Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Our Two Hands Trailer

video
Something cool soon to be out. Would be something all steelhead anglers in the Northwest should see...So check it out!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

In memory of Knut Syrstad

Knut and I having a laugh in San Fran
Knut Syrstad was one of the most amazing men I have ever had the privilege of meeting. Knut has a twin brother Trond, together they ran, and Trond still does a fishing school in Norway. These men were born to cast and fish two handed rods. Their physical stature is what I pictured the famous Vikings of old lore to look like. Tall men with propitiate mass, very impressive specimens indeed.


I first met Knut in 2009 in San Francisco at the world famous SOR (Spey-O-Rama). Even then he had already been diagnosed with testicular cancer. That first year you would not have noticed it. The Viking launching cast after cast into the far pond was impressive even then. He was quiet and had a very soft demeanor. Nice and kind he seemed to be more focused than almost all the other caster. Not knowing at the time that his mind may have been other places. In the finals he seemed to let his nerves get to him, now being there and not even close to the caster at that time I just stood in amazement of all the casters. Knut and Gordon, Andrew, Gerard, Rauri, these boys seemed un-touchable compared to anything I had ever seen.


Water at his knees is at my waist, and such power!!! 

Knut stayed steady and quiet. That year was a learning experience for me but even the vets folded under the pressure, Knut ended up 5th. Only after the fact did I finally understand the medical situation that Knut was going through. Year in and year out, he kept casting. I crawled through the Internet looking for scores and info from the other Spey comps in the world. Knut’s name kept coming up always right there in the hunt. This big Viking was relentless in his pursuit of the perfect cast and a championship finish.

The 5 years now of competitive Spey casting have gone by in the blink of an eye for me. I can say that I remember more about the people and the situations than that of any particular casts. Knut’s was a very funny guy light hearted. I can remember cracking jokes with him on the cat walk between the ponds at the Golden Gate Ponds. I can remember him giving me small bits of confidence when I really did not know what direction to go.

Knut’s inspiration goes much further than that. I believe that Spey casting kept him alive over the past couple years, his love of two-handed casting. Never being able to have the chance to cast at 100%, or even 75% he was still able to compete with the best casters in the world. Knuts was able to rise to the challenges at hand, even under the pressure of having brain cancer. If I or any other caster or person I know had the determination or fortitude, we would never fail. I can say I saw him as a winner for being there, let alone stepping to the plate and making casts in his condition.


The fun side of a miraculous human being.

I hardly slept the night I found out about his death. We have lost more than part of our casting or fishing community; we have lost a hero and an inspiration. I write this with the utmost respect and, am humbled by one of the greatest men I have ever met, Knut Syrstad.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Spey Nation 2014, and trout report.


Coming up quick!! I cant wait to be there.
 Not long now and I will take a break from the Trout angling and be back on the Salmon River in New York. Hanging with my buddy Patrick Ross at the Anglers Lodge. I am honored to be presenting again and seeing all the Spey casting enthusiasm in a different part of the World. I will be giving classes for those wishing to get some instruction, on both Friday and Sunday. The classes will be 4-5 hours (or as long as it takes) and will be open in forum as general and as advanced to fit the needs of each participating caster. See you all soon. For classes contact me at speycaster@hotmail.com


Dry flies are fun!!
As for the trout fishing on the Deschutes right now. It has been good!! A few more caddis hatches and we are back to Summer Steelhead!!!! If you are wanting a trip with me down the river this summer sooner than later... I will be ready. Get out and fish folks!!!

Hooked up and put the wood to another Redside.

Classic Redside!

That's the good habitat.

Sometimes we fish nymphs for trout...and it works too.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My trip to Texas...Redfish are AWESOME!!!!!

Not my first but a nice Redfish.


