Rivers of a Lost Coast and Oktoberfest

6 12 2009

Rivers of a Lost Coast was released on DVD a couple weeks ago, and If you didn’t get a chance to see the documentary in theaters I recommend getting a copy. It’s an amazing story that will quickly find a place in your heart. Justin and Palmer have totally out done themselves. This move should be seen by every Steelhead fishermen that ever fished, and especially by agriculture and Water agency’s. Tell all your friends, spread the word, cause the only ones that can save these fish is us. RELEASE WILD STEELHEAD!!!!

The Okoberfest was a huge success. Thanks to everyone that was able to join us, and especially to anyone that helped out. The Organization was able to raise enough money to get things rolling, and have many plans to do great deeds.

Jason Lozano, Mike Jones and company enjoying the festival

Being luck enough to have Tim Rajeff at the event was great, but having him give instructions was amazing. That man can cast like no other, and his not just a great caster, his fun to be around. He donated some of his rods to the raffle which made for some happy winners. If you haven’t had a chance go check out his line of Echo Fly Rods. Incredible rod for a incredible prize.

Tim Rajeff with fly line in air
Tim Rajeff with fly line in air
Tim Rajeff teaching the art of Spey Rods

The Raffle was a huge hit, from custom-built fly rods, guided trips, hand tied flies to a couple night stay a some local resorts. It was a blast and a ton of money was raised for restoration.

Raffle Table
Justin Miller fly's
Justin Miller fly’s
Custom-built TFO fly rod. tied by Nick Wheeler
Justin Miller spey flies. Kudos Justin, diffenitly one of the best tiers I've ever seen
Justin Miller spey flies. Kudos Justin, definitely one of the best tiers I’ve ever seen

It was a great event, and I hope to see you all again there at next years Oktoberfest.

Also I had to share one more Picture of the Smith River. Steve and Chris went back up after Thanksgiving had hammered on big fresh chrome fish.  Yet again I was holding down the fort, but I got my time in luckily. Fish On everyone, keep your fingered crossed for a big return on the Russian. I hope to see you on the water!!!

Chris Aff with a well bent rod


King’s of the Smith

1 12 2009
Bill Schaadt with a King Salmon on the Smith River. (King's Archive)

Bill Schaadt with a King Salmon on the Smith River. (King's Archive)

Ever Since I first started working at King’s, seeing the pictures and hearing the stories of the Smith River always intrigued me. Every fall Steve Jackson and Chris Aff would head up north to the majestic Smith River. A River filled with salmon so large it seemed more of a tall tale then truth.

Steve Jackson Smith River Salmon on the fly (King's Archive)

The Smith is nestled right on the boarder of California and Oregon. One of the last wild rivers in California it’s undimmed and most of the watershed is protected. It holds the state record for the largest steelhead and hosts some of the biggest salmon. The river’s average salmon is around 20 pounds and can produce fish in the 50 to 60 pound range.

Smith River   Photo by Nick Wheeler

Smith River Photo by Nick Wheeler

After rummaging threw all the old photos of Bill Schaadt and Grant King fishing on the Smith, and then seeing “River’s of a Lost Coast” I was determined to catch a salmon on my fly rod at the Smith. I prepared for months getting the right lines, tying the right flies, and finding a pram to borrow. It became a disease, “Smithgitis” Someone would come in the shop and bring up salmon and I’d get the shakes. Some how some way I was getting up there even if it meant closing the store down for a day or two.

Grant King Smith River Fly caught Salmon (Kings Archive)

The hardest thing was to hear the reports the days before I left. Huge fish being hooked, monster returns. Enough to make you go crazy…..

fly desk with superb organization

The moment my shift was done on the Sunday I was leaving I was on the road. My mind might have already been up there, but it took quite a few hours to drive up. Between three Starbucks, 2 monster truckers, and a pack of Jelly Beans I arrived up at the Ship Ashore Resort around 2am. I don’t know if it was all that caffeine or the excitement of fish, but I only slept for 2 hours that night. And for the First time of my life I woke up before the others. Normally for me it’s get up now or miss the boat.

