Thursday, January 31, 2008

Summer of 90 - Part I

This past year a spent some time writing some of my first memories of flyfishing. I thought I would share a few of them again with some of those that did not get a chance to read them.

" Next to prayer, fishing is the most personal relationship of man." - Herbert Hoover

“Summer of 90’” Part I

It was a warm summer morning in 1990 I spent the morning in front of Jeff Bullock’s front yard casting his Grandfathers fly rod. Jeff and I took turns trying to keep the line from hitting the ground as we casted the old rod that had wear in the cork handle. “Dude hurry up it is my turn!” I was impatient as Jeff made his false casts over the lawn trying to hit the driveway.

Casting in Jeff’s yard was my first experience with a fly rod and I remember it like it was yesterday. It became an immediate addiction and it became a contest each summer day to see how far we could cast the fly line. Jeff and I argued at each other for “hogging’ the rod” as we each took turns casting to the second crack on the driveway and trying to beat our personal best.

One day I decided that I would approach my parents and see if they would help out our cause by purchasing another fly rod. I thought of the many different ways to approach them, trying to convince my father that they had to buy me the much needed fly fishing rod. I approached Dad and he insisted that I get a job and that I would then be able to make my purchase. I was age 15 and the thought of work didn’t sound right. No way was I going to give up the summer days to work at “Seaman James Bartley Restraunt” on Fort Union. I had spent my days the previous summer as a dishwasher in the restraunt scrubbing the remains of clam chowder pots that had been piled up and left for me each Saturday morning. I pledged an oath that I would never scrub another pot again and the thought made me cringe.

Somehow some way I would get a fly rod and it weighed on my mind each summer day. How was I going to pull it off? The summer was coming to an end I found myself spending time in the library off Foothill Boulevard flipping the pages of every fly fishing book I could find. Each book I read the more excited I became about fly fishing.

A family friend heard about my sad story and after finding out that I was so into fly fishing and had never done it before; he took it upon himself and sent me a package. I will never forget the day I walked in to the house and my mother telling me that there was a package for me sitting on the table. My father was home from work and my Grandparents were in Utah visiting us from New York. On the table laid a large brown package. “What could this be?” I pondered. It wasn’t my birthday but I thought it was probably something from my Grandparents; they always gave us a surprise when they visited us.

I carefully peeled back the brown paper….”NO WAY, NO WAY!!!” I think I ran around the house jumping up and down holding my new fly rod. The card said “Jason, I heard from your Dad how much you love fly fishing but that you did not have a fly rod. I hope you enjoy it! Sincerely, Tony Divino”. When I calmed down I could see the tears in my parent’s eyes as they saw how happy I was over my new gift. Before I could calm down my Grandfather pulled out a small box out of his suitcase and handed it to me. “What's this Grandpa?” I replied. “Just open it. It is a small gift from your Grandmother and me.” I opened the box and inside was a Pflueger Medalist fly reel. “Jason your parents told us about the fly rod that Tony had sent and we thought you would need a reel. Maybe tomorrow we can go get some line put on it for you”.

My mother took me down to Anglers Inn located in Sugarhouse and I watched the shop hand put the fly line on my new reel. Mom was patient and let me look at all the gear, the flies that were located in the glass bins. I was truly like the kid in the candy store and I thought that I would never make enough money to own all the items that I fell in love with that day in the fly shop. Mom seeing the look in my eyes pulled out her wallet and purchased the felt hat that I had tried on while in the shop.I kept telling Mom to drive faster as we drove home.

I could hardly wait to cast the line in the front yard. I ran inside and called Jeff. We spent that afternoon in my front yard casting line over the Aadnussons rose bushes and into their yard.

It was a summer morning in 1990 that I became addicted to fly fishing, and thus my life has been forever changed.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fly Fishing Guide or Fly Fishing Joe?

Have you ever thought in all your fly fishing days " I could be a fly fishing guide! I should make some money fly fishing. I catch lots of fish, know my local water! I have the secret patterns they don't know about!" ?

