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North Coast: , by Drew Griffith: A good day on the water: 4 stars

Yesterday I got to fish with Jeff from the Bay Area. Jeff reminded me of a lot of guys I've met and talked with over the years who are new to swinging flies and speycasting. He's a serious fly fisherman, has been involved in the sport for a long time, and has plenty of experience fishing for trout in Northern California and beyond. But he has never ventured into the world of speycasting, mostly because at some point as an angler you stick to what you know, and speycasting can seem intimidating. So much new information to digest. So much new gear to figure out. Who wants to relearn how to cast? Where to begin? 

I count myself lucky that he obliged and decided to venture out into new territory with me. As a guide there's something special about being there at the very beginning of someones journey into the world of speycasting. I get to relive all of the excitement and frustration of when I was first learning, and get to watch the same progressions and rewarding moments that everyone experiences when learning how to speycast. Remember how epic it was when you first threw a truly long cast and it burped the reel because it wanted more running line?  It's hard to explain, but for those in the know it's something you never forget. We set off on a day that met every standard for winter steelhead. A steady drizzle fell in the dim light of morning, the mist like thick smoke turning the huge redwoods into looming shadows along the rivers edge. Jeff was a quick study. We worked on dialing in his double spey in the morning and graduated to the snap t by noon. He picked up his on shoulder snap t and ran with it. By the time we had finished lunch and he had stepped back into the run he was in the zone. It was a good cast that caught the fish. One that turned over well and emptied all the running line through the guides. This was something! The fish faught well, a chaotic fit of runs, tailwalking jumps and nerve racking headshakes in close to the bank. Just as we we're landing him another angler happened upon us and we were able to get a picture with the three of us. Jeff's fish was a good buck, still clad in his chrome camo from a life in the salt. After it was all over I half jokingly told him to be careful about who he told about getting a winter steelhead on his first day swinging flies. Some folks might go ahead and put their rods on ebay after hearing a thing like that. I knew that I had a convert before me, that he was sold on what I had just shown him was possible, and for that I am humbled and grateful.

Looking at the weather ahead there is some rain forecast for next weekend along with snow falling at lower elevations. Whether or not this system will have any impact on our coastal rivers is hard to say, but what is apparant is the need for some soaking rain. Despite low and clear conditions that now prevail on nearly all rivers on the North Coast fishing has been solid. Yesterday I spoke with a handful of other guides who all reported getting into good numbers. I personally have found success the last handful of occasions I've had time to fish for myself coupled with getting clients into fish on my last two trips. If you're looking to head north and swing a critter for a chrome fish this would be a good time to make the journey. 

 

Tight lines!  

Jeff with his first coastal steelhead.
Jeff with his first coastal steelhead.
A healthy buck to hand on the coast
A healthy buck to hand on the coast
I even got to make a cameo appearance thanks to a fellow angler. Thanks Don
I even got to make a cameo appearance thanks to a fellow angler. Thanks Don
Next 10 open days for Drew Griffith: Nov 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
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