…the fifth leg of the trip begins…

  ~first leg~   ~ second leg~   ~ third leg ~  ~ fourth leg~

~sixth & final leg~

               Back to the cabin for a few days…need to get firewood split & stacked…and maybe hit a few local waters with my buddy to see whats up…its been over a month since I started…made some new friends, caught hundreds of fish, and have seen some beautiful territory for sure…

              I think when I wrap it up I will just sit down and be amazed at the whole deal…but until then there are some more fish to catch and places to see!…yes I’m a bit tired…and yes I had so many places I wanted to go…its just hard to leave Colorado with the fishing being so darn good!…I’m good for maybe one or two more weeks…but then I have to go back to the real world…or is this the real world and that is…well you know…

 

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                This picture taken from the day before, in the exact spot of the stream which  was a clue as to what would occur the following daymost of the leaves falling are yellow and orange…no red ones…this one  was special…

surprise, surprise, surprise!!!

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…a totally unexpected catch in the midst of a super angling day !!…

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…one of my two  rod’s and net’s I made especially to use on my trip…

…a 3 pc. 7’9″4/5 wt.fast action… I call a “RainMaker”

…fast action for bamboo…

…flamed bamboo blank, western style cork, elk and sinew accents…

…very special grain Osage Orange reel seat insert…

…decorative braids on all sections…

…I’m using a Payne WFF5 for my line…

(shown with an old Wright & McGill reel)

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…my “Freestone” model of net I make…this one is made from Zebra wood , lamination’s and handle…

…I also put an Elk antler accent on the end of the handle…

Ive netted over 200 fish on this trip so far…half I have used this net…I also use one same size, but made from red oak with a clear bag. I make a run of a dozen or two nets every year late fall, early winter…

…I always use the lanyard attachment too…so easy to be able to just drop the net and its still there…

…my zebrawood net and a 3pc. “RainMaker”  raring & ready to go!…

…I make so many rods and nets for others ,

…its so nice  be able to experience some of what they are made for in real time myself…

Got a few more truck loads of wood from the Forest Service area…all the beetle kill lodgepole pine is open for folks to harvest up in the National Forest…I only wish they would get it all…such an incredible waste of resources!…winter will be here before you know it…and I love my woodstove!..this morning I split and stacked two truck loads by hand…you know what they say…”all work and no play”…now on to more important things…fishing!

The first part of this page is just fish I caught today( and to harass a few friends too…LOL)…some more terrain and landscapes will be up later this week…we just have to make the final decision as to where that will be…as to hardware…I’m pretty stuck on the RM 4/5 3 piecer…and sight nymphing with no indicator using the white Payne 5WFF …it seems like I’m slipping in on more fish this way…sure I lose a few strikes…but also can loop my line in spots I could never do with an indicator…and that is why I did so well at this spot today!…you tell me…

 

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                    Oh my gosh…a 17″ brookie!!…this football was sneaking around with a bunch of nice browns…I’ve caught smaller brook trout in this spot before, but this time of year the bigger fish tend to start to travel upstream…I’m just happy to be there when he showed up!

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I was casting my black stone nymph with a cheesman emerger dropper in some pretty skinny water with no indicator… for 30 minutes I was pitching at him until he finally took it…I actually caught two other browns during the process…fortunately that did not spook him out of the spot…this fish fought  like a whale!!! I netted him and he  spit out the emerger…the release was classic…I never touched him…he swam away happy…and so was I …I made a video of the release too…short and sweet!

~big brookie release on youtube~

 

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“Salvelinus fontinalis”

 

…an absolutely beautiful fish!!…my largest wild Brook Trout ever !!

…a gift from above for sure!!…

…with a rod I made with my own hands…pretty cool…

…mouth like a humpback whale…teeth like a wahoo…and colors that are hard to describe!!

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…on this rod I used  recoil style strippers…I really like them, I can tell a difference!…

…very smooth(I use (4) from 12mm to 8mm)…

…unlike the agate ring style that is so popular, are basically indestructible…

 

…not to be outdone!!…

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 …the fins and red belly are the first things I saw…boy did my blood get pumping!…

…wish I had gotten  the whole fin in this pic…the tips are so perfectly curved…

…the three colors come together so incredible…

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…look at those choppers!!!…he was going to chew his way out if I didn’t let him go!!…

…he was probably thinking…put down that stupid camera and do this!…

…this fish was 16-17″, but it was as wide as the 21″ brown I caught the same day…

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…the color scheme here is so incredibly unique…

…the relatively short time an encounter lasts with a catch is something that flies by at the time…

…but can be re-lived as if it was an hours long rendezvous…

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…the big  brookie was running with this crowd…a 21″ Brown and his gang…

…I actually caught this bruiser before I spotted the brook trout…what a day!!!