Ship Ashore

Ship Ashore

The first day ended up being a scouting mission. Luckily I had some of the most knowledgeable guides to show me the spots. Steve and Chris drove me around pointing out put-ins, pull-outs, what sinking line to use at what river height, and pretty much where to land the fly. They unfortunately had clients the next couple of days and were going to be floating another section, and would be unable to join us.

Chris Aff getting ready..... for some dark side cureing

Smith River dawn, photo by, Nick Wheeler

The Second day I ended up fishing with Shad King Jim. I had high hopes that one of us was going to catch at least one fish. Throwing our prams on my Jeep we raced to the river. We couldn’t even get the boats off fast enough for my taste to start fishing. It’s the crack of dawn, fish are rolling, huge toads at that, and we row over and anchor up. Jim doesn’t even start pulling in on his second cast and FISH ON!!!       Wait,  wait,   wait……  I don’t even have my fly in the water yet and there a fish on, what’s this crap, I have to get in on this. Let me put this in perspective. My first cast Ever fly fishing for salmon and I hook up! That just doesn’t happen. This day was Epic! We ended up hooking 16 King Salmon that day, and fish into the 35 pound plus class. One of the best factors was we had the hole all to ourselves. It just doesn’t get any better, laughing like little kids as we rail on these fish. Jim had one fish on for 45 min, afterwards I thought he was going to have a heart attack, he took an hour rest before casting again. These salmon just had a little more of a punch then the Shad he was used to. This day will be in my memory for a long time, I just hope that there will be many more like it.

Shad King Jim with Fish ON!

Hell Yes Fish On. "Zen" self portrait

Small Jack King Salmon

Oh look a boot and there's me shoe too.

Oh look a boot and there's me shoe too.

King Salmon adult Smith River

The third day may not have been as good as before but a worth while experience. I was fortunate enough to fish next to Tom Ugrin, Chris Aff and Mike Jones. Tom was in the Movie, “River’s of a Lost Coast” and his reputation preceded him. That man was incredible, with hardly any effort I watch him hook 18 salmon in half of a day. It’s just amazing to watch that man fish. Being welcomed in and able to fish in a line up with great fly casters like that was worth the trip by it’s self. Seeing Mike and Jim catch there first Smith River Salmon, with grins ear to ear, laughs, joke, and most importantly all the sarcasm was better then hooking any fish.

Tom Ugrin and Mike Jone with a double header. Chris Aff on the sticks. photo by, Nick Wheeler

Tom Ugrin putting a real bend on a rod. photo by Nick Wheeler

Chris with a 40 plus King Salmon. battled over an hour. photo by Nick Wheeler

Chris Aff and Mike Jones battling a Chome Salmon

That’s the real point of fishing to me, the people around you, connecting on a level only found on a river.

Smith River at Ship Ashore. photo by, Nick Wheeler

Oktoberfest 2009 “RRWSS”

29 09 2009

Hi Everyone, It’s been one crazy summer, and lots of fun had by all. I’ve been slacking on my blogs with all the kayak trips going on at the shop, but believe me I’ve got some great tales coming up so stay tuned.

The Russian River Wild Steelhead Society is putting on this Event The Oktoberfest at the Sportsmen’s club in Duncans Mills. I highly recommend attending this, it’s going to be a blast. The Ticket includes food, such as Barbecue Tri-Tip with carmelized Onions ans an apple wine sauce, Smoked wild salmon mousse and Wild pork stuffed mushrooms. Beer donated by, Stumptown Brewery and Bear Republic and wine from local wineries. There is going to be a raffle with many great prizes, plus fly tying and casting demonstrations. The best thing of all is that Justin, one of the directors from “Rivers of a Lost Coast” will be there to sell his DVD and sign. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THE DVDs WILL BE AVAILABLE. Justin is been very kind and is giving $10.00 of every DVD sale to the Russian River Wild Steelhead Society. This is going to be a great Event I hope to see you all out there.  Please come out and support this wonderful new organization. Promoting a healthy river system and a sustainable fishery for generations to come!!!

