A Tatoo Remembrance and A Class Act

Sage Leg Tatoo

People get tattoos for any number of reasons, too many perhaps to articulate or even understand. As someone who has no tattoos and has no plan to get one, there is at least one purpose for a tattoo that I can understand – and that is for remembrance.

I came across the following post on the Sage web site. For those who have not heard of Sage, it is one of the top-tier fly rod companies.

An individual named Douglas Derrick contacted Sage and related his story of growing up with a brother and sister (Dustin and Kristen). The two traveled to Nepal and Peru in 2006 to join their father who was working with Doctors Without Borders. After the father returned to the States, they then attempted to climb Mount Artesonraju in the Peruvian Andes. Someone slipped on the climb, and both and another climber all fell to their deaths on June 27th, 2006.

Before they left for Nepal and Peru, Dustin had left Douglas his fly rod – a Sage TXL fly rod and told him to keep track of the number of fish he caught with it. After their deaths, Douglas attempted to return the rod to the now grieving father who lost his only children.

The father told him to keep the rod as Dustin wanted him to have the rod. In 2008, Douglas moved to Portland, Oregon. Sometime after, his home was burglarized and the rod along with other items were stolen. To continue his homage to his dead friends he got the tattoo shown above.

Someone from Sage recently saw the photo on Instagram, which also had the background story attached.

The Sage repair department staff were moved by the story and decided to make an exact copy of the rod to send to Douglas. The TXL model was introduced in 2005 and is no longer in production – so Sage went out of its way to build a custom rod; including adding Dustin’s name and the date of his and his sister’s deaths.

I have a number of Sage rods – each is outstanding for its intended purpose. This story also reminded me of the outstanding men and women who people Sage.

You can read the original post here.

Reds Rendezvous 2017

Yesterday we made the long drive over to Ellensburg for the eight annual rendezvous on the Yakima River held at the Canyon River Ranch and conducted by Reds Fly Shop. For those who’ve not been over there, both are collocated in the heart of the Yakima River Canyon – a Washington State scenic byway; it is a gem in the heart of north central Washington. Ridges and river carved cliffs with bighorn sheep often seen in the distance.

Canyon River Ranch

We left the clouds and rain of Gig Harbor to arrive almost three hours later for clouds and wind – the latter a not uncommon feature of the area. But the clouds lasted only a few hours; by early afternoon the sun was out; brilliant white cumulus clouds drifted by, and we had a warm (60s) afternoon.

As always, Reds brings in a number of well-known speakers and presenters. Unfortunately, there are too many things to attend. And when combined with the opportunity to test cast rods from a number of different rods, there is more than enough to do when not stopping to soak up the views the peaceful setting. Personally, the highlights for me are the seminars along the river.

This year the river was running very high and while the speakers weren’t able to wade out for demonstrations, their shore side instruction was still worthwhile.

Tom Larimer

We attended a Tom Larimer riverside seminar on trout spey. Tom is a very well known spey casting guide and instructor, and currently National Sales Manager for G. Loomis. Trout spey is becoming more widespread and Tom was quick to demonstrate how much one could do with a three-weight spey (equivalent to a five-weight single handed rod). It looked intriguing – but more money to spend…sigh.

Ben Paull

Ben Paull of Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics (OPST) demonstrated what the very short OPST Commando Skagit heads would allow with a single-handed rod when fishing on a tight river with no room for a back cast.

Joe Rotter

Joe Rotter, co-owner of Reds, gave a brilliant presentation and demonstration on the upper meadow on improving one’s casting – emphasizing among many things the keys of keeping tip tension and improving one’s back cast. Joe made an interesting comment that he’s changed the way he teaches casting lately as his own casting has improved. Watching how his videos have changed over the years and how, for example, he’s changed the way he teaches the double haul, show how much deeper his understanding of fly casting has enabled him to help others improve their casting.

Joe made a comment to us a few years ago in a private conversation was that one of the things he’s hoped for the rendezvous is that it becomes more inclusive to include competitors of Reds who have attended. He said the more fly fishing is celebrated the better it is for everyone. Spending a sunny day on the Yakima it is easy to understand that sentiment.

We left with the same regret we always do. Driving back into the rain made it that much more difficult. We will likely be over the mountains and into the Canyon this year. But for sure, we already are looking forward to Reds Rendezvous IX in 2018.

Don’t Tread on the Redd

Fishond Don't Tredd on Me

Headhunters Fly Shop in Craig Montana has an excellent post today related to recognizing and protecting trout redds.

A redd is a spawning nest cleared in gravel by the female salmonid (salmon, steelhead, trout). The female forms several depressions in the gravel forming egg pockets into which she deposits her eggs – with the size of a redd dependent on the size of the fish making the nest. While they photograph well from above, they can be difficult for a wading angler to see. Caution and care are the watchwords during spawning seaon.

You can read the post here.

The Beach is Back

Narrows Bridges

Well, to be honest…the beach never went anywhere. What’s back was me on the beach. Today, I finally got out to the beach to get my waders wet and cast my fly. It was the first time fly-fishing since last year – before my daughter’s wedding and before the medical adventure.

I could not have picked a better day.

It was sunny with scattered clouds. Neither is notable, except for the notable fact the sun has been scarce in these parts for many months. And the amount of sunlight did affect one’s comfort, as the temperature swing was notable as the sun played hide and seek.

Still, with only zephyrs for wind and an ebb tide this was a day to go fishing. I had planned to go to Purdy. But as I came to the parking area the seven cars there were enough to suggest that it was already crowded. So I made a beeline for Narrows Park.

There were a few fly fishers and spin casters on the beach, but given the length of the beach between Point Evans and Point Fosdick, crowds are never an issue. Starting with a pink shrimp pattern I began casting as I worked my way to the bridges. The chum fry are moving out of the creeks but I thought it might be a bit early for them to have made it to the Narrows so I kept my chum baby flies in the box.

I did need to focus on my casting for fishing. Don’t hold the rod too tight. Lengthen the casting stroke as more line was out. Let the rod do the work. Focus on a good back cast. Those are easy to remember in the backyard – less so when standing in the water hoping to catch a fish.

I made progress in putting them all together again. A few more times and they’ll be back in muscle memory. Then it will be time to work on the fishing double haul.

I made my way past the Narrows Bridge, casting along the way with nothing to show for the effort. No hits and definitely no fish brought in. And it did bring back a truth about fishing in Puget Sound – the only consistency is inconsistency.

But there was nothing to complain about.

The day was beautiful. Lots of boats were passing both down and up the Sound. Gulls were overhead. And out in the middle of the Narrows – where the currents are the strongest a couple of harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) were playing.

I sat on a log and watched the world for a time, thinking about how lucky I was to be where I was. As my hunger alarm clock went off, I switched to a chartreuse Clouser tube fly and began my trek back to the parking lot – stopping again at the places where trout or resident Coho can be found – if they’re there. As on the walk out there were none. And I wasn’t the only one, no one I spoke to was having any luck.

Looking around one last time as I got back to the path up to the parking lot I had the same regret at leaving I always do. Why that is will be for another time.

For now, it was only the first time out this year – it won’t be the last. Fish on.