Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ed Abbey: Jan 29th, 1927 - March 14, 1989

"Benedicto: May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you --- beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. "
- Cactus Ed

Friday, January 18, 2008

Classic Steelhead Flies with Dec Hogan

The last two Wednesdays I had the opportunity to hang out and tie flies with renowned steelhead guide, author and fly tyer Dec Hogan. Thanks to Matt and Steve at Western Rivers for putting the class together. This was a real treat.

The first night we tied a simple purple hair wing fly that Dec calls "No name summer fly" and another fly I am really excited to fish, the stealhead Muddler. Both are featured in Dec's new book "A Passion for Steelhead."

The second week we tied a traditional Spey style fly with a bronze mallard wing, and also learned how to tie hackle tip wings, as well as Dec's own unique and simple marabou creations.

It was an honor to hang out with Dec and tie some really beautiful flies. Dec firmly believes that beautiful fly patterns enhance the experience of fishing for these incredible sea run fish, and his patterns reflect a wide range of styles, from classic to modern. Not only that, these patterns consistently take fish from Alaska to Idaho, the Gaspe, even the Great Lakes.

If you fish for steelhead, go buy Dec's book. If you don't, do it anyway. This book is destined to become the bible for a new generation of anglers looking to make their steelhead dreams come true (like me.) Dec also has a fly tying DVD coming out soon, which we got a glimpse of, and it's really cool.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A New Year

2007 was perhaps the most exciting year I can remember. Highlights included winning the Grand Canyon lottery (Jerry power!), completing my 1st Grand Canyon transit as a passenger (in a home built dory no less), finishing my own dory, and successfully piloting it through Desolation Canyon literally hours after it's completion. Of course, none of this would have been possible without a lot of help and guidance from my friends: Larry, Dave, Bug, and countless others. I can't help but feel blessed, to have been able to accomplish everything I have this year.

2008 is already shaping up to be another incredible year. The permit gods have smiled on me and my friends once again, granting Ray a sweet mid-April Deso launch, and me one of the most coveted permits of the year for Desolation Canyon - Sunday, May 25th - the day before Memorial Day.

But with all the good luck I've been having I decided to aim high, so I also submitted an application for a permit to float the Yampa, during this same early-season, high-water, memorial day time-frame. If this permit falls in my lap (HIGHLY unlikely, but then again so was winning the Grand Canyon lottery on my first try) I will of course have to forgo the Deso launch and float the Yampa. But having the Deso launch now in the bag, I am very excited for a great start to the boating season.

In March, I will be attending an intensive week-long fly fishing guide school, where I will (hopefully) pick up the skills and make the connections I need to land a good first gig as a guide, when the time comes to move on from the Wilderness fight.

2008 may very well see me start a new dory project as well, which I am equally excited about, and I will likely sell the "Desolation" boat to a worthy boatman, if one can be found, to make room.

This is just a peak at what lies in store for 2008. I hope you will check back often and follow along with what promises to be another incredible year.