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Flaming Covid and Fly Fishing!

by Tom Hogye

CZU Lightning Complex Fire – Covid – Fish.  Fly-Fishing.  What Day is It?

At this writing we’ve evacuated our home in Ben Lomond (which is safe), and are watching God clean up 81,000 acres (Sunday was 2,500, Tuesday, 25,000, Wednesday 63,000, Sunday 74,000 -21% containment) of forest in Santa Cruz Mountains.  A historic event not seen in nearly a century.   Tragically over 635 structures are lost and likely more still unaccounted for.  Many of them homes.   We are okay and we are now patiently waiting for the opportunity to return home.   Beyond grateful for all our service members fighting the fire and protecting some 24,000 residences from looting.  And my brother Dave, and Diane for a great place to stay and for all who came to help us move horses, chickens, belongings and prepare the house even more.

Before the fire, Mona and I had taken off to play in the Sierra for a few days.   It was a beautiful trip.  We watched meteor showers on a houseboat at Lake Almanor, caught trout at Moccasin Creek just before it dumps into Lake Don Pedro.  Some very feisty escapees – probably from the hatchery above.   Despite drifting PT Nymphs in the heat of the day, the fish were still willing and fun.   Then we fished the, North Fork of the Stanislaus at Boardman’s Crossing in Dorrington, where we had to contend with a lot of the smaller wild fish hitting our flies, and roaming cattle, while we went in search of the larger fish.    That water was colder than Moccasin.

Bear Valley Ski Resort is a beautiful place to visit this time of year.   When you are taking a break from fly-fishing, you can rent canoes, and mountain bikes to do some other adventuring, or you can just hike many miles around Alpine Lake and other areas- free and Covid Free!

We got skunked on the East Fork of the Carson, mostly because we fished the heat of the day and we were finally starting to think about heading home.  But we had a beautiful time exploring the Sierra in our truck.   Best Covid get away together.

There is still plenty of time to do some terrific fly-fishing here and within 2-4 hours driving.   5 hours and you have your pick of the best fly fishing in California.   Most of these places we chose are the best and we learned about them hanging out at our Zoom Club meetings talking about these areas, accommodations, flies,…   The RV parks have tent camping and many of them have nicer bathrooms and showers if you’re on the move like we were.   Best thirty dollars, especially if you’re with yer best friend.  Make your camp easy to set up and take down – fun way to move about.

We have all been working hard together during this Flaming Covid crisis to keep – YOU – our membership engaged, and especially our new members who are anxious to drink from this 43 year cup of fly-fishing experience we are.   We have engaged in so much and I’m super happy with what we’re doing.    Please attend the Zoom meetings.  They are fun – Even if you don’t stay for the whole meeting, come – buy a few raffle tickets ahead of time and hang out.   This meeting Lance Grey is going to share some awesome Northern California trout tips for us, and even around some of the lakes.   Don’t miss this one.

I am also super excited to introduce you to our new Secretary, Camille Padilla and our new Newsletter Editor/Web Master, Scott Kitayama.  Both Scott and Camille dove in and have been helping so much already.   We’re all really excited to have them on your Board.

It is hard figuring out what day it is sometimes.   And we’re naturally thinking of all our friends impacted by Covid and these fires.   It’s been a year of refining for sure.   But we persevere, look forward, get creative and look for things we can be grateful for in the midst of trials.

When we saw the orange glow over the mountain in Ben Lomond that Monday night, that “fight or flight” thing kicks in and you just do.   I thought of the men and women fighting the fire and how they must feel, that there are no scheduled ten-minute breaks or lunch hour.  Or the men and women who have had to fight for freedom in wars or to live in a war zone, not knowing for months, if you were going to make it or not.   We had a lot of help and we all reached out to help each other, even when we were tired from helping ourselves.  It’s what we do.  It’s what brings us together.

When the smoke clears and things settle, we’ll fish more.  Together.

