Something’s fishy in West Seattle: Freelance conservation advocate and webmeister, Paul Moinester; The Flyfish Journal Editor and occasional Santa impersonator, Steve Duda; and Patagonia rep and Wild Steelhead Coalition boardie, Brian Bennett digging in and grubbin’ down. Just part of the crowd at an impromptu, pre-Writers-On-The-Fly feast at West Seattle’s famed Ma’Ono. Did I mention the fried chicken? Or the Spam musubi? Or the saimin noodles? Holy smokes.
Any visit to Emerald Water Anglers should include a meal at Ma’Ono. Hey, McCoy…how ’bout a package deal: Buy a rod, get fried chicken free? Sales through the roof. Aloha!
The kids had been practicing with fly rods in the backyard, and they were looking pretty good. Their waders still fit, too. So we decided to run up into the Cascades for a day of chasing trout the color of butterflies, as my friend Bill McMillan calls them. We’re usually so focused on saltwater fishing close to home, as a parent, I realized I’ve been slow to introduce them to something that brought me so much happiness as a kid. I haven’t been trout fishing in years, but there’s something about small streams, dry flies and kids that just go together. That’s Skyla, above, focused as usual, and Weston, simply happy to be able to sit in the water and stay dry. The boy does love his waders!
As you can see, it was also an opportunity to mess around with my brand-new-to-me, used, waterproof camera that my good friend Brian Bennett is selling me at great discount. Missed my focus on the one above, but it was almost there. I used this camera for the recent Cuba posts, but this is the first time I actually put it in the water. I’m stoked to have it.
The kids discovered that currents, rock walls, and overhanging branches all make casting a lot tougher in “real life” than in the yard. I discovered how challenging it is to help two kids wade and fly fish at the same time. We struggled a bit, and the fishing was slow due to low water temps and the amount of time we spent hooked up to trees and bushes, but we all had a great time. Late in the day, as we hiked back to the car, Skyla insisted (as usual) that we “try one more spot” before going home. We found a gorgeous, deep pool, and Weston and I worked the tailout together. I sent Skyla up to the head of the run on her own, and there, without any help from Dad, she made the cast, made the drift, and watched a fish come up through four feet of air-clear water to eat her fly. She set the hook perfectly and landed a gorgeous little cutthroat, our best fish of the day. All by herself. That’s her fish above, the color of butterflies.
Just home from spending a few days with some of my favorite people (and dogs). Sure, the stated objective was steelhead fishing and photo shoot, but the weather wasn’t exactly cooperative. We had low, clear conditions with flat light and very few fish, which changed overnight (literally) to torrential downpour, dark skies and blown rivers. But it hardly mattered. That’s part of the crew above: Kada, Justin, Kate, B2, Rio, Cal and Tim.
We had a rotating cast of characters, with my good friend John Larison joining us for the last and extremely rainy day. Again, it hardly seemed to matter. Lots of great talk about fish, conservation, books, writing, family…pretty much heaven. A very wet heaven, but heaven nonetheless.
Huge thanks to everyone for making it happen. Late nights, long days and good food with great friends. People I don’t get to hang out with nearly enough, all in the same place at the same time. Heaven.