Winter On The Russian River. Photo: Tom Enderlin


Those guys up north are gnarly....

So ive been "Off-Line" here for a week or more...fortunately ive got a good excuse, ive been fishing....for steelhead of sand carp down in the Bahamas...more like the North Umpqua winter game, for those of you who are not familiar with the NU or the "winter game" (or for those of you who think you know what you are doing...I know I did...and now I know I was doing it all wrong..)...The winter game on the NU goes a little like this: Big water, cold as fuck, wetter than if you jumped in the river...just get wet and get it over far as tackle.. Strictly two hander’s lined up with a 500something Skagit short (the pimp shit...) and minimum of 12ft of T-29...then on to the 10ft leader with a fly weighing heavy enough to measure its weight as a 1/4 ounce or something like that...1/8 was fucking heavy alright? (Not complaining...just saying the dudes who do it right up there are some damn gnarly motherfuckers...they play the game harder than most could even muster up on their best day)...if you know what im talking about then you know it was NOT lots of beautiful T&G casts launching my green-butt skunk down & across for that suicidal fresh steelhead to come up and eat it...If that’s your shtick then id head up to BC, to make this a bit more clear to those of you thinking "what the fuck is jack talking about...?"..Well I am talking a out steelhead fishing with a Tight line (swung fly) presentation, now "why is this so hard?" you may be wondering...well when the fish are where they are supposed to be and that there is at least one fish that wants to play "Tug-a-war" with for starters we have to find the fish...well that’s easy, they are 15 feet down under raging rapids...ok so we’ve found the how do you get that down and across green-butt skunk (with its bead chain eyes) down to those fish...Hmmmmmmm.....well, from what ive gathered from some time with someone who does this kind of shit 300 days a year...first, you say fuck the green butt skunk..Then you grab the heaviest sink tip you can throw (not cast.... throw with the tight loops here..Were fishing, not casting..Of course yes a good cast is better and I know you need to make every cast count...and I do...but im just trying my best to illustrate to those of you who can cast that when you’ve got this much junk on your rig that your going to get humbled. Bottom line...just go try it...I couldn’t make a 10ft cast the first morning and I thought I was a above average caster...)...tie on a nice long leader of some 30lb maxima down to some lighter stuff and then tie on your 4 inch long ****** (loose lips sink ships...) and throw that shit up stream and mend harder than you’ve ever tried... never once did I make a cast down stream...and out of 4 days fishing from 6am-8pm I got two grabs and a kelt that had half of its face ripped off by a seal (still smoked any other fish ive ever caught when it comes to pure strength and size)..This may sound shitty to some but I can honestly say I felt at home, since I caught my first steelhead I really have not looked back...I fished so hard that I only took one or two random photos with my phone and spent the rest of my time either tying flies or in my sleeping bag trying to stay warm in the un-heated "Guide-Shack" I was staying in...I can’t wait to get back up there, let alone get on any steelhead river. This trip to me was a huge leap in my growth as a steelhead fisherman, not only did I get two fish to smack my massive swung fly but I also learned about as much about how to effectively fish for steelhead with a swung fly as you can without dedicating 20 years of your life to it.... and I can tell you that from here on out I will be putting in "Time", Ive vowed to fish for steelhead at least 30 days from may until august.... and im going to do it...At this point in my life I would rather save the gas money to go fish for trout so that I can hop in my car when the time is right and just go on a serious steelhead bender up north... This was more of a check in, as you can see im still a bit too pumped up to write anything without the chaos of my passion for steelhead fishing running any chances of reaching a semi-normal human being… more coming, with pictures…ive been busy making sure that this blog will have plenty of content (meaning me going fishing more than a few times a week…and taking pictures.)…Ill be up photographing some of the late winter run fish spawning on my local river this week so hopefully ill be able to share some cool inspiring content.


Its been a few days...

This is what I want to be doing come Monday- Photo: Matt Koles
Id like to say Ive been "Busy" and that's why I have strayed from posting but its actually the opposite. I have had nothing but time on my hands...No work, shitty weather (when the rivers are closed...) and the fact that I completely trashed my knee a week ago has made for days of nothing but hope that I can walk and that the flows will drop into place so I can go on my trip...if there is a higher power out there..HELP!!... I have been planning on heading up to Oregon now for a month or more and I was supposed to be on the road today...after talking to my friend up there its looking like the river is way too high to be on the water tomorrow...Fingers crossed that the flows drop (cue higher power) to fish able levels and I can squeeze a few days on the water with the guru of deeply sunk swung flies.