I have to be honest and say there was a time in my fly fishing years that I thought some of these things. I could hit the Middle Provo or Weber rivers in UT and put on my secret flies (only to find out they were just a knock off from another pattern) and catch fish all day long. It boosted my ego! I counted the number of days I spent on the water and the bigger the number each year the bigger my head grew. I fished nearly 6 days a week for a few years. Taking my lunch breaks up the canyon to huck flies to small skittish fish. After work it was off to the water in hopes of catching an early summer evenings hatch of Caddis. All these memories and experiences led me to believe that I could be a fly fishing guide!

It wasn't to long after, that I decided to offer my services and I spent 3 full days guiding Mark and Tom from Florida. Prior to our day on the Lower section of the Provo river, Mark had invited me to breakfeast. We talked about many things all focusing on their expectations of Utah fly fishing. After a nice brunch and stop to one of the local fly shops we hit the water. I put Mark and Tom in my favorite fishing runs and it wasn't long before they each hooked into fish.

We had a great day of fishing and had some fun getting to know each other through stories and experiences. I continued to guide Mark and Tom for a couple more years as they visited Utah annually. Great experiences; but they taught me some great lessons.

What I had learned from my guiding experience is that I had MUCH to learn! Catching fish was a very small part of the job. Mark was a saltwater guy. He could huck line and make it look so smooth. I watched him throw some mends and catch a nice Brown Trout off a gnarly run. The drift was not easy. It was at that moment that I realized I was learning from Mark! Mark was a better stick and it dawned on me, I should be paying Mark!

Guides are a dime a dozen. With no regulations on guide licensing or certifications, anyone can become a fly fishing guide and claim anything. The term "Fly Fishing Guide" has become cheap! We have people taking fly fishers out on to the water with no formal training let alone some sort of insurance in case of an accident. Forget the fly casting instruction, what about the emergency and CPR training that should be required for anyone taking someone out on water?

What do you think when you hear the term "Fly Fishing Guide"? What are you paying for a day of guided fishing? With the money you are spending you deserve a certain experience and one that is safe from a reputable fly fishing guide.

Next time you decide to hire a guide, do your homework. Find out what you are paying for and let them know your expectations. Are you paying for a guy to take you out and catch some fish or are you willing to spend the money to have a guide endorsed by a legitimate fly fishing shop or company, take you out and show you basic and correct principals! Mark taught me indirectly that I did not know some of the basics of casting. Doing some homework on guides can make your next day on the water a better experience and one that will last a lifetime! You will learn something and because it always looks bad when the client is teaching the guide!

For more information about Fly Fishing Guides or becoming a guide, contact your local fly shop. Check a guide's client testimonials and refrences, ask them if they are certified in CPR and other emergency preparedness courses. Do your homework! It will pay off in the end. There are lots of Fly Fishing Joe's that would be happy to take your money, make sure you are paying for the reel deal! Is it really just about catching fish?


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Winter Stick

Man is it FREEZING! The cold weather has me indoors tying flies and keeping warm. As of late, all this talk of "Rockstars" has me jammin out in my front living room. My kids are true head bangers and have managed to get quite far on Guitar Hero3.

My coworker Nick Dobson is always taking things a part and making cool stuff. McGyver has nothing on this kid. I came to him with an idea and it was no easy task... build a custom GH3 stick!
Nick and I immediately started searching our local classifieds for a cool looking guitar. What we found was the Paul Stanley Apocalypse Electric Guitar brand new for $80 bones! I mean c'mon $80 bones for a brand new KISS Apocalyspe???
Immediately we purchased the guitar and Nick worked his magic. We stripped off the pick-up's hollowed out part of the body and Nick went through quite a few carbide bits on the dremel carving out the neck! After installing a custom pick guard and painting the controls jet black, the custom inlay turned out pretty nice! This little baby has the family rockin out to Poison, Kill Switch, and Pearl if we could just beat the devil!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

OFA's Fly Girl Of The Year

Make sure you guys head over to Ozark Fly Angler and vote for the 2007 OFA Fly Girl of the Year. You can type "fly girls" into the search box at the upper left corner of the page and get a complete set of the OFA Fly Girlz pictorials. Cast your vote on the right side of the blog and pick your favorite! It is a hard choice, I know!

The winner will receive a gift from Thanks OFA for an awesome 2007 year! We are anxious to see all the OFA Fly Girlz of 2008!


All Images © Jason Morrison - All Rights Reserved