Thank you for being a valuable part of SCFF.   I am grateful for you.   Tom

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History In the Making – Covid Conundrum Continues

by Tom Hogye

Well – so much for the “restart”.   I think I’ll go fishing.

Wow.   Didn’t really see this coming, but now planning for more essential long-term opportunities.   Isn’t it nice to know that fishing is a good way to get out these days?   RV sales, Campers, hiking and cycling related sales are at record highs.   So are the hardware stores and pizza shops!

Just a 2-3-4 or 5 hours drive from Santa Cruz – are some great trout fishing opportunities.  The very best in the west.   I am headed to the Merced in a couple days for an overnight camping trip and some summer wet wading and dry-fly fishing.    If you’re into it – you can go to www.recreation.gov – put in the name of a National Forest near you, the camping area you want to go to, and your’e in.

Last month, we talked about the surf, which for some of us is between 10 and 20 minutes away.   And that fishing is still very good- surf perch, striper, halibut…

Many of you missed George Revel’s Zoom presentation on fly-fishing the surf in the Bay Area.  I know this because Zoom is a really cool way to see all of you.  If you haven’t loaded this onto your computer – do.  It’s super awesome.    We had a very engaging 2 hours and it was really fun hanging out with George and our members till 8:30 chatting away about everything surf and fly-fishing related.

August was going to be our annual BBQ/Slop n Swap meet, but due to the Covid conundrum, we are instead going to be having a nice raffle -with online ticket sales, and a fantastic presentation on fly-fishing for bass and bluegill – which you can also do in a 1-2-3 hour drive from Santa Cruz.  The club meeting will start via Zoom at 6:30.  See the club meeting section for the link – click on it, and zoom – you’re in!   Easier than a campsite!

If you are a new member, we’re going to be doing fly-tying again – via Zoom, a Happy Hour, knot tying and Steve Rudzinski and a few other board members are going to be hosting some beginning fly casting tutoring.  The first at Jade Street Park in Capitola and maybe some additional work at another park – TBD- maybe at DeLaveaga.  Keep up with the newsletter and the SCFF email list.  If you’re not getting either of them – reach out to me – and we’ll make certain you are informed.

With the Covid crisis in an uncertain state, more than ever, we are going to continue to do more to keep you engaged.   We are also collaborating with other clubs such as the Delta Fly Fishers -who are enabling us to join in some of their fish-outs where there is room.   I’d encourage you to participate and join in some of these activities where possible.  They are a super enthusiastic group.   We’re all in this together.

I do miss all of you, but I am grateful we are doing well as a club and as a membership.  I am happy no one has been sick.  You have been fishing.  You have been helping, encouraging and being responsible to each other and your families and friends.   We are going to come out of this better and all of the really awesome fun, on-line things we are doing because of this, are only going to make us stronger and more engaging, fun,…

All for now – trying to keep this short.   If you want to participate on the board, help the club, have some ideas to share -write to me or call.  I’d love to hear from you.

Fish on my friends.   Tom    – thomashogye@yahoo.com / 831-214-7578

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In the Midst of Change

by Tom Hogye

I had the fortunate opportunity to fish for surf perch and Striper in our local waters from New Brighton to Manresa.  Caught my first Striper on a Clouser at New Brighton.  My first Barred Surf Perch with the legendary Jim Lazzarotti, in Rio Del Mar when he first taught me to fish with my fly-rod this way.

I admit I really enjoy New Brighton and Rio Del Mar the most.   I’ve spent the last 38 years here and “grew up” in the Rio Del Mar, Seacliff area.

I moved to California when I was 20.   I was deeply entrenched in horse sports.   The short part of the longer story is that I had a dream to ride Dressage in the Olympics one day, but discovered vaulting- gymnastics on horses, and in California, and that was it.   Yes – I was, and still am, in many ways, a horse person.