So you might be asking.." did you hurt your knee?"..well because it has to do with a fly rod I will go ahead and tell you...I am going to go ahead and break it down...all the way back to the big bang- So It all started when I drove up from Santa Cruz last Tuesday to check out the Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T), so I came up and decided that Id just stay until it came time for me to head north...well finally I was less than a week away from my trip and so stoked...Because I was going to have a shot at some days on the water I and had nothing to do here in Marin...I went crazy trying to make sure I was all prepped for the I started by re-waterproofing a bunch of my shells and jackets with Nik-wax...normally id be doing this outside but it had been raining for the better part of a week and was still raining.. so I was forced to waterproof them in my room, I didn't think about the combination of the wax and the hardwood I went ahead and waterproofed all my shit and went off to do something else... a few hours later my mom then told me that sage sent me a rod and its in my room... I took off running in excitement to open it up and see what it was, of course I ended up slipping on the waterproofing residue that had gotten on the floor, my knee went into the door hinge with all 170lbs of me behind it...I went down immediately and couldn't move my leg, here I am 4 days away from my trip and Im on the ground in the most physical pain ive ever experienced...FUCK...that's all I could think and say...I knew I fucked my knee up bad and my world collapsed around me here I am... ive been laid up ever since with an icepack and my computer..if you know me at all, you ll know Im horrible at being injured...all I can do is hope that my leg heals and that I get a phone call Tomorrow morning from Scott saying.. "Jack..its on! Get up here!"...cause this morning I had my car packed and got the call that said "river isn't looking good for Sunday..."...normal people would probably be ok with this...But again my world collapsed around me, like a junkie stuck in jail... I am loosing my mind, I need my fix and Steel head fishing has become my life in a matter of 6 went from "Ill fish for it all" to "Steelhead....steelhead....steelhead.."...for me its steelhead 24/7..


Steelhead Withdrawl...

Its been over two weeks now since my last steelhead and I am starting to feel the withdrawl symptoms...Its an say the least, its one of the few things in life that can shut the little voice inside my head up...Its a high, not always a consistent one but its a high...sure its not all butterflies and fairy's when I am on the river....I do get pissed off while I'm fishing, but its the kind of anger that makes you work harder, not the kind that makes you feel hopelessly stuck with time to kill, I guess that's the withdrawl...the feeling of "What the fuck am I doing..." or just waking up with no drive because you know that you cant get to the river that day and even if you could, the chances of running into a fish are slim (at least where I am at the moment). I hate the idea of wasted time and in an effort to build upon my skills as an angler every day in some way, shape or form, with that being said- my recent days have been spent in preparation for my trip to Oregon...and when I break it down in my head (the- what will limit my experience that I have control over at this moment..)I think of presentation and what goes hand in hand with presentation...Casting... The cast is one of the few things you have control over when it comes to fishing...sure bad casts catch fish but so do good casts, You tell me...what feels better..a big loop less pile of line flying through the air to coil on the surface or a precisely timed cast that can send you deep into your running in an effort to battle my withdrawl and steelhead depression I've been spending hours of casting practice on a local lake...perfection is my goal and with that in mind its all hard work and every cast that does no straighten out makes that little voice in my head get louder and louder...while every cast that feels right leaves me with the muted silence of perfection and the feeling of purpose...its a bi-polar experience to say the least..this whole casting practice thing...all I can hope is that is will fill in the gaps and hopefully all of the frustration and anger from a bad cast will motivate me to step back and slow down and examine what just happened....  to figure it all out... everything from the anchor, the tear to the stroke..its all equally important and with any weakness in the package you ll feel it...shit you ll see it laid out in front of you.

What have I learned from this withdrawl...what do we as anglers have control over in like (the young guys like me who have no family to take care of and no job to be at.)..we have the ability to move, to change our surroundings to better suit what we do..this is a big reason that I am moving at the end of the I can fish every day...and hopefully where I am going in OR is just that, sure I'm fine with spending many fish-less days challenged to the brink of insanity..that beats boredom and not fishing....Ive done my time working hard to get to my fish, now I'm ready to live on the challenge myself in new ways..Ill drive...Ill hike..even if its for a small trout, as long as the possibility is out there..that's enough to keep the serotonin in my head flowing.