Red’s Rendezvous VII

Casting Area

Yesterday my wife and I drove over to the Yakima River canyon and Red’s Fly Shop for their seventh annual Rendezvous. As has been common for previous years, the day was filled with classroom presentations, beginner casting instruction, casting competition, vendor booths, and great food.

As in past years, we left the clouds and rain of Puget Sound and found ourselves in sunshine two hours later.

The only difference this year was the limited amount of streamside casting and instruction. The Yakima was blown out and was running high at full bank. Stepping into that would have meant a quick ride down to the Roza dam.

That was unfortunate as a full day of spey casting had been planned for both novices and experienced casters. Also unfortunate was that yesterday was the first stop on Sage’s On the Water Tour and the only casting available for all the rods they brought was standing on the bank near the boat ramp.

Sage Tour

As it was, we still had a great time.

I got a chance to cast the Sage MOD in a 5 weight. I was impressed by its light weight and how easily it cast – while still throwing tight loops. If I lived in a place where I’d get to use it more than a few times each year, it would be a nice rod to own.

I also talked to the Sage rep who only smiled (and pointed out that he was smiling) when I suggested the Sage ONE was getting long it tooth and a replacement must be coming soon.

My wife had a chance to work with one of the Federation of Fly Fishing Instructors who was on site, helping her with her back cast. He watched me cast and pointed out an area where I need work too. It was something I had thought I had corrected, but clearly he saw something I had not. One of the great things about fly casting is that there’s always room for improvement.

We also had a chance to both do some casting in the wind. We are going to Montana in a couple of months and the canyon is a great place to get exposure to how the Montana winds blow on the big open rivers.

On the high rocks on the other side of the river we did see a wild turkey. That was really cool as I hadn’t seen one before in the area. While not native to Washington they have been introduced as game species in many areas of the state.

One thing my wife and I both really like in the canyon is the relative absence of electromagnetic radiation. There are not neighborhoods full of wireless routers blasting in all directions. It’s a joy to get away from that.

We’ll return again next year.

Squatter’s Rights

I went down to my nearby beach the other day. A falling seven-foot tide meant strong ebb current, which meant – hopefully – I’d find searun cutthroat trout. This beach fishes best on an ebb current.

Putting on my waders I noticed my favorite spot near the point that was below the outfall was already occupied. Not a big deal I thought as everyone knows it’s a proven spot.

I grabbed my Sage SALT and walked further north and accessed the beach below the bridge. Casting in a fan pattern and then taking a few steps after each fan I worked my way down the beach toward my spot and the other angler.

He noticed me as I started fishing. A bit later he left the beach and I thought I’d get to my spot in about 15 more minutes. But it wasn’t even ten minutes later that he quickly returned to the beach in exactly the same spot he’d been, and which would have been my destination.

I was a bit annoyed as he went back to fishing. I know I didn’t have any rights to the spot and he was there first. He had seen moving down the beach and it was evident I was moving in his direction. But it was apparent he wasn’t going anywhere and was unwilling to share that part of the beach with me or the other fly fishers that had come down to the beach.

As I got closer, I decided a confrontation that might arise wasn’t worth spoiling a nice sunny morning; I left the water and made my way along the back end of the beach to the other side of him. He sort of looked at me as I did. I nodded and he just stared.

A bit later, I met a fly fisher coming back up the beach who commented on the squatter. He had wanted to move to the point too, but seeing the squatter moved off to the south. It worked out for him as he said he had caught a nice 16 inch resident Coho.

He questioned whether the other guy had caught anything – I said to that point I’d seen him catch only one fish. He just shook his head and we parted company.

Never having been where the Coho had been caught, I decided to check it out. I had missed the main part of the ebb and caught nothing. But it was worth the effort to see a new part of the beach – a place I had seen other fly fishers in the past. Next time, I’ll be heading there.

As for the squatter, in the nearly three hours I was there, I only saw him catch the one fish.

Who says there’s no karma in fly fishing?