When I moved to California, for three years, I lived in the apartment right behind Café Rio.   It’s still there and still the same blue/grey color it was in the 80’s.   I paid ninety bucks a month to split a room with one of my teammates.   I ran every inch of those beaches and the stairs around them.   Swam more than a few times in those waters out near the cement ship.

But didn’t fish those waters until I became a fly fisherman, and then it took a few years to get me off trout and bass waters and into the salt.   Shooting head?  Sink Tip?  Running Line?  What was all that?

As with most of your fly-fishing terms, technology and lingo – you figure this out very quickly.  Two or three times fishing in the surf and you’ll get it.  DO NOT give up!   Relax, enjoy those hours.  They are undoubtedly early, so what else would you be doing?  Sleeping?  Working?!   Get it?  Enjoy.

Our club has arguably some of the very best surf casters and surf fly-fishers in the Bay Area.   If you read California Fly Fisher Magazine, and you should, Robert Ketley is almost always writing up some practical article about fishing New Brighton.   If the bowl isn’t full of salad – you’ll find Ketley there pretty much any time you’re there.   Others like Robert Eberle, Kirk Mathew, Sam Bishop, Elaine Cook, Mark Traugott, have mastered their skills here.   If you ever get to fish with any of them – watch them closely.  Do what they do!   Seriously!   While I’m only 5’6” and Robert Eberle 6’ something, he has that bit of an advantage over the height of the breakers he can take over me, but his casting, retrieve, where and how he moves the fly in the surf rewards him with more than humbly.   So, even with the height disadvantage, if I can get everything else, right – it works.   And it does.  You might even catch a halibut, or as in Elaine’s case once – a Leopard shark.

It’s not expensive!  And, you don’t need 6X tippler and magnifying goggles to see the flies.  ‘fact, you can fish 10 pound mono and rig a two or three fly leader easy.  And you don’t want expensive anyhow, cause you want to make sure when you forget just once or twice to completely rinse out your gear, you’re not ruining something priceless.

Anyhow- we’ve had a lot of good discussion, fish-outs and speakers regarding this means of fly-fishing.  Sure, it’s not your High Sierra, Montana, Wind River Cuttbow fishing experience, but it has its own beautiful charm right here.  You have to be careful, just like you do anywhere else.   Never turn your back on the ocean and know how to read what a “rip” or a hole looks like.  Waves are very unpredictable and some sets will be small, but then boom – you’re caught off guard by a rogue wave, or the larger set.  Rivers and lakes have their trials too.   Just keep your eyes open and your wits about you.  Those form fitting PFD’s – Personal Floatation Devices are a good idea.   So is what you’re wading in.  In the summer, the water isn’t really that cold.  You could wet wade!  Or just make sure you got your wading belts on snug and stay reasonable.

I never fished when I lived in Rio Del Mar or Seacliff.  As a 20 year old kid, I ran, swam, sat on the beach – if I went to the beach at all.  But I loved the peace there – especially in the morning and evening.  For nine years I lived there and all I did besides work and school was ride horses.   Now I live where I have horses, but all I think about is fishing!   Or the garden!

I’m not sure what the next few months have in store for us.  Your board and I are trying to figure out what’s best for our membership, how to be responsible, compliant and still have fun.  We have some new members who’d love to get out and learn from some of us – even some of our newest high-school scholarship recipients.    I miss just being able to pick up the phone, plan to meet some place and have fun casting, fishing,…   Of course, we are still doing all of this, but it’s just taking a little more planning and care.

Since my own mom and dad would surely have a very difficult time surviving this pandemic if they were to get sick, I’m super grateful for everyone who cares.   I also feel the burden, anxiety, unrest and other emotions that come with the hardships, even if I don’t have them, entirely, myself.   I know a lot of people who have lost their jobs, lost loved ones and have lost their businesses at a time when they were doing really well.   They didn’t get sick, they didn’t hurt anyone, didn’t do anything wrong, but overnight, we had to change and it was very hard on them and still is.  If you’re in that group, I appreciate you.

