Wednesday, April 1, 2020

REP YOUR WATER - Escape to Bolivia

Garrison Doctor of Rep Your Water is back after last week's "Escape to Pyramid Lake" with a follow up dispatch from a trip that he and Corinne took to Bolivia.

Golden Dorado are moving up my "To Do" list and this post certainly isn't helping keeping that under control.  These fish, along with the many others down there, look amazing to pursue.


Garrison wrote...  "While almost all of us are locked down waiting for this terrible pandemic to run its course, I am  revisiting some favorite destinations and adventures that I have taken over the past few years with my partner in business, life and adventure, Corinne. While we have always been extremely grateful for the opportunities to go on such explorations, our current crisis certainly lends a new perspective and appreciation. It also re-affirms our commitment to get back out and explore, whether near or far, when this virus passes, and it will pass.

There are not that many places in the world today where you can fish a relatively large river system that is completely untouched by modern man made infrastructure of any kind for hundreds of miles. The Secure River in the Bolivian Amazon is one such place. Located in a National Park and Indiginous territory at the foot of the Andes, this river system offers the fly fisherman the opportunity to fish a system that has no dams, no adjacent roads and no agricultural use. And the biomass in the river reflects it! Untamed Angling operates one of their Tsimane Lodges here, and we were lucky enough to go there and explore in search of Golden Dorado, Pacu and a few other river dwellers."
 

"Golden Dorado are a fish that in my estimation are so unique that it is tough to compare them to any other freshwater fish. But if forced to, I would compare their tendency to seek out structure once hooked to a big brown trout (they love log jams), and their proclivity to jump as soon as you stick them to a baby tarpon. However, neither of those fish have cutting teeth that can take a clean bite out of any other fish like a small shark, and neither of those fish hunt in schools with the aggression and violence of Golden Dorado. When a group of them gets a school of baitfish cornered, the river literally erupts into whitewater froth similar to a jack frenzy on the surface of the ocean."


"One piece of this Golden Dorado hunting strategy that is particularly challenging for the fly angler is that they love to steal bites of fish out of each others mouths. In other words, if one grabs a fish like a dog bone, his peers will try to bite chunks off of the side. In practice this means when you hook one, his buddies will try to bite at the fly. If they do, it usually results in a flossed line, and if that fish gets above your standard 40lb wire bite tippet you are toast. 

So picture me on a rocky gravel bar looking at a run not dissimilar to a trout stream - deep fast current with a log jam on the far side creating some great structure and soft water. I cast a 3/0 black over red deceiver at the log jam and strip it out, fast. Golden Dorado like a retrieve more akin to a saltwater fish - pretty fast to really fast. As I strip out from the log jam I get lit up by my first fish that is well over the 5lb mark. The first thing our guide Santiago does, is run full speed into the run at the fish I just hooked! I look at him like what in the flying f*%ck are you doing? He was of course attempting to scare off his buddies so they would not floss my line!" 


"The other primary fish to target out of the Secure River Tsimane Lodge is the Pacú. One of the largest relatives of the Piranha family, Pacú are not specialized meat eaters but rather omnivores that eat more plant material - nuts, fruits, berries, flowers and leaves. Although they will definitely eat other fish or even other animals that fall into the river given the opportunity. They patrol deeper pools and investigate most things that "plop" into the water. Because of their diet they're teeth are extremely powerful and bare an uncanny resemblance to human teeth. It is a strange experience the first time you get in there with a forceps to free your fly!

Pacú unlike Golden Dorado do not typically jump. They are an unusual freshwater fish in that the RUN, no messing around, no stand and fight headshakes, no jumping around, they just RUN. And fast. These intense distance runs, wariness and pickiness in taking flies has earned them the nickname "the Permit of the Jungle". "


"I had the opportunity to set up on the far side of a deep, slow canyon run on a day when the water was running crystal clear. There I watched as a big Pacú fed in an eddy on the far side. Their coloration varies, but some of the larger ones like this one was getting really dark, almost black with a purple sheen to them. After patterning this fish for a while I was able to blast a cast with a clipped deceiver over to him. You want to cast in such a manner that your fly really hits the water  with a pronounced "plop" - as if it has fallen many feet from a huge overhanging tree. As soon as my fly hit the water he sprinted the 3' to it and hammered it. Game on. I do not think I have ever seen my fly line rip off of my reel that fast in freshwater...

