44, yes I said 44
Who introduced you to fly fishing?
My father. He became a teacher at an early age with the idea, in his words, "...so I could fish for 3 months a year!" Hence me starting fly fishing when I was about 3.
Can you tell us a little about your home waters and the fish you pursue there?
Currently and for the past 20 years, my home waters are the salty ones of Puget Sound. This is an incredibly diverse and dynamic fishery where we can pursue the Coastal Cutthroat in actual saltwater, 12 months of the year. During late summer and fall, migratory coho salmon arrive and on odd years pinks as well. If we really want to get after it, we can also hop on SUP's and hit the rip rap banks with a 10 wt and get after Ling Cod too.
What's the height of the season for you? What time of year is your personal favorite?
We fish hard all year but the majority of our guide business is from Feb. through Oct. peaking in the mid-summer months of course.
On Puget Sound, spring is absolutely fantastic. All the salmon fry begin to enter the salt water from their spawning tribs and the cutthroat go absolutely nuts. They will gorge themselves to the point of puking up baitfish when you land them. This goes on all around you when fishing too, you see them crashing the bait much like the stripers of the east coast.
What are your favorite travel destinations? What's on the bucket list?
I have been in almost 50 countries over the past 7 years and had some amazing experiences. Bhutan for Mahseer, Greenland for Arctic Char and Sudan for GT's were incredible trips for the fishing and culture which is an important component to my travels. I like to meet the people who live in these areas and see their way of life as part of my fishing trips so in short, my favorite is the one coming up, the one I haven't been on yet!
What do you like most about Thomas and Thomas rods? Which rods do you fish?
I am drawn to companies and in particular, Thomas and Thomas that can hold on to the legacy of the company while still pushing ingenuity. Bringing passionate anglers and designers together to build niche specific rods for very specific purposes that will cross over and be fantastic in other applications. Love that about the current selection of our rods. I love the marriage of beauty and brawn together in each rod we make. Anglers can feel as though they are holding a meticulously engineered work of art while knowing it is tough as nails.
My favorite rods by far are the Exocett 690, DNA 1307 and Exocett SS 250 among others!
What's your current go-to fly?
On Puget Sound, it is the Sound Searcher which was originated by my dad for bass and has proven itself on streams as well for aggressive trout.
Other than fly tackle, what piece of gear do you find to be indispensable?
Camera. Our sport takes us to such stunning locales, I find myself wrestling with which toy to pick up, the fly rod or the camera.
From the angler’s point of view, what do you see as the main value of going on a guided trip?
I believe everyone has their own reason for choosing to hire a guide. Having been a guide for 25 years, my perspective on what a guide should be is this. We are stewards of the waters we guide and should act accordingly. Anglers should leave us a more confident, excited, educated and proficient angler than when they arrived. Our brain should be an open book to our clients so they can glean as much of what they want and need from their time with us. Teach, teach and then teach more...bugs, knots, reading water, line management, casting, access, and conservation. Fly fishing is an observant endeavor and we should help them to see this sport more from a process point of view rather than a result based orientation.
What’s your ideal lunch when on the water? What do you actually pack?
BLT with spicy wild salmon filet and lots of avocado. Patagonia buffalo jerky and sour patch kids.
What fly fishing blogs/magazines do you read regularly?
Moldy Chum and The Fly Fish Journal.
When I’m not fishing you’ll find me....
On a plane heading to another continent, editing photos, managing my fly fishing store here in West Seattle and spending as much possible time with my wife Natalie and daughter Nessa as she is growing up way too fast. Eating good food, in route to my next place I will be fishing and tying flies.