Tailing Reds at about 125 feet. The meaning of nervous water.
Stepping into a flats boat is like getting into a race car. The low to the water view, compounded by any ocean breeze amplifies the experience. 30 MPH feels like 50MPH. The first mornings drive was awesome, bird life was out and amazing. From the channel in the bay, we turned out into what seemed like open ocean along a barrier of mangroves. The shipping traffic in the area is huge, and the flats boat seemed like a mosquito compared to the massive ships. I spotted just a small niche in the mangroves and we ripped across the water.  With a wide left turn, we swept in to a channel in the mangroves 15 feet wide,  as we proceeded there were all kinds of birds busting out of the water and bushes. I felt the oncoming deceleration of the engine. The small channel opened up into a massive flat lined with black mangroves. The wife and I battled for first up…she won, as she insisted that I was first up. After listening to Billy’s guide words of wisdom, we started poling.  My eyes were not quite ready for this, but I tried to spot anything I could. 

Striaght to the backing!!!

Billy’s voice sounded from the back…”We got tailing red at 10 O’clock, 80 feet”. My eye started to move to find the fish. “70 feet, do you see them Travis??” I replied, “not yet”. “ 60 feet, point your rod out…more right stop”. “I see them, I got these boys,” I thought to myself. “Ok get ready” Billy said. “Cast, cast, put it right on them”….I cast, but short …picked it back up boom!! Right on them, one strip and the line tightened up….Billy’s voice muttered from the rear of the boat. “No good,” he said. “What I said?” “You foul hooked him.” “What??? How often does that happen,” I asked?” Never, been guiding out here since 1992 and you’re the first” Billy said. Odd I thought to myself.
The tail colors are the best part of the fish.

The next opportunity was just around the corner, a large group of tailing reds was heading right at the boat. 75 feet and closing… “Cast” Billy Said, “don’t be short,” I was short, Damn it…”pick it back up” He insisted. I picked the fly up for another cast, this time long. “Strip quickly,” Billy tells me. I hit the gas… The second strip and the line started coming tight. I started to strip, and out of habit I lifted the rod tip. There was a moment of silence, and then I felt the boat list. Billy was coming down from the poling platform. He walked along the edge of the gunnel until he stood in front of me…”don’t do that again”. His words were soft and to the point. “Ok, no problem” I replied.

Doug lands and multi spotter!! Every fish is very unique.

We rounded the next set of mangroves…my eye went back to pursuing the water. In the back of my mind, I was telling myself not to mess up again. We poled approximately another 100 yards, and there they were… “Tailing Reds at 250 feet,” Billy announced. My eyes drift out and started to try to focus...”200 feet…175 feet,” I see them and I am ready.  Once the fish hit 70 feet and closing I let it rip.  The fly touched down, strip, strip …the line was missing!!!! I found it, pulled the line tight and the butt of the rod to my chest.  The line ripped out and was straight to the backing.  Redfish don’t jump, but they do skim across the water so fast they leave a streak of broken water behind!!! After a couple long runs and bit of tug-a-war, we corralled the fish next to the boat. My first Redfish, it was awesome!!!!

Best bird life I have ever seen anywhere.


This meal was unreal!!!! All the food there was really good.
The rest of the day, we took turns casting at pods of Redfish. Sometimes it was fast paced, and others it was slow, but what type of fishing isn’t, let alone fly fishing. As the day pushed on, we got to know our guide better, he is a great guy and an AWESOME guide.

Even the small ones pull hard!

The next 2 days were slower by comparison, mainly because of the weather. We had clouds, thick ones. These types of conditions on the flats take away any visibility at distance. Instead of spotting them at 70 feet it was all you could do to see them at 25 feet.  With so little time to think, casting had to be quick and accuracy was at a premium.  Shots were very fast, and many chances were blown. Myself, and all the other anglers were subject to the “trout set.” Anyone who says there is no such thing as “tail fever,” hasn’t spent many days on the front of a flats boat. Not to make excuses, but it was tough and the guides knew it too.  We managed to catch some Reds, and find a few Ladyfish as well.

Releasing a big Red.

We had great days fishing for Redfish, comparing notes each night over plates of the area’s fantastic food!! Unreal Italian food, the local flavors were wonderful and the amount or choices in the eateries was another great surprise. My favorite meal was the 16 oz. Pork chop!!!! Covered in demi glaze and portabella mushrooms, damn, just thinking about it makes me want it again.


Looking good, having fun and sporting the gear.

