Saturday, November 17, 2012

How could I possibly live anywhere else?

Yesterday, one of my guides and I had the day to ourselves. We both had muzzle loader tags for deer and decided to go try and fill them. 

Throughout the day, we came upon sights like these.  Josh and I both grew up in this mountain country and we've never lost our appreciation of how special a place we live and call "home".

It's big country, steep and rugged, indescribably beautiful. Breath-taking really.  You stand on the edge of these canyons and its makes you feel REALLY SMALL!

I just couldn't live anywhere else in the world.  I ended the day harvesting my deer.  I spent most of today cutting and wrapping and getting my venison in the freezer.  Over the coming months the deer will feed my family, and I'll look forward to spending another day in my "office".  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Inside a Salmon Guides Fly Box

Ever wanted to look into a salmon fly fishing guides fly boxes?
Here's your chance!

Over the years guiding clients on fall salmon trips I've come to form some pretty strong opinions about fly design and patterns that chinooks eat.  No doubt the best designed fly won't get ate, if it ain't presented properly, but if you present the fly the way you should, the patterns in this box will catch fall chinook.

Obviously Clousers occupy the vast majority of real estate in my Bugger Beast Box.  ALL of my salmon flies have an "eye" of one kind or another.  Two themes to take note of.  I'm also pretty partial to my Coastal Bucktail series.  They're exceedingly similar to Trey Comb's Sea habit series.  Other standard types of patterns that occupy space in my salmon boxes are various shrimp patterns as well as comet type flies. 

As for the success enjoyed by the "comet" type patterns, just take a look at Dungeness "crab larvae" (one of pacific salmon's favorite food sources) and you'll understand why they eat comet's!

This year, my friends at Spirit River hooked me up with some of their latest UV dyed materials.

This is the same box of flies, lit up by my little UV light source.

This is a clouser I put together using Sprit River's UV dyed bucktail.

This is the same fly with a UV light source. Pretty cool huh?

This is a pink and white clouser tied with the UV materials and lit up with a UV light source.

Not sure yet how the salmon are going to respond to the new UV materials.  As yet, I've only used them on one trip for coho on the lower Umpqua and darned few coho were around that day so I'm not even close to making a call about the UV material.  In the next few weeks all of my time on the water will be chasing chinook so I'll let you all know if the UV died materials make a difference.

Also, for anyone hankerin' to try their hand at this amazing fishery, I have a last minute opening for the 24th and/or the 25th of November. Call me or shoot me an e-mail if your interested.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

The "Beast" lives!

Late last fall, I was coming back into town from an evening hunt.  I came out of the woods at dark and by the time I got just out of city limits it was totally dark.  I first saw the movement at the edge of my headlight beam. It started out slowly, moving from the left shoulder of the road, crossing directly in front of the Suburban as I threw out the anchor to avoid hitting the biggest bear I've ever seen.  It was a MONSTER!

Our average sized adult black bears go about 180 pounds.  Good ones are 200 to 250 pounds.  300 pound bears are monsters and anything above that is probably exagerated.  I know, I know, there are 400 pound black bears harvested...but they are exceedingly rare. 

This bear, I was sure was pushing that 400 pound mark.

This past week while hunting a favorite bear area I came across this pile of bear spore.  Obviously this bruin is decent sized and still spending some time cleaning up the last of this summers black berry crop. 

So a few months ago I heard a rumor that a local youth had harvested this 400 pound bear late last season.  I never saw the bear in question after the harvest, but the sources were knowledgable and reliable, so I assumed the lad had found my MONSTER that had crossed in front of my vehicle last fall.  

Figuring the big bears genes had to have been passed on, this season I decided to spend a little more time hunting bears in this same area.  After all, there are TONS of bears in this area and sooner or later I'd find a decent sized one if I put in my time.  Maybe even find another Monster.  It's a tough area to get into unless your willing to spend some time walkin'...uphill...both ways! so it doesn't get a lot of pressure, an added bonus is that its so very close to home.  I could walk there if I wanted. 

About two weeks ago, while hunting the area with my oldest son, we came across a pile of very fresh bear skat that for all the world looked like a pile of horse manure.  It was so fresh, that it still contained warmth!  We both knew that this was no ordinary bear.  The critter that left this pile was a Beast!

A couple a recently tore up stumps from the "Beast".

Opening morning of Deer muzzle loader season found Josh Farnesworth and I prowling the woods with our muzzle loaders.   I told Josh the area we were going into held tons of bears, including at least one very large black bear.  We passed one spur road that a week ago contained seven piles of fresh bear skat in its 200 yard length.  We parted ways with plans to meet back up in a few hours after each of us had checked a few clear cuts that have been holding good numbers of deer.  

At the appointed time, I arrived at our meeting location and found Josh waiting for me.  As I approached Josh, he told me in a very serious tone that he could no longer hunt this area with me.  Confused, I asked "did you get your deer".  Josh shook his head from side to side, pointing at the ground and mumbling somthing about not knowing what left "that pile", but it was either Sasquatch or the biggest bear he's ever seen or heard of! 

I looked to the ground where Josh pointed and found the proof-positive evidence that the BEAST LIVES! 
Without intending on making the more refined viewers sqeamish, I want to point out that the yellow chunks in this world record sized pile of bear poo isn't corn, its huge chunks of yellow apples!

In the coming weeks I've got fall chinook on the fly trips booked on the south coast and duck/goose hunts booked in the Willamette Valley, but you can bet, every minute I'm not chasing chinook or birds, I'll be spending in the woods near my home, carting my favorite .54 cal. muzzle loader, topped off with a 110 grains of Pyrodex pushing a 425 grain buffalo bullet and looking for my next encounter with the BEAST!