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Miles & miles searching small creeks in Arizona.

Miles and miles and miles and miles walking stumbling, pushing thru bush avoiding snakes!, Climbing up, down, over, slipping well you get the picture! The end of the day hurting all over, wishing you were ten years younger!!!!

We are exploring the Apache reservation and the White Mountains in Arizona. Marc and I continue our quest to search and learn all about these beautiful small creeks.

 We are an odd couple, consider our backgrounds, serious surfers from days gone by now living in a desert. Both enthusiastic fly fishermen chasing those elusive trout in moving waters. Not to say we do not fish the lakes, we do.

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 However, there is so much water to search you pick your passion first. For us, it is running water. The Difficult place the fish love to lurk in, then how the hell do I get a fly in there?

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Bow and arrow cast, no pun intended!! Roll cast, high sticking, what the hell cast! Hope and pray, cast!! Figure it out. The lost flies, and there are always lots!! If you do not lose fly’s, you are not trying, Right!!! Who the hell came up with that stupid expression!! So bloody frustrating!!!

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The sun, the sweat, wind, bad light, old eyes, squinting with your cheater glasses on with the four times magnifiers clipped on as well. The condensation, misty cannot see what the hell I am trying to tie on. Stop, take a drink of water, wish it was a bloody scotch right at this frustrating moment. 

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Gather your inner self, take a deep breath, repeat!! Finally, fly on, first cast!! Straight into that bush again!!!! That is when you discover you are a saint!!! Either that or throw it all away and start drinking seriously that is the lot of a Fly Fishermen in small creeks. Not for the faint of heart.

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The moving water, slippery rocks, the root you did not see that jumps out and grabs your foot down you go!! Save the rod in that fleeting moment before you crash to earth. Quickly looking around to see if your buddy saw the move, Nope we are good to go!! Oops, better check the body! all moving no pain jump up, onward.

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It’s called fishing, not catching !!! Another stupid expression. I get it to smell the roses enjoy the scenery your friends being out there! But it would be nice to catch an occasional fish!! I think even the die hearts who are the absolute purist, deep down in their souls, if they were truthful with them selves would agree to, it OK to want the odd fish here and there!

The end of a long day thinking I have to get back out there tomorrow. Getting out of the truck like a cripple after the drive home. Thirsting to do it all over again.

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Carp on the fly

Hit the canals late on Friday evening in Scottsdale AZ. Temperature 108 Fahrenheit.
Chasing carp on the fly, I have seen some nice fish caught and posted on Instagram so I was inspired to brave the heat. Lost a few lbs in sweat saw a few spooky fish. No luck this time.
In the past I have caught a few but you need patience and stealth they have great  awareness of sound and movement.
There is a growing movement around the country to chase carp on the fly and boy is it fun when you hook into one. They can really take you down to the backing very quickly, just hang on especially with a light fly rod.
Carp from Canal in Phoenix
There are carp all over the country in lakes and streams just do some research and get out there. They generally are on the bigger side and are fast becoming the new game fish of fresh water.
The old stereotype of the carp is slowly evolving into a fun fish to go chase. They are not easy to catch as they are very aware of any changes around them.
However if you do hook into one you will be well rewarded.
I was fishing the Salt river in AZ earlier this year when the water was low, when I looked up stream there must have been ten or so fish heading my way in very shallow water, they looked like torpedoes!! Some of these fish had backs that must have been ten inches wide, these were big boys!!!
I know they are in the deeper pools and have been chasing them ever since. One day I hope to get lucky and just hank on Baby!!!!!

Big Brown Trout in Arizona

Who says there are no big Browns in AZ!!! I netted both these fish for my two friends this summer.

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I have yet to land the big boy, but I did fight one at least this size in a small creek in AZ earlier this year, only to bring almost to the net twice, to lose after a five minute fight! Beautiful blue markings he would have been a true pig of a local Brown.

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Apache Indian Reservation, White Mountains Arizona

This weekend with good friends we explored the white mountains on the Apache Reservation.

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Some of the most beautiful country anywhere in the world! I have traveled all over the world to some very remote places, so I really do know what I am talking about!

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The log dirt roads were in great shape, if not confusing!! Fished many streams and some of the lakes.

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We caught Apache trout,Brown trout,Rainbow trout,Brook Trout, small cutthroat and a few hybrid we think Apache and Rainbow , but not sure!!!

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All in all a magical place, go explore and enjoy the cooler climate.

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If you are new to the state get a guide to show you some of the streams, will save you a lot of time.

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Chasing those elusive Brown Trout on the Fly. Dog days of summer.

Chasing that elusive Brown Trout. 

Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away! It is after all called fishing, not catching!

Yesterday my friend Marc, a very experienced fly fisherman and me his humble companion, went off to the high mountains of Arizona. The bite was on! 

All kind of posts were going up showing these magnificent Browns all gorging themselves on the cicadas hatch.

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It is that time of year in Arizona, and we left a hundred degrees plus heat of Scottsdale to head into the cool mountains, anticipation was high!! We arrived ready with the latest flies on the creek after a two-plus hour drive. We decided to head down the creek to a new stretch we had not fished. We felt there would be much fish, not overfished as it is a trek to get where we wanted to go.

The weather was not helping it was hot and humid for the mountains, with thunder clouds overhead. After fishing for about four hours, we needed to get back to the truck to get some cold water out of our ice chest. Marc had hooked two browns only to lose them near the bank. I had struck out. Nothing!! There was no bug activity and very few fish rising. To offset that we had put on nymphs under our dry flies to hopefully attract that eighty percent of fish that feed under the water!  Didn’t you know!!

