Thank You For Reading My Blog

This blog is about my life as a fly fisherman, guide, and fly fishing instructor in and around Northern Virginia and Washington D.C.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Gear Review | VestPac | @Vestpac

Finally I get a chance to sit down and do some proper blogging. This product is something every angler should wear when land fishing. Its the VestPac @vestpac. Ok, I got my hands on this product at the start of summer and didn't get a chance to wear it. Why you ask? Well, most times I'm wearing one of the following:

  1. A pixie in a backpack
  2. A PFD
  3. A heavy and fully loaded sling pack 
I don't often get to fish for fun but the few chances I've had this summer I've taken this out and really enjoyed it. The product is well thought out and made by someone who fishes. 

 Image taken from Sam at (someone you should follow on social media)

This product is a hydration system worn on your back with the features of a fly fishing chest pack.
Lets break it down.

1. The hydration system holds enough water for about 2-3 hours for me. Its humid here and thankfully this summer hasn't seen any 100+ digits. I prefer to either freeze the bladder or fill it with ice water so it keeps my back cool and then I can ingest cold water.

2. There is room in the back bladder compartment for me to carry an extra fly box and 8lb or 12lb Berkley Vanish spool.

3. There are built in retractors. I keep my hemostat and line nippers on there. No need for me to wear my half lanyard.

4. There are modular fly boxes and patches included. I can have a fly box that opens with one hand on the inside AND have either a foam fly patch OR pseudo wool patch.

5. It fits snug and I don't really notice its on there.

6. I can connect my fish grip and weigh tool to the side strap.

7. I can take it on and off with one hand. The clips are super easy to use.

8. The company has social media where you can talk about the product and see who is using it. Twitter @vestpac | Instagranm | and Facebook and you'll notice the people pictured on these sites are no arm chair outdoorsy people. They are dirty, wet, and salty. The product can take a beating. Like I said, it is well thought out and designed.

9. You can purchase your VestPac directly through ProGuideDirect and I will receive comission. If you go through my site on there specifically.

10. It doesn't get hot. Air moves through it and the ice water helps.

If you buy one of these you will realize it sells itself.

I will admit that there is not enough storage for me to take this out on a guide trip. Even one when I'm not going to need a lot, I still carry too much stuff with me. One other thing I'd like is to see it in a digi-camo or more muted color. The bright blue is a selling point as people notice it.

I always wear my PFD on the water but sometimes I need to wear my VestPac while casting. Always be safe out there. And stay hydrated. Get a VestPac and be happy.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Weekend Report

The cooler night temps chilled the water down quite a bit. The Potomac tributaries were nice and comfortable over the weekend. We started out at Pohick Bay and went up Accotink Creek. The water was super clear and the tide was high at the start. We mixed it up with sliders and droppers, clawdads and worms, and a few other curly tails and reapers.

I guided a husband and wife team. Pictures will show who had the bigger fish:

Yellow Perch. It was a big one, biggest one so far by any client.
 Largemouth Bass. We were expecting something much bigger from the fight.
 This one took a clawdad by some overhanging brush. It crushed the fly.
 This Long Ear Sunfish took the foam slider (scorpion bug)
 Lots of vegetation along Accotink Creek. Its hard to remember you are in the heart of metropolis. The egret rookery is just about 100 yards away.
 Spatterdock. Snakeheads love it. They didn't show us any love.
A big rainstorm blew in and the rain was cold. I got the clients to shore and off before the downpour started. I had about an inch of rain in the driftboat by the time I got it home.

And I can't forget the lunch. Hot toscano, hot salami, finociona salami, provolone, tarragon mustard, and artichoke tapenade on bagguete with a side of cornichon and lemon ice tea. We totally forgot to get into the bag of red Swedish fish and bags of kettle chips. We had lunch in the shade along the shore. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Orvis Riverbend Roundup Float 2013

This past Saturday the local Orvis stores hosted a float from Algonkian Park to Riverbend park.

Producer Jason came down to float in the canoe with me. We started on Saturday evening on lake Audubon in Reston across the street from my parent's house. We fished tandem rigs mostly and Jason fished some streamers. We both caught more fish than we could count. Bluegills bent my 6wt all evening. It was exhausting.