…my nicest brown this year so far!…

Big brown release on youtube

holding a net in one hand and my cell phone in another is quite a challenge!LOL…

(and oh yeah…holding my rod between my knees…)

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..a flip of the tail then a really cool explosion…

…a big brown darting out of my net…he had enough of the holding cell…

…the whole experience lasted only a few minutes…3 or 4 on the hook…just enough time in my net to snap a pic or two…

…I never laid a hand on him…just a quick flip of the hook with my forceps …

…I enjoy releasing them as much as I do tricking them with a fly…

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…this gal needed a helping hand back into her world…

…which I gave with the most gentle moves possible…all of a sudden she exploded out my hands…

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…typical freestone brown…14 inches and full of fight!…

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…the natural camo of a brown trout from above is quite concealing…

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…the afternoon session was phenomenal…a front was moving in and all the bigger fish were on the move…

…this guy was easily 3 & 1/2″ wide…

…this is one of those fish that getting a  hand around was almost impossible…I never touched him….other than a little work out he’s no worse for the wear…some other luck angler hopefully will have a similar encounter!..

..I keep saying my best fish so far!…

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              This day it seemed all the bigger browns were on the prowl…the spawning activity was ended on this creek…and they were taking in the stone fly’s with a vengeance after being preoccupied for about a week or so…just showing how putting in consistent time in the water can pay off…

            The wind had really picked up and it was becoming impossible to loop my line under the overhanging willows where this bruiser and his friends were hanging…it was a seam that went about 3 feet from the shore , and at a certain point about 6 feet under branches only a few inches off the water.

            I tried out a tactic I had been thinking about here…I got almost 20 yards upstream and dropped my line right at the shores edge…allowed the stripped line to follow the seam all the way under this hiding area…this actually allowed the rig to be at the closest to the shore and still way under the willows yet…and yep that’s where the biggest fish of this group was…

           At the very end of the drift he attacked the black Kaufmanns stone…and now it got interesting…I waded away from the shore while keeping the line low enough to not get tangled up in then branches…and pointed the line straight at him…hoping the hook was set well enough to get away with this…if this was the Rs2 I doubt it would have held…but the size 14 stone did fine..

         I managed to get the fish out from under the branches and worked my way downstream and away from the other fish there as fast as I could and now getting my rod tip straight up and reeling as fast as I could to pick up the slack…I got below him pretty quick and got him in the net on the first try…some times a plan works out!

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…the Kaufman Black stones are very realistic looking…

…this pattern worked well along with the black wire version…

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…I know bruisers will go for midges…but they do like a big meal too!…

…this 18″ brown took the top fly…

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…see ya later…

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…and another one that went for the steak w/ wire on it…

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…back to familiar territory…

…for me the release is as enjoyable as the take…

 

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…I caught about 8 fish on the same rig…then I realized I was out of tippet…

…I was traveling light and only had one spool of #5 flouro on me…I thought it was full…oops!

…you know when you pull the tag, and there is only about 8″ left!!…

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…as the weather moved by the wind fell off…and the surface was like glass…

…withing 30 minutes it went from 30+mph wind to calm…

…sunshine but not super bright…I could see fine without my polarized glasses!…

…Rocky Mountain Autumn at its finest!…

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…last fish of the  afternoon…

…a regal looking creature for sure!…

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…after netting and releasing this one I got hung up on some roots and know better with a bamboo than to jerk…

…the top fly held……and oh well for the dropper…time to punch out!

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…the 5 wt. “RainMaker” 3 pc…

…this afternoon will go down as an epic one for the wandering monk!

…I hope you enjoyed it too…

 ..OK…now lets see how another rig and a new day do…

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…a 4wt. 7 &1/2′ 3 pc. “Native Angler”…

…I switched out nets for the Red Oak one w/ a clear bag…

…I actually made this rod for dry fly’s, but decided to try it out doing some light nymphing high stick style…also some stack mending w/o an indicator…the lighter action proved to be a lot of fun with the average fish, but still just fine for the bruisers…just a slightly different approach……what I really like is how it looped perfect into tiny little pockets…something with an indicator I might add is not so easily done…the surface indicator tends to take over drifts rather than allowing the underwater currents to guide the dropper rig ( why I have gotten away from them)….food for thought!…

 

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…I  really enjoy catching the 12-15″ fish with the lighter action unit!…

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…until next time…

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…the black stone fly was doing so well I never even tried any others for the topper…

…after the spawn the browns are looking for some protein!…

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…empty net syndrome…

..actually I missed the pic…the fish almost jumped out of the net after taking its sweet time checking things out…

…its like they have this incredible adrenalin rush!…

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…the the top black stonefly was the pick again…about 30-40 percent this day…

…this one has a  green and black wire body…it also had a few rubber legs…but they are long one at this point…

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…lots of 12-14″ers this morning…now time for some lunch…

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…back at the wood pile…

…really a rod I made for dry fly’s…

…but light nymphing, and stack mending  with no indicator,  it was magic!