So, let’s remember the good, focus on good, appreciate that which has been good amidst all of which can seem really bad.  Look out for each other, no matter the differences.  Be Kind. Be good, and maybe take someone fishing, or go fishing with someone.

We are doing our best and you are helping us be our best.   Thank you.   See you soon.   Have a good 4th of July.  We’re still planning our August BBQ at the Grange – all things considered.

I miss you all.   Tom

 

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Go Fishing!

by Tom Hogye

Go Fishing!

Really – I mean, respecting all concerns, requirements, regulations.   But there are lots of opportunities for all of us to get out and go fishing.   Immediately, the surf is in our back yard and is abundant with Surf Perch, Striper, Halibut and other species- like Great White Shark!!   Wouldn’t that be a hoot!  Yes, it’s best to have a sinking line, running line and stripping basket, but you’ll get the hang of it fast and you can often get in 3  hours of fun before the rest of the world gets up in the morning.  A lot in your newsletter – thank you Sam Bishop and the rest for bringing us along.

You can get out to a number of bass lakes within a few hours and some trout fishing not too much farther.   Many, if not most, of our local California guides are working and are very reasonable for a day or two of wade fishing our northern CA waters, or the Eastern side of the Sierra locations.   I’m immediately thinking of a number of our guest speakers-  Jon Baiocchi, Joe Contaldi, Chris King and many others who would happily help you navigate a successful, safe and fun trip.   Look them up.  Go fishing.

Club Meetings!

If you missed the May meeting via Zoom – it was a HUGE SUCCESS.   We had 38 people attend and stay the entire meeting.   Jeff Goyert pulled of an excellent door prize raffle as it was easy to capture everyone’s names via Zoom.  AND – I didn’t have to ask anyone to be quiet – ever.  I just put you on Mute!!  😉  It was so fun to see everyone’s faces and everyone had some input or another.  It really was fun.   Jim Cox, from Western Rivers Conservancy, was incredible.   A beautiful presentation and a commanding expertise in his field, kept everyone interested.   This month, June 3rd, we are doing to do it again!   This time we’ll have George Revel from Lost Coast Outfitters.  Join the meeting by 6:30!   Don’t miss this fun way to meet.   You’ll love it.

Fly-Tying Class – Zoom?

Elaine is even thinking of doing a Zoom Fly-tying class where you can sign up, pickup the fly-tying materials at a predetermined location and then do the class via Zoom!!   How ‘bout that!?   Stay tuned.

High-School Scholarships – Aptos, Harbor, Soquel, Santa Cruz, San Lorenzo, Pajaro Valley

This year, the SCFF members contributed directly to enable us to give twelve, one hundred dollar scholarships to students finishing high-school, heading into college studies that involve Science and/or Environmental Sciences/studies.   Each of the twelve students will also receive a on year membership to the club.  Thank you all for your generous donations to SCFF, enabling us to continue our mission “To Promote, Educate, and Enjoy, the Sport of Fly Fishing” and to call upon the youth of the world.

The Future! – Well, at least July, and August

I understand these days have been challenging for many, and downright disastrous in other ways.   But there have also been many blessings.  The wildlife and the planet are benefitting in ways we’d never have been successful at even with all the “world leaders” we have.   Tragically, it took a deadly virus to clean up the air, water and noise pollution in one month, now two.  For how much longer?  And will we try to keep it that way?

We’ve come together in ways we’d never do normally. We’ve given, or stayed put, reached out in encouragement, volunteered, donated and changed to meet a need and do our best to enjoy what we can -even if it’s just being together or taking the dog for a walk every day.

There is traditionally no July Club meeting.  So I will wish you a truly homespun good ole-fashioned 4th of July with those you can be close to or with.  Of course, you can still – Go Fishing!!