The required equipment was simple. A good 8wt, a fresh leader for each day, flouro tippet around 18#, and a good selection of flies…This is always the question right. White and or chartreuse were the best, and easiest to see. I always try to see things from a guide’s perspective…white flies could be seen from a distance by both angler and guide. You knew instantly where your fly was as well as if, and how far you needed to move it.  So, I hope that helps. The last thing was accommodations, everything was easy to find and close to where we stayed. All and all the trip was awesome, and I am counting the days until I can go back.

My bigest Redfish at 28 or 29 inches. On the secret fly....shhhhhh

What worked for me? I am going to give you a list of things I had that I felt were worth bringing. 

RODS: I used a few rods while fishing for Reds. My two favorites were the G.Loomis 890 NRX, and the New Beulah Opal 890. Both rods made life easy. Both exceled at short casts and picking up lots of line for long casts, everything that all-around flats rods should be. Both of these rods would make great bonefish rods as well.

One of my favorite photos from the trip.

LINES: This was the easiest choice. WE all had and used RIO’s Red fish line. This is the best all-around general flats line on the market.

Doug into a hot one...

REELS: The most popular reels were Hatch and Nautilus. The Hatch  5+ or the Nautilus FWX were both perfect for the job!

You need sharp hooks their mouths are tough. Plus if you look close you can see the crushers.

FLIES: Trimble’s Blind Chicken Black/White, and Chart/Pink, Trimble’s Foxy Chicken Yellow/Red and Chartreuse. Borski’s Bonefish Slider, Rattle Fish (Chartreuse), Kwan’s Chartreuse, Trilobal Crabs, Clousers(Chartreuse/White), Colby’s Corona Toads both Copper and Gold, Redfish Rations.

Good fly selection helped!

OTHER STUFF THAT WAS HELPFUL: Good Sun Glasses (Costa, or Smith). A Buff of some kind, you need it to keep from getting sun and wind burns. Simms Stone Cold Shirt was Awesome, guys from the Northwest over heat easy, this made it better. Mono Leaders with Fluorocarbon tippet, RIO leaders, Frog Hair tippet, Pliers, Nippers, Hook Sharpener, and chap stick.  Not to forget, having the right stuff is what make or breaks a trip.

Billy our fearless guide. Good guy too

CONTACT INFO: Billy Trimble Kick Ass Texas Flats Guide. 361-205-1266 and at http://trimbleflyfishing.com/

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sandy still has a few around...With stone flies around the corner!!

Rich color of a healthy Deschute Redside!!!

All the "HOT" ones find a way out to the middle and down river.

Just have to be in the correct habbitat.

Fresh Chromer on the Sandy....And Chinook on the way.
Well it is now the time of year where you can go fishing for just about any fish the state has to offer. we are Maybe 10 days out from the beginging of the Big Bug Hatch.... Just a guess but a good one if you were wondering. Hope everyone is getting out fishing, if not shoot me an email and we will fix that!! 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

SOR and the FN Animal.



The main event
Now sitting at work processing the last 2 weeks. Thing went really fast and I honestly have not thought a lot about what happened. I won SOR... the 6th time I have attempted to do the job, 5 times in the finals and 4th was the closest I had ever been before. I have been to a lot of different cast comps in a few different countries, there is nothing like Spey -O Rama. Nothing!

Looking back now I can tell you how things went. I needed a new rod, so I got a hold of Mr Bruce & Walker USA Gene Oswald. Talk with him about getting a blank from Brian Potter, graphite wizard we will call him. These kind of thing take time, so I was not thinking about competitive spey casting until the last week of January when the blank arrived... and it had some bounce in the bottom end!!!

Still making the world best comp rods!!!

Setting the wrapping and rod finishing up with my boy, Bruce Berry. I met up with him 2 or 3 time to get all the details worked out. Another 7 weeks went by and the rod arrived 8 days before SOR. The rod looked perfect and now I just needed a line to cast on the weapon... I received a new Gaelforce Equalizer in the mail with 6 days to go. Two casting sessions of 30-45 mins and she felt pretty good, tied it off and got 4 more goes with the new set up and off to San Francisco.

Big rod in the drying rack.

