For me, fly fishing began as a way to connect to the outdoors. After beginning my own guide business, it evolved into a way to connect with others on the water. Through teaching, I have had the good fortune of getting to know a diverse array of fly fishers from all over the country. I see guiding as more than a job; it is also a way of educating. Though most clients book a trip to learn new fishing techniques or in hopes of catching a new species, they walk away with a holistic understanding of the locale where we fished and the role that fishermen can play as environmental stewards. Exposing clients to the unique challenges and rewards of fly fishing California has made for many gratifying experiences not soon to be forgotten.
Seasons: I run my California guide business during the summer months, when the weather and swells are most consistent and the surf offers the most species possible on fly. The rest of the year I live in Seattle, where I work in Creekside Angling Company and provide private instruction in fly tying, single hand casting, and spey casting.
Locations: During the summer I am based out of Marin Count, CA and guide from Point Reyes south to Monterey Bay. The rest of the year I reside in Seattle.
What to Expect on the Blog:
Winter and Spring: steelhead reports and photos from the pacific northwest with favorite flies, techniques, etc for steel heading with Beulah spey rods in the Pacific northwest
Summer: California surf reports chasing stripers, perch, and halibut with Beulah surf rods and serum lines
Details on guide service:
I am a licensed California guide (#11805) based out of San Rafael in Marin County. My specialty is fly fishing the northern California surf. This fishery is one of my favorites for its challenges and rewards. Being able to get on the water with the potential for great fishing so close to home is a thrill. This makes for a great outing for anglers who would like to get on the water more but usually only fish when time and money allow for a weekend trip to the mountains in search of trout. An outing to the coast can have you back home or at work by 9AM, not to mention the savings on gas.
Fly-fishing the surf is very challenging, there are no bones about it. This has got to be one of the most rigorous and demanding fisheries out there. It is necessary to have a solid understanding of the tides, swell patterns, and wind forecast to have a safe and enjoyable time on the water. Dealing with crashing waves, often blowing wind, and a bunch of fly line stripped off your reel can be a recipe for frustration for the uninitiated. This fishery has a steep learning curve, and unlike many trout streams where you can show up and likely catch fish on your first outing without instruction, the surf tends to be far more complex. The main challenges for a novice are reading the water to understand the structure and relating this to the tide phase to maximize on the limited scenarios in which game fish will be present and within casting range of the fly angler. On top of this, there is the challenge of line management and making a good presentation with the waves tugging at your feet and fly line, and a beach sloping up behind you into your back cast.
My guide sessions aim to dramatically shorten the learning curve in getting comfortable with these challenging factors in fly-fishing the surf. Inexperienced surf fisherman likely will look at the beach and see an intimidating and uniform line of waves crashing along the beach and doubt the decision to try fishing with a fly here at all. In fact there are a plethora of subtle features present in the form of rips, troughs, holes, eddies, and flats, they are just much more difficult to recognize in this zone than structure in a trout steam. Observing the ways in which the waves break can tell an angler everything about the bottom contours and resulting currents that are present underneath the foamy surface. Understanding how to read this zone and concentrate on the highest productivity structure during the highest percentage tide phase can make all the difference between a great session and a poor one. It is the difference between struggling to get a tight connection to your fly and being skunked versus making repeated quality presentations and potentially getting into a number of fish to reward the effort.
Because of the fickle nature of fly-fishing the surf and the challenges it presents those new to this environment, a guided session will dramatically shorten the learning curve in becoming a proficient surf angler. Clients should have the expectation of learning a tremendous amount of knowledge along with many new tactics and techniques, but see catching fish on the first time out as a bonus and not an expectation. For those who have fished the surf a number of times before and are already familiar with many of the tactics and techniques I often cover in a session, I can skip over the basics and concentrate on maximizing the opportunity of getting into a great surf perch bite or hooking up to a personal best striped bass. I am very flexible with my instruction and do my best to tailor each session to the individual or group so that clients will take away as much as possible from their time on the water.
Regardless of whether you have never cast a fly in saltwater or are an experienced angler looking to finally catch that first big striper on fly, booking a guide session in the surf is sure to be a learning experience. This is one of the most thrilling and rewarding fisheries on the west coast.
I also offer freshwater trips to the local Marin reservoirs in search of trout, bass, and panfish. If you live in Marin and are interested in learning about some local Stillwater fisheries that can be enjoyed minutes from home, these lakes are a great option. Russian River steelhead outings can be arranged in December as well.