Thursday, December 29, 2011

A 'Shit Load' of Fun in British Columbia

Count me fortunate. Not only did I get to spend most of last Winter in B.C. skiing one of it's best Winter's in years, I also got the invite from the guys at Montana Fly Company to come up to Fernie, B.C. to fish for football sized Cutties and beastly Bulls.

This would be my first time target Bulls, my first meeting with all the ladies and gentlemen of MFC and as it would turn out...the first time with food poisoning so bad that I wouldn't eat for 3 days, sleep for 14 hours a day and yes, folks...shit my pants. Now this may seem like quite the revelation on the internet, but I don't really care, because as the infamous bumper sticker of the 70's and 80's said, "Shit Happens". And regardless, it makes for quite the hilarious story.

So to start off the week, and where I think this whole food poisoning scenario started off, I hopped a plane from Reno to San Fran (don't eat at Boudins!) to Whitefish, Montana.

After an afternoon post flight excursion to the Flathead River with the infamous @OutsideHilary and @OutsideShane, I crashed out on their couch for a good night's rest. I went to bed at about 11 that night and didn't wake up until 4 the next afternoon. Something was horribly wrong.

That evening, Adam Trina would swing by and pick me up for the drive up to Fernie. I was so exhausted, depleted and wiped that it took everything in my power to not pass out while walking, to string together a complete sentence and to talk to the plethora of people at MFC I was meeting for the first time.

When I awoke in the comfy fishing lodge in Fernie the next morning, I felt like a walking corpse. I could barely move and barely talk. The only thing that motivated me was the thought that soon I could be sticking 20" Cutties on the beautiful Elk River.

The Glorious Elk River

As we shuttled boats, I pulled up my waders and waited for Adam to come back to the launch point after dropping his truck off at the take-out. While waiting I grabbed my rod and started drifting a deep, juicy run. But then something painfully awoke in my trousers. I tried to relieve the pressure. Uh Oh. That was more than your average passing of gas. Shit. Literally.

I ran behind a large rock to get some shelter from the others fishing down stream of me. I took all the loose paper and the little bit of spare TP I could find and began to..yeah, you get the picture. I couldn't believe that had just happened. I was about to go on a 5 hour float with the president/founder of the company, whom I just met and just got sponsored by...and I had to go shit my pants right before getting in the boat with him. I couldn't help but laugh, except I could laugh for the fear that laugh might cause another bowel evacuation.  At that moment I knew was in for a loooonnnnggg day.

Oh well, time to tighten up the wader belt, jump in the boat and throw some flies.

A room with a 'shitty' view...get it, huh huh.

My boatmen.


It's nice to work for a fly production company huh?

Within minutes of drifting into the first run we started rising cutties out of their camouflaged rock beds. Adam's lady pulled the first big beaut of the day.

A 19" fatty.

Such fun fighting and beautiful fish.
I'll admit that while we were all getting into some nice fish, it wasn't wham-bam-thank-you-maam out there. Which in reality I prefer (who really wants to stick fish on every cast?)...So we jumped out of the boat and started working some seams, zoning in on flies and looking for the donkeys.

Vodka (Gin is overused) clear water. And the cutties are so well disguised that I would be willing to bet there are 3 cutt's hiding in plain sight of this shot. 
After walking around a little bit, we rolled into a side channel that would make most rivers jealous.  The deep slow pools beveled what looked like a cutthroat paradise.  We wanted in to this heaven.

The amazing side channel.

Soon enough we started spotting cutties down deep in slow moving water. I crept to the edge of the bank, side casted behind myself to not line the fish in the glassy water and unrolled as soft as a cast as I could to gingerly lay down a MFC Patriot fly. As it drifted into the cutt's view he bounced off the bottom and sipped the fly off the top. When I set the tension on him he took off like the wild man his native roots have bred him to be. After a tricky fight that involved down climbing a 6 foot tall vertical bank and keeping the cutt away from two sunken, line-snapping logs, I somehow brought him in.  Damn did it feel good.

It's too bad this pictures isn't the cutt I caught though, that one was (ALERT: Fish Story) a solid 3 inches taller across the back and thick like a football. So friggin fat that when I tried to one-hand him for the picture of glory, I couldn't get my thumb around his back and he shot out of my hands like a snot-covered bowling ball. Too bad, so sad. Guess I'll have to keep fishing and searching for a bigger one...heh.

But I did I catch this beaut a day later in the exact same spot.  That way the one I lost could here this guys' story about how fun it was to get in a good fight for the day.
Big banks, dangerous logs and a patriot in the lip. 

Oh and I must not forget to mention that in between catching fish, I was ceaselessly shitting my brains out in the woods at about 20 minute intervals. Besides catching fish and being in such a beautiful place, it was a pain inducing, gut wrenching, miserable experience.  I sweated like a whore in church, only to shiver with cold 5 minutes later and then do it all over again.  Fevers, sweats, chills, shits.  I had it all and if I wasn't fishing it would've been one of the most miserable days of my life.  Good thing I actually caught some fish.

Day 2 & 3

Day 2 started like Day 1.  Diarrhea, stomach cramps and no food.  But screw it.  It was time to fish.
We headed into the....well, for the interest of locals, let's call it... the John Doe River. We had two main missions to fish the upper section and lower section of the Doe.  One way would take a mud-skipping, pot-hole dodging game of four wheeling, the other way would take a few mile pedal on a bike.  In the interests of the length of this post, Days 2 & 3 are being combined into one because both days I didn't eat a single bite, both days included lots of hellish food poisoning symptoms and both days amassed big fish in one of the most stellar locations I've ever seen.

Really?  Is this a real place.  So beautiful.

The best commute ever.

Adam Trina sight fishing to some holding Bulls.

Amy Trina 3/4 upstream and dead drifting a 8 inch Streamer into a pool of Bulls

Not the biggest Bull, but definitely big enough to have fun with!


We fished and fished.  I shat and shat.  And then we fished some more.  It was an amazing experience that I was lucky enough to be a part of.  I can't wait to go back.  I just hope next time isn't so shitty.  HA!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fly-fishing is rapidly becoming a sport that is not just for the jet and lodge crowd.  More and more, fly-fishing is becoming a crucial pastime in the lives of dirtbags, outdoor enthusiats and even, yes, professional skiers.  Check out a couple buddies of mine, both skiers whose day job involves spinning double-corks in the air and jumping apartment building sized cliffs, in this beautifully shot video with a great down home Alaskan feel.