Bruce at 2:30 am working on my rod.

Leaving the Portland area at about 10:30 pm Wednesday night with my friend Steve Gomes we were off. He was up first so I took to sleeping. I awoke in Ashland, OR. We got gas and then back on the road. I took over at the wheel. Steve was out and away I went setting the cruise at 72 and in what seemed like no time the sun was up and we were in Vacaville. Steve was awake and the turn to 37 was ahead only an hour now buddy you ready? I asked. Stretching he said yep.

The FN animal!! Finished

We pulled into the parking lot of the Golden Gate Casting and Angling Club at 15 mins after 9. Sliding into my waders and topping off my caffeine intake with a fresh can on Mt Dew... to stabilize the 5 hour energy and 36oz of coffee I had already consumed. Quickly seeing that the odds of getting many go's in the main pond were out. 2 if you were lucky and waited around all day.


Waiting my turn in the pond with my new weapon.

My first goal was to get my bearings in the pond and not worry to much about distance. Being acquainted with the surroundings is an important thing. Feeling comfortable where you are is a big part of casting well. Next since I had a lack of practice I was intent on feeling how the line released off the water. If the line feels like it jumping off the water and cleanly touches down and lifts off, the cast will go far if those things don't happen, not good distance.


Setting up for the big day.

What seemed like the mere hours went by and it was Saturday. Standing on the lawn in front of the club house drawing straws to chose casting order. 26, damn...Not first and not last. I do hate to wait. At first I was just sitting back watching the other casting and taking the event in. Soon that changed I noticed that some of the casters were rushing and making poor cast choices...Not going to be me. I started watching all the subtle keys to my surroundings and noticing when they were good and when they were saying not to cast. My number drawing closer....I had to take walk, take my mine off casting. I just don't want to over think the casting, I have done this in the past. So I took a walk and cleared my head... The park is a beautiful place easy to get lost and clear your head. Also walking in your waders helps keep your muscles lose and warm even with all the odd looks I got from the local joggers.


Returning to the ponds...number 23 was in the pond. Getting real close now. I grabbed my rod and went and checked in at the equipment check. Measuring the rod and leader, plus testing the line to make sure it actually floats. Then and only then can you receive your special fly. I told the man to pick me a winner. He said he does not take the kinda responsibility, I cant blame him. I looked in to the secret Altoids can spotted one that had one fiber longer than the rest....that one should be easy to spot again. Looping it on to the end of my leader I stepped into the pond and started to warm up. No big stuff just make the casts smooth and clean. Feel the line leave the water clean!!!

That is perfect hand and anchor position!!


15 total casts and then to the left side.... 25 was half way through his time. I better get to the edge and be ready. Congratulating the man in front of me. Tossed my line from the west pond into the main pond. the time starts when you step into the pond. Being ready before hand is a big deal, keeps your head straight. I thought I would tense up once out there but to my surprise I was really calm. Getting my shooting head straight and then making sure I had all my running line out and in order. I made two short warm up casts. I took a good look at my keys.... "I am READY", I said to the time keeper. Started with a left snake roll. 168 the judges called out. Not a bad way to start...Not what I was after but a good start. Then a right snake roll...178 that's more like it... Then the wind changed... checking my keys I notice all were in the unlikely position... So I waited, and waited for what seemed like a month... So I tried to get off a left single. The wind grow worse during my lift and rotation... 119 damn, wasted a cast. No more of that. So I set back up for the left snake roll and told myself to just start over at the beginning of my casting sequence. I set up my line and waited some more. the third time I set my line the conditions started to change. I was ready and with a slow lift and perfect anchor I sent the cast away... 176!!!! That's the stuff. Right Snake next, setting the line twice and feeling the line through the rod tip the entire cast and load fully against the water, felt good. I just tapped the cast away, felt like I barely hit it. Cast came off the water at what seemed like a thousand mile per hour. looking down I noticed the 130 foot mark on my running line was headed out through the guides... I quick let go with my top hand extending my arm and leaning over the bar as far as I could the running line clicked out fully... Felt super good. I over heard the judge calling the score into the announcer....198. That can't be right, I thought to myself ...178,188 that's what he said... The loud speaker announcement came 198!!!! The crowd screamed. I had made big casts in practice but even I was almost in disbelief. A New World Record!!!! My mind snapped back to reality. I only have 3 scored casts and a total of around 500. That's not going to even qualify me. Next was the left single.... this was the cast I was most concerned with. easy lift rod tip good and high, smooth sweep and away. I watched as the line clear the wall 173, was called out that is more like it defiantly better than 119. All I need was one more good cast, a right single spey. Historically the worst of my competition casts, why I have no idea, nut I have never scored very well on my right single. Not thinking about it to much I just set it down and Boom right into the cast. The anchor landed perfect...I leaned into it followed with the hands. Away it went...Felt good, it seem to be in the air forever.... Over the wall. Watching the judge get back in to the far pond, I knew my work was done for Saturday. 174 was called out, I did the other casts knowing I was going to advance to Sunday, you cant win SOR on Saturday!!
Can't load a rod much deeper with out busting it.

