"Sometimes, you just need to go downstairs and waggle a rod..." - Scott Hanson

"Write what you know. If you don't know, make it up..." - Scott Hanson

"A dude can't live on just two fly rods alone..." - Scott Hanson

Man, I have some deep thoughts...

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


I am not a guide. I have never been a guide. I have never wanted to be a guide. I'm not sure I would know how to be a guide. Guiding seems like hard work. It's difficult enough to catch fish on your own, but trying to get other people, who oftentimes have never cast a fly rod before, to catch fish, seems like an impossibility. Plus, even if the client has realistic expectations, and is just happy to be out in a beautiful setting while learning a new sport, I would want to make sure they caught some fish. I would put a lot of pressure on myself to make sure that happened. So why would I want to torture myself like that? No thanks, guiding is not for me, I tell you what!

That being said, I guided for the first time a couple of weekends ago. I had a couple of clients, let's call them Joel and Shaun, because those are their names, and we spent a lovely half day on a trout stream somewhere in the continental United States... It was sunny, kind of hot, but only a tad windy. As far as I could tell, it was a perfect day to try to be a guide!
Since I was acting as The Guide, I had to show them how it's done. The is the same dopey grin I have whenever I catch a fish...

After a quick casting lesson, I stationed my two clients about 75 feet apart in adjoining pools, and let them go. I traveled between them to give them occasional casting tips and to unravel their inevitable wind knots. Although their loops were not always very pretty, they both got the hang of casting in relatively quick time. As all beginners do, they let their backcasts get a little sloppy every once in a while, but the weeds weren't too high behind them, so their flies were quickly extricated.

I thought it would take longer than it did, but in no time Joel caught a fish. It wasn't one of the trouts we were after, but it was a fish nonetheless. A fat, colorful chub dangled from his line. Soon, another one. Then Shaun got into the act, catching several chubs. I have never heard of a professional chub fishing guide, but it seems I would make an awesome one. For the first couple of hours, chubs were the only things being caught, other than the trout or two I caught while demonstrating how to do things.

Joel and his first fish, a chub.
Eventually Joel caught an actual trout, a lovely little brown of about 8 inches. And then he caught another, somewhat larger one. What a great way to end the day! And the best part of the day was that neither Joel nor Shaun drowned. Who would have guessed that my first foray into guiding would be so successful?! Maybe guiding isn't so bad after all...
Joel and his first trout
Joel's second trout.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The 14" Rule

Several years ago I came up with a "rule" that might be valid, and it might not. I don't know if there's any way to actually prove it, but it seems like it has some validity to me. That rule states that "in all trout streams, any pool that is big enough to harbor fish will contain at least one fish that is over 14 inches in length."
A plus-14" fish from earlier this year

I should explain that this rule is only good for streams in which brown trout are the primary inhabitant. Brook trout, in general, don't grow as big as browns, so therefore, when on a brook trout stream, I amend the rule a bit, changing "14 inches" to "10 inches". Any brown trout over 14 inches is a fine fish indeed, and any brook trout over 10 inches is just as impressive, so all in all, the rule means the same thing in both cases.

We don't have very many rainbow trout around here, so I am not sure what to do about them, but I have a feeling the brown trout rule would work just as well for rainbows...

Now, just because I believe there are all these nice, big fish swimming around in every pool, that doesn't mean you or I or anyone else is going to catch them any time soon. The rule has nothing to do with catching them, it only deals with their existence. But you can't catch them if they don't exist, so you might as well believe they do. Am I right?

I hadn't thought much about my rule lately, but then tonight I went fishing with my buddy, Bryon, on a stretch of a stream I hadn't been on in 10 years or so. I knew I had caught a big brown in there years ago, so I made my way down to a prime looking spot, looked around, and immediately remembered that this was the pool I was fishing when I came up with the rule. It was like it had just happened, even though it was more than a decade ago. The memory of that day pretty much exploded back into my brain. It was eerie, and cool at the same time. And thinking about my rule made me even more excited to start fishing...

Well, no 14 inchers were caught tonight, although I did perform a heartbreaking LDR (Long Distance Release) on something that made my fly rod throb for a couple of seconds. It did nothing to snuff out my belief in the rule, that's for sure.
A sub-14" brown caught on a Spearfish Special

Gear used: Scott F754/3 fiberglass fly rod; Scientific Angler System 4 reel; Size 10 brown Stimulator; size 12 Spearfish Special.