To get ticket contact Kings Sport and Tackle (707)869-2156

Flyer Octerberfest 2009

Silver Bitchin the all American Shad Slayer

7 06 2009

There’s just something special about Shad fishing at Johnson’s Beach on the Russian River. Maybe it the hot weather, warm water, and a bunch of great guys all telling fish lies in between fish. Or maybe it the drunks and bums that gather on the beach in the afternoon. Most people are detoured by this, Not us Shad folk, you might say were disturbed enough to enjoy watching them stagger around collecting rocks and falling on there face, or the rare concert we are lucky enough to catch, which warns are hearts with such hits as, “I’m going to r$#% you b%^#” and “I have a huge d$#@, it’s as thick as a brick” I’m telling you there going to pop the charts! Hahaha ha ha!!! Mildly put, but it all keeps us laughing.


The Shad line up at Johnsons, With the "Shad King" second in from the left

The fly that started my complete obsession with shad, is so simple, yet so deadly it shouldn’t even be fair. “The Silver Bitchin” Heavily used by one of the best Russian River Shad Fishermen, The Shad King, which has one entire box just dedicated to the Silver Bitchins! This name originated from a angler, who used the fly on his first day shad fishing, and after catching many fish he proceeded to say, “This fly is Freaking BITCHIN!”

Silver Bitchin, tied by Nick Wheeler

Silver Bitchin, tied by Nick Wheeler

Now a wonderful thing about Shad fishing is that the more people that are around you the more fish are hooked, which makes everyone happy, and a great opportunity for insults to fly. I really love catching Shad but whats  even better is when you can get some that’s never caught one before to hook one. Shad aren’t the biggest fish in the world, but they just go nutts when you hook’em. Their nick name is a Pour man’s Tarpon, and once you get one on it’s easy to see why. Another great thing about Shad is there basically the window licker of the fish world, lucky for us they don’t have a short bus to take them upstream. They Daisy chain around in the hole tell either the sun goes down or there’s enough discolor in the water to move in the day. All you have to do is get something shiny or sparkly in front of there face and they’ll hit it like a ton of bricks.

American Shad

American Shad

On a good Shad year it’s not uncommon for a anger to hook 10-50 Shad a day. You can keep 25 shad, which is just disgusting, not necessarily the amount of fish but just they just smell something fierce, and have more bones then a boys high school locker room with a playboy . You might have better luck eating your fishing rod. Some people eat there Roe, but just no thank you. Half the anglers don’t even want to touch them. We try to shake them off before they get close enough to touch our waders.

Sunset at Johnson's Beach

Sunset at Johnson's Beach

Even if there’s a slow day of fishing you can’t beat the company, the great views, and the terrible jokes. I’ve found myself there almost every evening for the last month, and I couldn’t think of a better place to be! It’s an addiction almost as bad as Steelhead, but every other fish is just a fish between Steelhead! Stick Yes! Crazy Maybe! But just written the word Steelhead makes me Excited!!!!!! !!!

Jimmy Dean, "The Best Steelhead Guide in California's Coastal Rivers" with his first Shad!

Jimmy Dean, "The Best Steelhead Guide in California's Coastal Rivers" with his first Shad!

Cool little Shad on my 4wt.

Cool little Shad on my 4wt. with of course the Silver Bitchin

John Falk at Johnson's Beach, Guerneville Ca.

John Falk at Johnson's Beach, Guerneville Ca.

Flies, Salt and Crabs

5 05 2009

OK, so Yesterday my buddy John Falk gives me a call asking me if it possible to catch fish of the coastal rocks with a fly rod. I say yeah sure, I’ve heard people doing that, then BAM it hits me, Hell the Rivers Blown I’ve got the day off, Lets Go! “Do you have an idea what flies to use?” he asks. No idea but that hadn’t stopped me before!

Note: My Personal Goal is to catch rock fish off of my kayak on he fly. With kayak fishing closed to anglers this time of year this is the closest thing tell June 15th.

Bodega Head looking a little wet. nothing a little Gore-Tex can't fix

Bodega Head looking a little wet. nothing a little Gore-Tex can't fix

We arrive in Bodega with the idea of going out to the west jetty, the one problem is neither of us have ever been there. So off we go in search of the trail the bombs it’s way off the cliff to the jetty. Once out of the car and no trail in sight, I come up with, well… the quickest path between two points is a straight line, and threw the brush we go!

Over the hill and threw the woods to grandmother's house we go!!!

Over the hill and threw the woods to grandmother's house we go!!!