Leting a big cast fly.

Thats the new mark 198!

Walking out of the pond, I still was in a haze and was confronted by the other competitors and spectators. Big hugs and high fives, cheers and heads nods followed. I still did not even know my total...I almost did not even go look the the screen to see. The walk to the teleprompter was long...maybe I should just wait, I thought to my self. A crowd surrounded the screen...I peeked over the shoulders of a couple folks. 721 damn that's a good total, and another world record... I should have been happier, but my thought were stuck on Sunday and all that is for not if I could not finish strong.

Qualifying round scores

I walked back to my pile of stuff and got out of my waders and grabbed some lunch and sat down and watch the other casters finish the qualifier. My mind was in a cloud, to be honest all I could think about was the next day. Another walk that's what I need!!!! While I was walking not thinking about spey casting (yeah right)...I asked my self why I thought I cast so well and did not fall prey to rushing or making poor decisions. I was calm and patient, never crossed my mind to fail, I had no doubt....that's what I needed. I should not dwell on that days score but the approach I had that caused me to cast so well.

Another casting session in the big pond and a few goes in the west pond and I felt a lot better. Weather it was true or not, I had this odd feeling that all the other competitors were watching my every move and they seemed to know I was going to win. Tomorrow would tell I told myself. After a great dinner and a beer at my host families house, Thanks Mike! In bed by 8:45 was right to sleep too. But became restless around 2 am... forced myself to keep my focus and was in and out of sleep for the next few hours. In the shower at 5:45, fresh and headed to the Java by 6:30. Steve and I grabbed a bite and my normal Americano. I set eyes on the pond that morning, mist and a cloudy sky...not a puff of wind. Perfect I told myself, and it was. I got in the pond for a go before the Casters meeting started, no big casts. In fact I only had 150 feet of line out. I just wanted to stay smooth and clean a feel the line release off the water. Felt great all the casts jumped off the water and hit the reel. I was as ready as I was ever going to be. I then took my morning walk and stayed warm and loose.


They should sponcer me!!!

The time to draw straws had come. Number 5...That sounded better than 1 or 10. I when a strung my new weapon. jumped into the west pond and made 3 of all the casts, felt great. The minutes were flying by, I would be up real quick. Over to equipment check....time to pick my fly. taking a good look...OH yeah there was my guy, the fly with the one long fiber. Number 3 was already up, damn it is flying by. In the blink of an eye I was on deck. My line laid out straight in the west pond ready for the flip into the main pond. I made the toss and stepped in. Yeah back out for the introduction, the time tells me. I was so lost in my mind that I had not even been awarer of the caster introductions. I noticed a knot in my line so I stripped it in and fixed it. I never hear a single thing they had to say. I jumped in the pond and marched to the station. focused on staying calm. Made to warm up casts and shot zero running line. Setup my line and announced I was ready, "Start the clock". Right off the first cast was 172... great start!! My right snake lift smooth... good anchor....Damn the running line slipped!!! 146, not bad considering. Left single was next, 178 that was the cast I was worried about. I noticed while retrieving the line that there was a slight change in the conditions. Now was the time to make good choices. So again began the waiting game.... Again it seems like forever when the timer is running but with 3 scored casts and around 4 mins left I stayed calm. The wind shifted and was coming off my right shoulder, back to my lefts. Left single was already 172, so I did not put much thought to adding to that casts score. 176 was announced, 4 more feet cant hurt in the toughest comp in the world. I will take every inch i can get on Sunday!!! The breeze from the right died down. I knew i need a right single to have a score on all 4 cast. Rolled it out to the left and made sure the line judge gave me the go ahead it was in bounds. the lift seemed like a fishing cast and the anchor perfect, out in front and fully loaded. Over the wall it flew, 176!!! That's the stuff Travis!!! Now I had 4 on the board. But around 670 was not going to be enough I thought but my right snake was still to come... Checked my keys and seemed fine. Let it fly felt great coming off the water but the line flight changed out over the water. then I felt it... Damn head wind. I awaited the score...168. Trying to do some quick math, I knew I was around 700. The rest of my casts I tried to make the best with the time and conditions I had. Never got the chance for another really big cast.