We are going ahead with our plans to meet at the Grange in Aptos, for our August meeting.   It will be outdoors, mostly, and is our annual club Barbeque and Swap Meet.   Yes -we will be taking every required precaution, and some maybe a bit more personal, to be as responsible as we should be.    IF, something was to happen where we couldn’t have the BBQ, we’ll have a plan B.   But I am hoping those of you who will be excited and able to come together, in August.  We’ll have an All-American BBQ and swap meet.

Thanks to your board, all those who have reached out to help in so many ways.  And thanks to some new members, Scott, Camille, Michael, who have offered and helped in a number of ways.  That is what we are about.

Set Zoom up on your iPad, computer, and prepare for the June meeting.  I look forward to seeing you.  Until then?   – Go -what?  Go Fishing!

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Zooming and Fly-Fishing into the 21st Century

by Tom Hogye

Shifting gears can be super difficult if your clutch is bad and your synchros aren’t working properly, crunching through the gears, with a shift lever that won’t move, a car that won’t go and a clutch pedal that won’t give up.  Well, I’m happy to say that your Fly-Fishing synchro’s – the group you might refer to as “The Board” – of SCFF are synced and seem to be expert at navigating gear changes quite good.  Afterall, who else will drive 5 hours or fly twenty-four hours to a destination with a plan, only to find it changing in an instant.   Weather, flies, water condition/volume, hole in yer waders, hook in the neck, broken rod, dropped your best fly box in the water…   COVID-19 got nothing on this bunch of seasoned veterans – with all due respect.

Not to take lightly the situation at all, but your board came together battling things we often resist or just leave alone as we mature for the benefit of you.  Yeah – you!

For the first time in the forty-three years the Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen has been in existence, we held our board meeting via “Zoom”- an internet based teleconferencing application that made it easy for anyone with a computer, tablet or smartphone to access.   Even when some of us had never done such a thing, it was not only fun, but very productive.   Elaine Cook, your Master Fly-Tying instructor, even launched her meeting from the passenger seat in Big Red, as she and John were obviously returning from a top secret, never to be disclosed, socially distant day of fly-fishing.

All of us wore our favorite fishing hats, donned a libation, sat in our favorite spots and launched further into the 21st Century than any of us would have ventured, ever.   I dare say that if I ever told the board, let’s do something like this for “fun”, it would have passed like the worst constipation you’ve ever had in your life – I know, bad picture.  But look; we simply would not have done it.   You throw a deadly virus at us and tell us we can’t meet for the benefit of our membership, our mission, fly-fishing, scholarships, a beer together, and what we can do to help?   Get out of the way.

As many of you know, if I miss a board meeting or a club meeting, it’s because of work.  Oh – and I’m still working – twice has hard to do half as much with thirty percent less.   But I am grateful.   Anyhow, I miss everyone when we can’t get together.  Having the board meeting via the internet came terrific and it was really good to see everyone, hear their voices, laugh together and do our job.

So, while we physically still can’t “get together” for the May meeting – we’re gonna get together.  We are going to have our May Meeting on Zoom.   You will all get an invite in your email – so make sure it’s up to date.    Wear your best fishing hat, and we’ll get through the business portion quickly.  AND – we’re going to test out a raffle by having a super nice door prize for anyone attending.  Jeff Goyert said his wife will do the draw – so we know it wasn’t fixed!!  Then we’ll have a Zoom presentation with Western Rivers Conservancy.  Yes – a presentation – on line, with questions afterward.

The new website is up -www.santacruzflyfishing.org, AND in less than a month, we had our first member who signed up on line.   I can’t wait till we have our first member join from a different country!!  How cool is that!    Over the next month or so, the website is going to get even better and there will be opportunities for lots of fun stuff.

Look, I know it’s really a mess out there and I realize that without my phone and with out the internet, I likely wouldn’t have the job I have, and the club wouldn’t be doing much at all.  So while all the technology and traffic often gets on my nerves, I am so grateful for these opportunities to do so much good, in a time when we need to focus more on that.