Now almost to the Jetty we discover, There is a Path. Opps! Well I guess I’ll just have to check for ticks later! There’s fishing to be done!

Getting now on the the jetty the water is perfect no wind and glass, just a little rain! We tie on a couple bait fish patterns and get to work. The wind ends up picking up a little but that wont stop us we’re steelhead fishermen. : )

fog, rain, and wind, and yet still fishing : )

fog, rain, and wind, and yet still fishing : )

We cast, cast and cast again, trying all the patterns and tactics we can come up with, but with no luck. I’m determined to hook something

So full hope still, but watch out those rocks are slippery!

I'm so full of hope still, but watch out for those rocks they're slippery!

All of the Sudden I hear John Super Excited! “Craps! I See Crabs, I’m gonna hook one!” and to my surprise moments later, Crabs on the Fly! Those Crazy Crabs went for it. They liked it so much That he caught two at the same Time! Who knew, this could be the new totally rad action packed sport. Fly Fishing For Crabs! Or maybe Not! LOL! and unlike the most commen crabs you get fishing, these ones don’t itch!!

Crab's on the Fly, but not the ones between your legs :P

Crab's on the Fly, but not the ones between your legs 😛

The best part of the whole day was when John didn’t have anything to put the crab into, so he decided to shove the crab in his chest pocket of his jacket. The Crab was still very alive mind you!

Well we didn’t get any fish, but what a fun adventure can be had when you throw fly fishing and crabs in the same sentence! Remember a bad day fishing is always better then a good day at work. Unless your getting paid to fish or talk about it! : ) tight line Everyone See yea on the water!

Old Kayak Surfing Video

24 04 2009

OK so I dug up some old video from about two years ago of Jahn, Jim and I Kayak Surfing. Mind you that is was thrown together with Windows Movie Maker and it was never really polished up. We still had a blast trying to figure out the camera and make everything come together. Plus we had someone new each time running the darn camera. Now that I got some great new software and some wonderful video, plus a dedicated camera person, I’ll try to put a more recent Montague together. Until then just enjoy this oldies!

Oh and this is a perfect example of why it’s a good idea to get out of the way when another boater steaming down a wave.

A wonderful kiss from a kayak. Note to self: next time, get out of the way!

A wonderful kiss from a kayak. Note to self: next time, get out of the way!

The Gathering of Great Steelheaders!

20 04 2009

To those who were able to be at The Sportsmen Club and enjoy the mass amount of people who were all  serious about Steelhead. It was truly an amazing thing. Seeing all of the old time anglers together under one roof, Lani Waller, Russel Chatham, Hal Janssen, Frank Bertania just to name a few was something just to be at awww with. It was also the kick off of the Russian River Wild Steelhed Assoc. This organization is focused on Restoration and Recovery of wild Steelhead! and with the help of all of us, maybe we can make a difference. We know these fish better then anyone, we spend countless hours and sleepless night just think how the heck were going to catch that next big fish, If we can put that same energy it to helping these  fish bound back on the road to recovery we will be able to secure the runs for generations to come.

The thing that saddens me the most was the fact the I was the youngest person there. The generation gap was huge, I’m 25 and almost everyone was 45 and up. We need to get the younger generation involved. We can’t win this battle by our selves, The next time you go fishing take your kid, your grandchild, your little brother and teach them conservation, show them the river and ocean and how it’s not just a swimming hole or a play ground, it’s a habitat where animal’s call it there home. See if there school has a “trout in the classroom program.” Get involved locally there are ton’s go great groups out there, Trout Unlimited, Fish First, Fly Clubs, CCA, and so many more.  The way we treat are watersheds now does not make them reusable. With proper regulations and care we can have are cake and eat it too. We can no longer turn are back from water polluters and gravel miners! We Say, “IT STOPS NOW!”

The Gathering of Great Steelheaders "Lani Waller, Russel Chatham, Hal Janssen, Frank Bertania...."

The Gathering of Great Steelheaders "Lani Waller, Russel Chatham, Hal Janssen, Frank Bertania...."

On a little less serious note remember that the quickest path between to points is not always a straight line!! Expecially when in btween that straight line is the River

A little too long of a night at the Sportsman Club!

A little too long of a night at the Sportsman Club!