Scores from the finals!!


Back to the waiting game...It is amazing how your internal clock can change when the situation changes. The fast mental pace I was in had now slowed to a crawl. I made my way to see the scores. before I could even get a look my phone was buzzing. I had about 10 txt messages. Marty Sheppard was the first I read. That score will do brother!!!! I hoped it would hold!!! But what was my score?? How did he know so fast?? 698 I read on the monitor, That will do it I told myself. I walked into the club house and grabbed a bottle of water... I need to take another walk a get away from here!! Now there were only 4 casters left, the wait and watching would kill me. So a short walk took. Never doubting now becoming more and more confident I had done the biz. I had walked about 1/3 of a mile when I have finally believe that yes I was going to win the Spey -O-Rama. The biggest casting title in the world!!! All the trips down and all the hours of casting and time spent with lines and rods. money spent...Every second and dollar worth it, this was the moment that all my Spey casting had come together.

I walked back and slide out of my waders. 2 casters remained and one of them was in the pond half way through their set. I walked up to the club house and noticed they had my drink of choice, My Dew. I popped the top and sat back. The minutes seemed to be crawling past but I found comfort in my performance and my Mt Dew was one of the most satisfying one I can remember drinking. The last cast of the men's final was made and inside I was spinning!!! I stayed as calm as I could, did a good job too. I thought about my family, I would have loved my wife and daughter to have been there. I knew they were as excited as I was.

Never has the Champagne tasted so good!!
Not came the hugs and high 5's...big congrats!! I want to thank everyone who ever believed in me!! I want to thank all the competitors for pushing each other and pushing the limits of the casting!! I want to thank the GGACC, for putting on the greatest casting event in the world!!! All my friends and clients that sent me emails and txts with congrats. I now finally realized what I have accomplished and for what it is worth I on top of the world. I tip my hat to Mr Grant as the first and only to surpass the 195 foot mark with a 15 foot rod. I will continue casting because all I can think about now is...

200 FN feet! I can't wait for 2015

Monday, April 7, 2014

Spey-O-Rama

Well here I sit facing a computer and in 5 days the largest Spey casting competition in the world is waiting for me. With about 3 practices under my belt, I ask myself is it better to be lucky than good... My gut make no reply. All the things on my plate this year and wild weather and guide calender SOR was delayed at least in my mind.
The place the magic happens.

As a competitor I have been here before, on the brink of something bigger than I will ever be and my singular moment awaits my arrival. I have risen before and after what I have put into this this year I will know if I am just lucky or good. The competition will be loving what I am writing, as it seems I am under prepared. Maybe I am, only time will tell and in the past as prepared as I thought I was, nothing matters but how you feel Saturday morning. If Sunday is in my cards we will all know in 5 days!!!


The "New" weapon... We will see what she is made of. Named it the FN Animal.

Who ever ends up on top of the heap, that person has earned it. SOR is a big deal and stepping into that pond is as never racking as anything I have ever done. Wish all of the competitors luck, we can all use that. Watch your computers and see who makes there mark this year, but don't rule me out! Thanks for all that support casting events, we need this to grow, it will drive our sport into the future!