…”Native Angler”7 &1/2 ‘ 4 wt. 3 piecer, medium action rod & my red oak handle and lamination’s net…

…check out the super special Osage Orange reel seat insert…

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…beaded black stone size 12 top fly…

…afew of the smaller emerger werepicked this day…because they generally spit them out in the net…

…size 22 cheesman emerger, similar to a greenish Rs2 w/ flash…

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…this super nice 20-22″er awaiting the chance to leave the net…

…the bow on my net is 20″…and he hung over a good bit…

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…”I guess the coast is clear”

…its always funny how they stick their nose just to the edge for a moment before they take off…

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…with the whip of its tail, adios…

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…this fat boy not only took his time leaving my net…

…then he decided to stick around a while before he swaggered away…

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…Sun is getting ready to drop over the ridge…

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…adios…

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…the suns rays flash the colors for a brief second…

…he got a 5/0 for this exit!…

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…as soon as the Sun tucked behind the mountains it started to cool off real quick…

…a month ago the leaves were turning@ 8500 feet…now they are all but gone…

…pretty soon snow will cover everything  up, and tactics will change a bit…

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…gray Rs2’s size 18-20 & Black Stone Flys size 12 were the ticket today…

…last day of the 5th leg…

…we fished about 15 miles of our local freestone for this leg…

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…during run off this freestone is pretty much un-fishable…

…rafting is popular during that time…

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             I guess you must have figured it out by now…we love catch & release!…the personal experience of tricking a trout…then gently returning them to their environ is what its all about…for me making rods and nets….and tying flies just makes the whole involvement that much deeper…

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…I love a nice smooth boulder to sit on while I un-do my wind knots…

…these are first class…

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…some interesting close up detail of this beautiful female brown…

(look at the reflection of the net on here eye!)

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…little pockets like this one was home to some  brookies…

…we caught browns, rainbows and brook trout…

…90% browns…then the rest split between the brook and rainbows…

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…1st Seargent taking a moment to stoke his pipe before getting back to serious matters…

…I could smell the smoke 100 yards downstream…

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…nicest fish of the day…my friend caught this 18″er with the 8′ 6wt “RainMaker”...

…what a way to break in that rod!!!…

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…everything is just fine now…

…we fished this hole together taking turns…

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…I love the diversity of water here…rock bars, pockets…riffles and holes…

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…and fair well till another time !…

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…one of the rods I made special for the trip, an 8′ 6wt. 2 piece “RainMaker”

…the cork contrast in this rod is one of my favorites…

…also the shape of the grip…

…I call it a “Cowboy Cigar”…LOL…

…also one of the special Osage inserts from some ancient wood I had …

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…the typical fish of the day…in the 12-16″ range…

…black stone flys  about 50% of the time today…gray Rs2’s the other half…

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…this spot delivered a few of the browns and brook’s…

…three pockets, with really cool and gentle seams… that all held fish…

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…this one had it’s eye on me the whole time…

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             …Another leg is almost wrapped up…

          Next week fishing the fronts before, during and after the  snow at home(I know the fish will really be worked up with that…),then heading west if weather holds up…but before I can do that I first need to cut a few more loads of wood to get enough to last until spring…

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…I knew when this big front moved through the fish would be going off the hook…I was right…

(I had no idea the words I wrote down yesterday would be so true!!)

…two epic days in one week!!…its something that we have no control over other than just reading the signs…

…I tried to get my friend over after we cut firewood to join in, he couldn’t come so…I was all by myself…snow and a Monday…it couldn’t have been more perfect…the weather scared away the crowd……

…hundreds of fish moving upstream…like some sort of fall ritual…

…I am so grateful and happy…here are some pics…

 

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…the Freestone was celebrating today…and I had a front row seat…

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            At first the snow was really coming down…I couldn’t even use my sunglasses , they were frosted up and full of snow…I just gave up…then the clouds cleared and the temps dropped even more…my waders were starting to make crackling sounds from  ice crystals starting at my knees…I knew if it kept getting colder I would have to switch out my bamboo for a graphite I had in my truck…I did not want to leave and get out a graphite…and only stayed another half hour…but its hard to leave  when its so incredible…it was a surreal experience…I just couldn’t believe my eyes…or the quality of fish I was catching…