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Just as well we hit the truck because as we did the lightning and thunder rolled in around us, with a nice refreshing downpour of rain for about an hour. Really cooled things off. I am sure that due to the weather change, the fish change their feeding habits as well, but sometimes they go crazy and feed, and other times they hunker down. This was one of their days to hunker down.

After the rain let up and the lightening past on by, off we went again. This time Marc hooked a few browns only for them to spit out his cicadas fly, me again nothing. So plan B jump in the truck and drive up to some new water that had not been fished that day. I took the first pool, and Marc walked on higher. My pool was pretty clear but long and deep with some good root cover on the banks. I decided to stay on this pool, fly-fishing it from end to end, then resting the pool and go back. It was late in the day, I was pretty beat but did catch one small rainbow, missed a brown on the dry and missed another rainbow on the nymph. Marc lost a few browns on the dry, and that was that.

On the way out we did see a friend of ours that had fished on his own all day on a different part of the creek. He was just dry fly only. He caught nine browns the biggest being fourteen inches and eight rainbows. So that is why it is called fishing and not catching!!! Our buddy had a successful day using dry only, and we struggled with dry and nymph rigs.

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However good company, beautiful scenery who can complain. Tight lines, my friends!

Fly Fishing Etiquette.

Fly Fishing Etiquette.

What is the correct course of action?

Recently I was fly fishing a public stream in Arizona high country with a friend. We had parked at one point on this stream, arriving late around twelve lunchtime. Lucky for us no one else was parked or fishing. Setting off we fished a good stretch of this stream, fishing, leapfrogging each other on different runs and pools. On occasion, we would get separated or even go back over a pool that we thought might still have fish in if we fished a different setup. Great, pleasant day, enjoying each other’s company and the beautiful country we were fishing in.

Around four in the afternoon I started to move up from the run that I was fishing, my friend was still on a pool below me when I saw another fly fisherman had just moved onto the next pool above me. Not overthinking about it I started to walk past him making sure I was away from the stream, I did not want to spook fish for him. I also noticed there was another fisherman above him.

Turns out there were three of them as I learned later on in our conversation. In my mind, I was going to move up three or four runs above them to give them some clear water. It never came to that.

I hope this gentleman reads this post and contact me as the more I thought about it later, the more irritated I found myself getting.

He called over to me not in the friendliest way (he might be a nice guy, he might have grown up on this stream, he might be the best fly-fishing man on this earth, he might be an expert). He was an older gentleman, like me. The word being gentleman?

However, he asked me where I had parked, I told him, he asked me what time I started fishing, I told him. He told me that I was fishing to fast and that he would take much longer just to fish a quarter mile. He asked how many fish had I caught, I said plenty.

Then he told me he was fishing with some friends who did not get out very often and he would like to fish the stream above us with them on the water that had not been beaten up. He was not that polite to me, slightly confrontational.  Would I fish back down as there was not much water left above where he was starting out. Truth be told I really did not mind going back downstream to fish as I have often gone over streams that I have previously fished and done well.

The point on reflection is this, he jumped immediately on the pool up from me, leaving me no distance between our groups, I had been fishing all afternoon and did not see them until that moment, so I had no idea of their situation, yet I was the one that was supposed to change my day. Admittedly this is a small creek, but there are options. He could have turned around on seeing us and gone back to where we had parked and fished back up, however, he would say we had disturbed the water, even though hours had passed at that point. Of course, he could not know that!! He could also have parked where we parked and gone downstream as there are miles down that way as well. Again he would not know when and if it had been fished recently. But that is the point, we are out there who knows what happened on that creek before we all got there.

Who cares, that is the rub on fishing public waters. It is open to all, including all the cattle that on that day were also wading across at different points and time of the day when we were there! Still caught fish!!

I have fished many times following different groups that hit the water first. Still landed fish. 

There is always a choice open to you to make other plans for your day, given circumstances that appear that you did not foresee. In this case, we walked back down to where we had parked then moved further down and started fishing back up. Caught a few fish and missed one big brown that snapped my friend line off.

So why write about this? I guess as I get older, I would like to impart a few words of wisdom and share my experiences. It would have been so much better for both of us if he had approached me with a smile and come over and talk about our day and plans rather than give me an inquisition. I was also at this point not that friendly, does nobody any good and leaves a bad taste on an otherwise beautiful day.

You catch more fish with honey than vinegar!! Life is short, be pleasant!

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River Usk near Crickhowell Brecknockshire Wales Great Britain

On a quick trip home, i was able to sneak in five hours of Fly Fishing on the river Usk. My guide Justin Connolly, of Justfishin Fly Guide from the area had his work cut out for him. The day was rainy with a slight mist on the river from time to time. The river had some color and seemed to be rising.

 

We fished Dry with a nymph, then we fished a nymph under an indicator, finally using a very heavy nymph with a lighter one above, which we High Sticked  also casting into the faster moving water letting it drift down and swing around.

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There were a few fish rising for flies but not many. I was told yesterday had been much better with the weather being warmer and more hatches coming off the river. Such is lady luck!

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I was however lucky to just breath in the fresh air and enjoy my old country. I did catch one little wild brown so at least I was not skunked!!!!

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My guide did take a picture to prove but I have not been sent the picture yet. Honest!!!

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I grew up fly fishing smaller streams in Wales when I was young, so this was very nostalgic for me.

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 I now have two great guides to use in Wales, one Kim Tribe 

kim@flyfishingwales.com

http://www.flyfishingwales.com/

Unfortunately I did not have time to connect with him on this short trip, but highly recommended along with Justin@justfishin.co.uk 

http://www.justfishin.co.uk

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Both will be able to take you anywhere in Wales and the rest of the country. I learnt some new tips from both.

Although I think Justin had his work cut out for him as I was jet lagged  and my casting was terrible!!!!