Stay tuned, I’m working on Mark to do some YouTube or Zoom casting instruction / Q&A, and I’m trying to convince Elaine how awesome it would be to do some Zoom based fly-tying.  And Sam Bishop is organizing some Social Distance Surf Casting for Perch and Stripers.   So watch the newsletter and schedule.   The surf is open and this is an excellent time of year to get out on the surf.

Things will continue to change as we adjust to all of this conundrum we’re in, so keep close to your newsletter and the website.   Write, call, talk to each other, get out there and practice yer casting.   We will be back on the water.  Think how terrific all of this is for the environment, for the fish, for those places you like to fish.  Know they aren’t getting hammered, but they are being left to recover.

Wouldn’t it be a good idea if maybe every couple years, we just shut down everything to let the earth heal from all that we do to it?

I think so.   Thank you all for our support, we are wishing you well and a safe return to a new normal.

Peace out.   Tom

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Social Distance Casting!

by Your President - Tom Hogye

In 1992 I was at the Ed Rice Fly Fishing Show with Mona.   We were still practically newly-weds and had recently seen A River Runs Through It, in the movie theatre.   As new comers to fly-fishing I was on overdrive soaking in everything as a guy who by today’s standards had virtually nothing in my collection of all things fly-fishing.   We were taking in everything from fly-tying, gear, waders, flys, vests, hats, how I came to get my Filson cap, and guys and gals casting fly rods, like I’d just seen Brad Pitt do in the movie.

Mona and I befriended a guy at the Sage booth.   At that time, I didn’t know Sage from Orvis, from R.L. Winston, Thomas & Thomas,…   They were all just really expensive and really beautiful.   This guy was super nice.   He grabbed a couple of rods and we went outside to do some casting.    It was evening, but the casting pool was lit up.   Fly lines shimmering and floating in the night sky against the bright lights.   We were having a blast and learning a lot, watching the line, practicing and practicing.    When we asked his name, he said it was Randy Swisher.   I commented, ‘Swisher?! You mean like, Doug Swisher?’

Yeah, That’s my dad.

Wow – I was hooked.   When we went back inside, I asked him about the rod I was casting.   It was a beautiful deep bluegreen graphite Sage SP.  Mona said I did have a birthday coming up soon, and Randy offered up his employee discount and threw in the rod tube.

I’ve loved that rod and at the price you pay for a rod like that, even 28 years ago – you take care of it.

Well I broke it last summer and was crushed.   I was worried that part of the rod wasn’t even available anymore.   But the long and the short of it, is they did.  Sage treated me like it was one of my kids.   They repaired the rod and had it back to me in a few weeks.

“Social Distance”.  Two words none of us have ever though of putting together before.   In an unprecedented health crisis, none of us saw any of this coming.   Although I did hear a 2015 TED talk with Bill Gates who warned us of just such a disaster.   Wow.   Anyhow, I am, like all of us, at home, working to be responsible so as to mitigate this health crisis.    We are certainly going to be a different world in the future, and preparing our “kit bags” for many different things we never really thought of before, will become the new norm.   Teachers will now have to prepare for their classes each year, with an online curriculum, just in case.   Hospitals, government, manufacturing, finance, business in general will have to have a disaster plan that now may include some sort of crisis unforeseen.  Probably all good ideas, but hard to manage now -unless you’re Walmart, Clorox, Charmin or Amazon.

It was really hard canceling the April meeting and equally hard having to cancel the board meeting.

As we are at home, I do recall one of the instructions is to “get outside”!   I’ve seen more people walking their dogs, or just walking together than I’ve ever seen before.   I painted the laundry room and have been fixing some fences.  Went for a bike ride.   I took inventory of all my fly-fishing gear.   I cleaned my fly lines and rigged up some two fly leaders for surf perch/Striper fishing in the near future.   I organized my fly-tying and spun up a couple of bugs for the summer I’m very much looking forward to.   My rod came back!   Get Outside!   Okay – that’s where you can practice Social Distance Casting!  The grass is green at the parks, and it’s legal/okay to go to the park.  You had time to clean your line and maybe even clean up your favorite stick.   A good time to get out and practice your line control, with a little dab of yarn, and do something different.   If you’re in the park waving a nine foot long stick with a long colorful string on the end of it, chances are, people are gonna stay way clear of you.   Much more than six feet.

