Who introduced you to fly fishing?
My older brother took me under his wing at a young age, showing me the ropes and taking me along on trips to the local ponds to catch various warm water species where I grew up in the Chicago area. As we progressed we started to take annual trips out west to montana and colorado, where we eventually took it to the next level.
Can you tell us a little about your home waters and the fish you pursue there?
Currently most of my year I reside on Alphonse Island in the Seychelles, where my fishing consists of a wide variety of tropical saltwater species. Our bread and butter here is the bonefishery, but there are another four species that we pay close attention to as well. These include Permit, Triggerfish, Milkfish, and Giant trevally. We pursue these fish both by boat and on foot in a variety of areas including sand and turtle grass flats, coral finger flats, and surf zones. Now back at my other home(California), I have a short window where chasing fish with fly rods consists of high elevation creeks with dry flies, European style nymphing on bigger freestones like the Truckee River, and summer steelhead fishing further north on the North Umpqua River, in Central Oregon with two handed rods and skated flies. I also will spend about three weeks in Florida both in the panhandle and the Everglades for Tarpon.
What's the height of the season for you? What time of year is your personal favorite?
The height of the season for me in a guiding sense is when the tides are right and my angler is bringing their A game. The fishery is the Seychelles stays very consistent throughout the nine month season, only the tides will dictate changes in our conditions. In a tidal sense, a week that consists of big tides which force the favorite five species to move through areas in a timely manner, this allows me make a number of moves throughout the day where fish show up like clockwork.
What are your favorite travel destinations? What's on the bucket list?
I honestly can say I have not travelled outside the U.S. extensively, so most of my destinations are quite local outside the seychelles. Winter steelhead fishing on the coast of northern California and southern Oregon amongst the redwoods is very hard to beat in my mind , which leads to the desire to fish British Columbia in any of its many outstanding steelhead fisheries. I have had a chance to fish New Zealand and I would still put that on my bucket list of places to fish. I have never caught an Atlantic Salmon, so I would put the Kola Peninsula high on the list and perhaps the Golden Dorado down in Bolivia. I am honestly easy to please if it swims and wants to eat a fly, bring it on.
What you like most about Thomas and Thomas rods? Which rods do you fish?
What I enjoy most about T&T is its resurgence into the game and bringing back class into modern design. The company has worked closely with Alphonse Fishing Company which I am the head guide for, and have developed their new saltwater series rods around our needs. These rods include the Exocett in sizes 8-12, my favorites are the 9 and 11. Each one of these rods are different and you can feel it, which in my mind shows the amount of thought put into the design and usefulness in the quiver. On the other end of the spectrum, I have a history of competition fly fishing with Team USA. I had a chance to fish with Joe Goodspeed's new T&T Contact european nymphing rods in a 3 and 4 weight and wow they are sweet! the tip of this rod protects tippet like I have never felt before and it is very light in hand. The 10' 8" 3 weight is my new favorite competition rod.
What's your current go-to fly?
This is a dynamic question due to my over obsession with fly tying, so I will list it according to species:
- Subsurface trout- The Carrot Jig nymph
- Surface Trout- The Ugly Rudimus
- Summer Steelhead-the Ackroyd
- winter Steelhead- Pink/salmon colored prawn Intruder
- Milkfish-Milky magic
- Giant Trevally-the Flaming Lamborghini
My favorite thing about guiding is:
My job is your vacation.
From the angler’s point of view, what do you see as the main value of going on a guided trip?
Local knowledge of the fishery far and away the biggest value you will take away from a guided trip. Even the most experienced anglers that are guided need to know how, why, and where the fish are going to be feeding.
What can new fisherman expect to get out of a guided trip? My favorite thing to teach a client is...
A new fisherman should remember that it is their day to spend it how they wish. They should also have realistic expectations for themselves/and guide so that the day is enjoyed instead of being frustrated. My favorite thing to teach a client is to take it all in, don't obsess only about the fish but where the fishing has taken you. Give them an experience to remember so that they book again!
What’s your ideal lunch when on the water? What do you actually pack?
On a guided trip, nothing beats breaking out a BBQ, some quality sides and of course some chocolate treats to seal the post lunch coma deal. We do achieve this here on Alphonse once a week and every guide counts down until next one occurs. Now if it were me and I was packing a lunch for myself, Peanut butter (must be crunchy) and jelly (raspberry or strawberry), and maybe some cold fried chicken. Oh and of course beer in a compressible container.
What fly fishing blogs/magazines do you read regularly?
I mostly enjoy reading up on the latest fly tying trends and typically find these on forums according to the fish. My favorite magazine is The Drake.
When I’m not fishing you’ll find me....
Eating good food, in route to my next place I will be fishing and tying flies.