On another day we were fishing well down river from the Lodge, here the river changes character and spreads out into many braids, runs and sandy dropoffs. The water was a bit off color after a hit of rain so sight fishing was out. This does not necessarily mean a dropoff in productivity, many times just the opposite, but it does mean more blind fishing at log jams, drop offs and rocky structure. Corinne was positioned upstream from me working a drop off on the far side of the run when she snagged on a log or some such, not uncommon when the visibility is down. Except when Corinne and our guide waded out towards the snag to see if the fly was recoverable, the "log" began to slowly motor upstream. That is when Corinne new that she had a fish of some sort on, but definitely not a Golden Dorado or Pacú! As Corinne crossed the river half a dozen times chasing this fish that continued to bulldog around the river, I was helpless to assist. So I naturally proceeded to bark stereotypical and inane advice at her like "keep it tight" repeatedly. You do what you can. After a good battle she was able to get the fish into shallow water and we were able to tail the Surubí catfish. It was a specimen, with the characteristic graffiti like calligraphic markings all over. It proceed to grunt, croak and bark at us until Corinne sent it back into tea colored water."


"While the fishing was amazing during our week at the Secure River Tsimane Lodge, with multiple Golden Dorado landed that approached or reached the 20lb mark, the sentiment that stayed with us was the power of such a wild, intact place and ecosystem. We hope to return this July, pending the global travel situation, but if we do not make it back this summer, we will get there at some point. The wildness and intensity are something you want to experience again."






Check out the Rep Your Water website and make sure you take a look at the Spring 2020 Collection.
Rep Your Water is celebrating 180,000 Instagram followers with a stellar giveaway to get in on too.

PAUL PUCKETT - The Corona Virus Chronicles - No. 15

What's been on your pandemic playlist?  Paul Puckett shares with a sketch what he's been listening to at home and studio.  He's not wrong on any of it.


Visit the Sporting Art of Paul Puckett website and Instagram to see his latest works and studio news.

STRUNG Magazine - Free Read Offer

It might be April Fools Day, but it's no joke that the folks at Strung Magazine have graciously opened up the Fly Fishing Issue to be read free online through April 15, 2020. 

Click on the image below for the three steps to access the latest issue and enjoy.


Like what your see?  Consider subscribing with an online or print subscription.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

MARSH WEAR - New Spring Arrivals & T.F.M. Giveaway

You might have missed it with everything going on lately but Marsh Wear has loaded up their website and retailers with their new Spring Collection and there are a pile of sharp looking apparel pieces in the mix.

Marsh Wear is keeping things fun for the T.F.M. readership with a giveaway where someone will win a $300 gift card and it only takes your email address to play.


The giveaway begins today and will end on Sunday, April 5, 2020 at midnight.  The winner will be chosen at random on Monday, April 6, 2020.

Take a second to enter the giveaway and then poke around the Marsh Wear website to check out their latest offerings.

P.S.  Use discount code "TFM20" for 20% your online order this week as well.

PAUL PUCKETT - The Corona Virus Chronicles - No. 14

April, please come quick...  Paul Puckett's getting stir crazy and match making cultural pandemic craziness in his sketchbook.


Visit the Sporting Art of Paul Puckett website and Instagram to see his latest works and studio news.

CODY'S FISH - Supporting the Guide Community Through Art

The last several weeks have been eyeopening with so many in the fly fishing industry trying to do what they can to help others.  Cody Richardson of Cody's Fish is doing his part and now until this pandemic roller coaster ends, he's donating 30% of each piece to the buyers guide of choice. 

That's a neat idea and if you are interested in a piece that isn't shown on the website, contact Cody for a custom order.  The donation deal still applies.


Help Cody raise money for the guiding community being impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak!

From the press release... "Guides are an innate part of anyone’s fishing journey. They work hard to master their home waters in order to put anglers like us onto the fish of our dreams. Now it’s our turn to help guides out in their time of need by giving back to those who have given us so many cherished fishing memories and experiences. Many guiding operations were about to start their respective seasons before the COVID-19 outbreak began, and many have lost most, if not all of their business for the start of this season.

Starting March 30th, I will be donation 30% of every Cody's Fish piece sold directly to the buyer's favorite fishing guide.  This campaign will run indefinitely until the end of this COVID-19 pandemic when our favorite guides can get back on the water with clients to do what they do best." 

Visit the Cody's Fish website to check out the current offerings and follow along on Facebook and Instagram to see the latest shop news.

Monday, March 30, 2020

MOONLIT FLY FISHING - Lunar S-Glass Sale

On my list of "Quarantine Projects" for the day is to pair a fly reel (maybe an old Martin) and fly line (likely something Scientific Anglers) with the Moonlit Lunar S-Glass 8'6" seven weight and get my pond kit together.  I should have been down there this morning but all my warmwater gear is not sorted and I'm too OCD to just wing it.  Weird, I know.

Want a Lunar S-Glass of your own?  Moonlit Fly Fishing has the entire line up discounted $25 off through April 10th so it's worth considering.


There is a lot of positive buzz on the Lunar S-Glass series and look for it to be included in an upcoming T.F.M. gear review feature "10 for Spring - Warmwater Edition" which should be published in a couple of weeks.

Visit the Moonlit Fly Fishing website to check out the Lunar S-Glass series and check out the other items that are on sale as well.  Follow the latest on Facebook and Instagram.