Stay well my friends.   Hang in there and all of us at SCFF are wishing everyone good health so we get through this together and get back to having fun together.   We are going to appreciate that more than ever before.

Cast away – everything!    Tom

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First Light

Yawn! It’s 3:15 a.m. and I’m up getting ready to head to the airport. I like getting up early. Especially if I’m getting on a plane or into my truck to head out on an adventure. There’s just something about that special excitement that comes from discon-necting from the normal work flow of life, planning to get into the great outdoors and fish.

My favorite time to be driving is so early that even in the Bay Area, no one is on the road. Your only concern the potential of a deer, coyote, mountain lion, raccoon, or pos-sum crossing the road. Coffee! Always on the road long enough for that break from black to navy, to dark blue as the sun is long from the horizon, but letting us know that it will soon be first light.

When my brother and I first drove across the country more than 37 years ago, I still distinctly remember when that first light started to occur and where. The most stunning is when we were driving through Cheyenne, Wyoming. That one I’ll never forget. In Albu-querque when my dad and I drove across again and it had snowed on our way into Flagstaff, Arizona.I can’t really explain it, but maybe it’s this weird sense of being ahead of everyone else, being the first to see what no one else was seeing, and to see it all pure, quiet, no traffic, no one else. It’s kind of like those winter days in Ohio when it snowed a foot, was still snowing heavily, and the bunch of us ventured out to the Metro Parks in the hills, and how almost unnaturally, crazy quiet it was. Or the time Mona and I were at eleven thousand feet on the Bear Tooth Mountain pass in Mon-tana hiking a couple miles back into the wilderness to fish for Brookies. We stopped and just looked at each other, marveling at how we could hear nothing. Nothing at all but for a bird, a bug, or the sound of the breeze.

Last year, I was up early and passing through the foothills in Roseville, on my way to my first Pyramid fishout, when that first light occurred again. Could not have been a bet-ter morning, capped off by seeing my good friends of SCFF by First LightBy President Tom Hogye10:30 a.m., then landing my first Lahontan Cutthroat by 12:30. This would be where they do that “mic drop” thing – boom. One and done, baby!

Or there was that morning, freezing cold, ice on the guides, can’t really see the river you’re entering. How light makes you rub your early morning eyes as if they need help adjusting, then that grab hours later and you’re off and running with a steelhead on the other end.Even though this morning means sitting in the airport on a Sunday morning heading for a conference in Florida, where it’s all about “how much more can you bring in the door, Hogye”, I am looking forward to those other mornings, those mornings I might not have a chance to do if it weren’t for my work, family, friends and SCFF. Makes everything worth it.

Over the next couple of months, watch for the new SCFF website! Thanks to PatSteele, Bob Peterson, and your board, we willbe fast moving into the 21st century with some really exciting, intuitive and vibrant changesto the Santa Cruz Fly Fishing website. We’re really excited. And if you’d like to lend yourexpertise and be on the cutting edge of this work, helping us withour monthly newsletter, content, email lists, and other resources we are working on, please reach out and we’d love to have your help.

If you need a good book to read, look for “Feather Thief”. It’s a very interesting look at what happened to the fly-tying industry and one particular person. I’ve listened to the podcast twice and then met Bill Keogh from Keogh Hackles at this year’s Fly-Fishing Expo in Pleasanton, where so many of us met for what you could rightly call our second “Christmas.” It’s such an awesome place to meet so many people who love the out-doors, fly fishing, and all that it encompasses. Was another really great year.

At this moment, sitting on the plane for yet another work trip, I’m looking forward to trips with SCFF, my family and friends. See you soon!