We got up early on Sunday and headed to the  park. Cars with kayaks, canoes, and hybrid boats were headed West on Route 7. We all convened at the boat ramp. Deer were all over the park. On the golf course, in the road, in the woods. Props to Jimmy from the Tyson's store who seemed to be in charge. He also had a lot of bottled water for us as it was HOT.

 Lots of types of boats at the ramp. New and old kayaks, inflatables, stand up hybrid things, and Scott's home made wooden kayak.

The float started a little after 0730. We all got out into the slow and wide water. Jason and I stuck to the Va side to fish the weeds and shore. The majority crossed. The Md. side had a lot of mud on it. It took a good hour for us to float and paddle past the gold course. We got a few nibbles but nothing in this stretch. It was out in the open and HOT.

We passed the golf course and got to the first set of rapids, Seneca Breaks. I was a bit stressed going through the narrow passages in the rock garden and steps. Jason and I parked and got out to fish this stretch. We paddled, hopped out, fished, repeat. This was the only stretch where we got into fish.

I finally got a fish on the Clawdad. Long ear sunfish.
 We ran into some more floaters in this stretch. As we had no idea how far the float was or how long it would take, we didn't stick around  this spot.

I already mentioned it was hot. And the water was slow. Not much was biting. Maybe a few nibbles on poppers. Rebecca joined us along the Va. shoreline. She had a kayak malfunction and one of the air chambers in her boat popped. We continued down river and along Jamie from PRSC

We finally passed 'the pipeline' area and got more bites. I was fishing a grim reaper and clawdad off and on. I got some nice tugs on the reaper but didn't connect. We finally arrived above Riverbend. I paddled over to the Md. side where I used to guide and knew some good spots. 

Jason got into smallies right away. They were tucked in against the shore in the shallows under the trees.
 Both fish jumped and tail walked before throwing the hook. It took 8 hours and this was the most excitement all day.
 Jason rocking his new Umpqua hat.
 The shade was delicious.
 We finally arrived at the take out at 1pm (ok 7 hours of floating). After hours of paddling we were exhausted. We dragged the canoe up onto shore, discussed the lack of biting fish with the others (the temps had been near 100 all week and the water was super hot. As we know, hot water holds less oxygen and the fish will become more sluggish.)

We put the gear in the bus and the shuttle service took care of the boat. 


After a 20 minute or so drive we arrived back at Algonkain. We unloaded from the bus, got the boats back on the cars, and changed out of our grimy threads. The cost of the float included a lunch at the pavilions. I downed an ice cold coke, had a burger, some bbq chicken, beans, and cookies. It was a good lunch to fill me up after all that work. 
 Project Healing Waters and the Chessapeake Bay Foundation were there too. We each were given an Orvis gift bag of an Helios 2 hat, magazines, coupons, catalogs, and BUZZOFF bandana. If you total the lunch, swag, and shuttle it was one heck of a cost effective day. I can't wait for the next one but hopefully we have less water and cooler temps.

Shout out to the transportation shuttle guys.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

IFTD / ICAST 2013 Review

ICAST and IFTD in Vegas. Never thought I'd ever go to Vegas. This changed my mind. Its a strange place. Hot with no tangible humidity, clear air, and virtually no wildlife (one housefly, two grackles, and one pidgeon), lots of tall buildings that stick out of the landscape, too much water and electricity used, and lots of open containers and people watching.

Here is Sara Barilles singing Vegas:

We got in late. First thing I see if our friend Philippe on the TV at the car rental.