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…this brute went about 22″…maybe 23…he took the black Kaufmanns stone size 14…

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                    …I switched out the 4 wt. “Native Angler” for my  5wt “RainMaker”, with an old sage reel I had set up with a furled leader…something told me inside that today was the day I would want that(maybe some big critters)…also my black bag and zebra net…

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…this 18″er took the black stone too…

…he ran me farther up and down the creek than any other fish today…

…then darted out of the net after that workout!!!…

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…now you see me…

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…now you don’t…check out the hydro trail the brown made…

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…say Hi to Hoss!…

…this bruiser for me is the quintessential big brown!…

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..without a polarized lens its hard to see…but there are over twenty nice fish in this pic!…

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…I caught three about this size in the 22″ range…some had more hooked jaws than others…

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…I just wish someone was there to snap a shot of me with this big male!!!

…yikes…the stuff fly fishing dreams are made of!!!…

…yep…that’s what I’m talkin’ bout!!!

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…even the females were big…although I only caught a few…eggs all gone…

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…this pretty female was about 16″…

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…my biggest fish was caught on a size 20 Rs2…

…this guy never misses a meal!…

…I hope there are many more for him in years to come…

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         The second largest brown of the day…lets just say over 22″…I don’t even know which fly he took…he spit it out in the net…I suspect the Rs2…another time I wished someone would just have walked by to take my phone and make a picture!!!…I keep telling the 1st. Sgt.he needs to quit his job and be a trout bum too…

        Many folks might see these pics and just think its only for someone else…trust me…I can count days like the ones on the 5th leg page on one hand…with no thumb or little finger…LOL…in 42 years of fly fishing! I’m just glad I could share this with you all…all on public water!!!…I have guided on private ranches with some nice fish…but no where as near the health and vigor of these babies!!!…keep up the good work Colorado…and I read some forum where it was said…Colorado’s fly fishing has gone to #$%@…really! could have fooled me…

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…what a beautiful female…she faithfully executed her part in the scheme of things!!!…

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            Out of two dozen fish+ caught this day & I only had to actually handle one!!!

                …it was a smaller fish about 12-14″ and the hook was stuck near its eye( the dropper got stuck while it was thrashing around in the net)…I wanted to make sure it came out perfect and not hurt it at all…the rest my style of  C&R….”hands off”…so these fish can all be caught by someone else another day...hopefully you!

              I did lose two nice fish…one an exceptional one…He was darting back and forth bumping away all the smaller 20″ers from the seam he was hunting…finally after watching this for 45 minutes he got it all to himself except for one slightly smaller fish, I guess his body guard …I dropped my black stone on his nose almost15 times when he finally took it with a real passion…what ensued was about 5 minutes of dives, jumps &  screaming runs… it would have been my largest fish ever I think..I made the classic error of not letting it take “one more run” …

          This behemoth  still had a bit too much zip in him when I dipped my net, it was the closest he had come in the entire fight…and I was afraid my knots were ready to burst!…in a split second while he was in my net, he spit the fly and was gone!…

           I think if he would have been 100% caught I would have missed out on something very important…first…there is always tomorrow…and second, the challenge of tricking a beauty like him holds even more allure now than ever…and something I should say about the whole week( and trip in general) so far…its been an incredible gift from The Lord just to experience all these incredible critters and be right in the middle of some classic scenery and angling!…I am tired and ready to sit down for a long evening in front of the stove…but I know as soon as I get warmed and comfortable…I will want to head out again…wm

…the finale, the 6th leg,  is about to start!…

..ok…next headed up into  higher country(above 10,000 feet) before snow sets in…

 …click here to see more about my philosophy on “Catch & Release”…

…all fish caught in public waters…

…with my rods and gear…and no indicator!…

~all the road trip pages were taken by my Samsung Galaxy 4 phone!!!

…Private Lessons…

       I give highly personalized fly fishing lessons , from basics to more involved tactics…I will travel to your location for you, a couple  or a very small group…you will finish up the sessions with an excellent base to pursue fly fishing in a very new and successful way.

       Only requirement is an area that has some decent waters or pond and creek so we can put to practice all that I can show you in real time…graphite, fiberglass or bamboo…its all good…basically very similar to what could be called a guided trip, but with an absolute  focus on personal attention to develop good skills and ability’s…the emphasis being that you can execute all skills necessary to do what I do…and be at a point to develop your own personal style of angling…

      …Every time  I have done this in the past, the level of angling prowess for those involved has increased exponentially…there is a lot of nonsense out there…and there is also a lot of solid information…I can help you learn to discern these things for yourself…

.

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