answer emails before a long day at the shop I proceeded slowly to website and spent over an hour. I read why “Next Year is the Year”. Then I had another cup of coffee. Two big cups today. A first for me and quite enjoyable I might add. Then I headed for the yard to clean up some leaves and cut some grass, but it was cold and I retreated to the house. I decided to rest up an hour or so and let it warm up some more. I just may like being “JackDennisless” I thought to myself. Eventually I got after it and did about 6 hours of yard work. As I clipped down frosted flowers and protected small tree trunks from voles I reminisced about the great times I had at the fly shop over the last two decades. All the great friends I made and employees I worked with. It’s going to be a big change for me but I think I’ll make it OK.

After hours in the yard I spent 2 hours buying plane tickets. I heard a rumor that prices are about to rise so I figured I’d save some money, something of major importance now that there’s no regular pay check. Sure enough, it was a good move as I bought tickets for a pheasant hunt/fishing trip to Minnesota/Iowa in December, the Fly Fishing Show in Marlborough Massachusetts and Somerset New Jersey for January, Pleasanton, California in February and I just started sorting out tickets to Brazil for a March Amazon trip when friends Bruce and Katrin Smithhammer dropped in for a visit. Bruce writes for various magazines and in fact has an article in the latest Drake fly fishing magazine. We had a couple beers and shot the bull about our Fall fishing and hunting adventures so far. The Smithhammer’s were over to pick up one of my large cutthroat Gi-clees. I made a sale on my first day of retardedness! JackDennisless may be OK after all!

Global Fly Fishing Web Site

Baja Billfish and Baetis Bonkin’ Trout

It looked to be a good day to stay inside and get some artwork done, rig some billfish flies for Baja and perhaps a little yard work, that was until Josh Franco, former Jack Dennis Fly Shop fishing guide called me, “Jeff, let’s go hit the Ranch. Should be some bugs coming off” he said. He was definitely right. It was raining lightly and about 45 degrees. Near perfect conditions to produce mass baetis hatches on the Henry’s Fork.

Feeling as though we are running out of time in October, my favorite fishing month, I said let’s go. It was a great decision. We arrived on the banks of the Henry’s Fork only to see nice fish rising everywhere! As expected, the baetis mayflies were hatching thick on the slow waters of the lower Ranch. When I say lower, I mean below Osborne Bridge. In fact, we were at my favorite Fall spot, the gravel pits. For me, the best imitation for the baetis is the smallest gray mayfly that I can see. Not only see on the water, but that I can tie on to 5X. My eyesight isn’t the best these days and I’m being a bit stubborn on getting glasses. Today, that fly was a European CDC posted parachute in a size 18. It’s body was of very thin profile with a gray chunk of CDC. Not much to be impressed by really, but boy do these things work. At first my fly seemed too big. It dwarfed the real bugs on the water, but on my first presentation to about a 16″ rainbow, my fly was absolutely crushed! The fiesty fish leaped several times and then ran entangling my line in heaps of weeds. Luckily my RIO 5X tippet held on and I landed the gorgeous bow. During the next 3 hours I landed 5 rainbows from 15″ to about 17″. They were not the hawgs the Ranch is famous for but for a 3 hour fishing adventure, I’ll take it any day!

Global Fly Fishing Web Site

Carp Commandos Down in the Trenches

I left the house in the dark this morning to meet friends Dennis Butcher, George Kuvinka and Jay Buchner, a well known fly tier of Jackson Hole – truly one of the best I have ever seen. I owed Dennis a guided trip to fly fish for carp and today was the day. It’s normally about a 2 hour drive to my spot, but thick fog slowed us and the ride took about 3 hours. Once there it was so cold and cloudy it wasn’t yet worth fishing  so we filled up on a huge breakfast at the town hotel. By the time we were finished the weather still sucked, but I had no choice but to lead the troops to the small reservoir. To my dismay, it was nearly dry! Nice guiding job Currier! I had no idea that the dam on the reservoir was being repaired and the carp flats were dry to the bone. It was time to re-learn my favorite carp lake on the spot.  This was no easy feat for the weather still sucked with thick clouds and fog and temps around 35 degrees, absolutely horrific carp conditions. The reason this was so horrible is that it helps tremendously if you can see the carp before you cast and this requires sunshine. Also, 35 degrees is brutally cold for carp as they prefer much warmer conditions. The only water left was basically the old river channel which was too deep to see the carp feeding along the bottom sun or no sun. Fortunately these guys are friends and we went for a walk along the dried up mud flats searching for carp in what water existed the best we could. It was pretty cool actually as we found all kinds of things from soccer balls to half frozen crayfish that we were able to rescue. The only thing missing were the carp! The sun finally popped at 2 PM and at last a few carp began to show. And I do mean a few. On this lake I normally find myself casting to carp almost all day. But with today’s conditions and the lack of flats we only saw about 10 all day!

Luckily, some of these carp were cooperative and we landed three 4-7lb mirror carp. Jay caught one of them on Jay’s crayfish pattern. It’s a brownish orange color in a size 8. Jay was letting it sink to the bottom and slowly stripping it back. I caught my fish in one of Jay’s nymph patterns. It’s a beadhead in a size 14. It looks similar to a pheasant tail nymph only it has a red dubbed head and rubberlegs. Most of my favorite carp nymphs have rubberlegs. The fly retrieve was as slow as you could imagine. I literally crawled the nymphs in front of fish using a one finger hand twist. The fish were so lethargic that they followed the fly at a snails pace before sucking it in. In addition to the carp, Jay streamered up quite a surprise when he landed a healthy little smallmouth bass. A species I’d never seen in the lake.

It appears my carping may be done for the year in Wyoming and Idaho due to the onset of winter. I think tomorrow morning I’ll do some art then head up to the Henry’s Fork Ranch, fish the baetis hatch and stick some pig rainbows!

Global Fly Fishing Web Site

Surgeon General Reports Cure for ‘Cabin Fever’

What has over 3,300 files, 1,375 pictures, 8,900 internal hyperlinks, big fish stories (we don’t talk about the dinks), a compilation of fly fishing news reports, flyfishing movies, excerpts from fly fishing books, personal recommendations for products, outfitters, guides, fish art work, travelogues from the far corners of the earth and believe it not, much, more more?

The answer? It’s my personal website, Jeff Currier, Global Fly Fishing. It would be cool if you would take a short visit to my web site, poke around a bit and find something to read on that snowy Sunday evening, which just might might turn those mid winter doldrums into an action plan for your own fly fishing adventure, next spring.

Global Fly Fishing Web Site

High on Fish, Super Glue and Harriman Ranch

In a week I leave for California to speak at the Long Beach Casting Club and then fish the Southern California coast for a few days before heading to Baja. The main focus of Baja is to catch a striped marlin on the fly! That’s a tough itinerary to pack for and today I dedicated 12 hours to getting ready. All I can say is I rigged a bunch of RIO fly lines on Ross Reels and my hands are scared from numerous Whipped Loops, Bimini Twists and I have a serious buzz from all the Pliobond and Zap-A-Gap I sniffed. Nonetheless, I’m nearly ready.

Tomorrow I leave early to take my Doc, Dennis Butcher, on a carp trip to pay him back for my last physical years ago! And hell, perhaps Thursday I’ll fish the Harriman Ranch, on the Henry’s Fork one more time!

Global Fly Fishing Web Site