 First thing we did was hit up In-N-Out burger. And it was as good as you know it was.
 Double double animal style with grilled whole onions and well done fries.
 View from our hotel. The strange thing is we were woken up the next day by a thunderstorm !
 Lots of logo bass fishing shirts in the lobby. Lots of people milling around waiting for 0900 opening. I grabbed my papers and headed in. I started at the far most left and worked my way to the right. It took me 8 hours to get to the fly section! And time passed so fast. I was in heaven. This truly was one of the coolest things I've been to.
 First podcast interview was with these guys.
 I really liked these hooks.
 Yeti coolers and a Messi jersey.
 Coolest booth goes to Costa. Theirs was 2 stories and they gave me a shammy to clean my glasses.
 Simms gave me two great podcast interviews. Be on the lookout for their new BOA boot.
 Pline - Pucci beads. I use these in my fly tying. No I know there are many more colors.
 Pucci trout bead kit.
 Shout out to Ashley Rae at the Hobie booth.
 I was given a pass to the American Express club to charge my computer and refill. I got some snacks and guzzeled club soda.
 Back into the show.
I just ordered a LifeProof case. I destroyed my phone 2 weeks ago. This was real ice. Everyone going by had to touch it to believe it.
 Free samples of weedless frogs for my fly rod snakehead shenanigans.
 SPRO Frogs. I like these on the 8wt. Its not really a fly but it truly is weedless.
 Very pretty hooks.

 These were rubber spoons. I told the guy they looked like the leeches from Stand By Me. He had no idea what I was talking about.
 Mustad hooks. They have always been my go to for salty hooks and Clouser minnows.
 Kombotool Its a fish bashing stick with a knife in it.
 Then I met Bill Dance !
 And Lefty was hanging out at the TFO booth.
 Who doesn't want a Ranch pump ?
 More frogs, these one have kicking legs. And the designer even has Dentrobatid patterns for fun.

 The smaller ones will work on a fly rod.
 GeoFish kids.

 Jay representing PigFarm Ink
 Blaine Chocklett's Game Changer - articulated spine fly.
 These are bird lures. Pretty cool.
 View of one of the isles.
 3pm was Beer time. First 300 in line at Yeti got a Tervis tumbler with beer.
 After walking from 9-3 I needed a beer.
 Then I got a top off of Captain and Reel juice.

 After the show, it was time to walk the city. The Trump building was the same color as Trump's hair. Notice the 'whale bone' or 'yard' daiquiri in their arms.
 Chihuly in the lobby of a hotel. It was free to park in any hotel. Then we walked over to Paris.
 Fountains. How all this water doesn't evaporate, I don't know.
 This ambulance drove through incoming traffic.
 This sign was upside down. And the smoke in the casinos was blinding.
 Hotel at sunset.
 Off to the Costa party at the HardRock.
 The Wife at the pool with a cold beer.
 What a waste of electricity.
 Thomas Flemons of Diablo Paddlesports and Conway Bowman
 Ugh, I got to have a beer with Larry Dahlberg.
 Then off to Firefly for Tapas. No filters here, this is how it looked. The mushroom tart was the most memorable. Everything was fantastic. I ate so much I looked 8 months preggers.

 Back at the show on Friday. My goal was to start at the fly side today.
 Derek DeYoung art.
 More Spirit River interviews with Bill Black.
 Finally met Matt of Goathead Gear
 Reddington's new Vapen rod grip.
 Chris from Vedavoo.
 "Buy my shirt Ms. Moneypenny"
 Out of order, this is the view walking from Hotel --> Convention Center. I had to work off that dinner.
 Fishpond Nomad nets. I want one!

 Then the lady at the Angler Bookstore gave me 3 bombers of Ninkasi.
 Here is a sample of all the SWAG I got for the upcoming TPFR Beer Tie raffles. I'm not using these for giveaways on my site, these are free items from the companies and I don't use them to gain 'likes' for my company or other promotions. They are free from the companies and will thus go to someone else with no gain to me.
 Then off to Freemont St. This place exists. Heart Attack Grill.
 Spiderman walking instead of using his webs ???
 Look at all that great fly tying material !!!
 GoGo dancers at the casino. They had Hamms on tap.
 More fly tying material. This stuff is dyed better than fly shop material.
 Feathers !
 And this happened.

 More feathers.
 Bumped into the Mountain Khaki folks.
 My favorite GoGo dancer also sold booze.

 The light show was kind of lame. It played the three songs by Heart that you hear on every classic rock station. Yawn.

 Then to Le Thai.
 No thanks, I got the biggest glass of club soda with a lemon. And repeated.
 Fish sauce yuck.
 Shortrib fried rice was fantastic.
 The strange people come out at night.
 Last view from the hotel window.
 My sandwich for the flight home.
Take a listen to the podcast when its up. It will give you more insight into the show. Anyone in the industry should go, regardless if its during the busy season. Its a blast.

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