Sierra Mackerel

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Barra de Navidad, MX
Tippet The Kat
Florida Keys
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George Cook School
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Wired For Sierra Mackerel at Barra De Navidad
Barra De Navidad, Mexico, November 26, 2005.  Just our luck.  The in-shore water temperature was an unseasonable 74-degrees, instead of the customary 78-82 that it usually is this time of year.  Although the weather was clear and balmy, the locals were decrying the lack of dorado and bill fish. Patty and I had met up with my son Troy who keeps his 26' blue water fly fisher, the "Dream Catcher" at Barra.  We were staying for 10 days whether the fishing was any good or not.  The first morning we left the dock at 6:30am and headed north about ten miles to a chain of off shore rocks. 
These rocks extend from the steep shore line for about a half a mile. At the end of this chain is Ampoya (the boil), which is submerged pinnacle that creates very noticeable surface disturbance at high tide and is visible during low tide. The chart said high tide would be at 7:00am.  We got to Ampoya just as the tide crested and it was getting light enough to see around good.  Unexpectedly there were hundreds of birds working the surface.  My first cast brought a strike and a hard pull, but the unidentified fish came loose after the backing knot passed

The boat drifting with motor off.  White is foam from fast current.

Troy hold one of Patty's Sierras. through the guides.  A couple of casts later brought the same results.  I was rigged for big dorado & billfish which often hang around Ampoya , but my 9-inch tandem hook was evidently too large for these unidentified fish.  Meanwhile Patty hooked up with a 5" Sardina fly.  After a long dogged battle Troy gloved the largest Sierra Mackerel that we had ever seen.  This orange spotted beauty was about three feet long and possibly 8-7 pounds. Fortunately Patty was rigged with a bite tippet of Cortland Toothy Critter wire.  Because of
their vicious set of teeth, you won't land many mackerels without a wire bite tippet. I changed to my spare rod which was rigged the same way and started hooking Sierras too. Over the next few days the Ocean got warmer and warmer until it reached 84-degrees, but still very few dorado or billfish showed up.  Instead massive schools of Sierras could be found all along the coast.  Most of these fish seemed to be 16-24 inches long.  They were feeding on abundant schools of tiny baitfish that came with the warm water.  Clouser Minnows in size six were the best flies for these

This Sierra bends a 12-weight

Mark holds his Sierra close to the camera to make it look larger than Patty's. Patty's largest was still bigger. schoolies.  Larger Sierras were usually found only as singles. They were always found close to structure.  They were obviously feeding on larger bait as every one we caught came to a larger flies. But, as the days passed by the bait schools were composed of smaller and smaller fish and as it turned out we wished that we had brought Clouser Minnows down to size eight or even size ten.  Many of the baitfish were only about an inch long and saltwater fish can be as selective as any spring creek trout.  These Sierras proved to be no exception.  When we ran out of small flies, our 
fishing slowed down. Sierra Mackerels (Scomberomorus sierra) inhabit most of the near shore waters from California to southern Mexico.  The Sierra is characterized by its elongated body with short snout, bronze green on the back, silvery-pearl-white sides and belly, and a series of medium-sized orange spots on its sides. It has 7 to 10 finlets between the second dorsal fin and the caudal fin and between the anal fin and the caudal fin. The Sierra is reported to reach a length of three-and-one-half feet and 12 pounds. Sixteen to twenty four inch specimens are most common.  Current world fly tackle record apears to be 10-pounds. Sierra are viewed by locals as excellent table fare, but one that must be prepared on the day of the catch.  All species of mackerel have prominent teeth and require wire bite tippet.  We have caught four species: Sierras, Spanish Mackerel, King Mackerel and Wahoo on flies.

Tippet The Kat is now part owner of The Fly Fishing Shop.  She likes G. Loomis luggage.

Florida Keys Fishing Report Early December

Big bonefish...big smile.

Water is cooler now and the fishing is HOT.  Bonefish are mudding on falling tides and are pretty reliable lately.   I had a client catch a 12 -13pounder yesterday on a crab pattern. The fish was mudding along with about 4 others in deeper (3ft) water. This big bone took the fly on the way down as it dropped after 2 strips. What a fighter.  It took nearly a 20 minutes to bring it to the boat.  The battle was complete with several scorching runs

deep into the backing. Weight forward floating line was used, also have been using a clear sink tip at times.  Lately I've spent and hour or 2 fishing some holes on the bayside that are loaded with mackerel, snapper, bluefish and pompano.  Goliath grouper sometimes make an appearance to try and eat your catch!   Sharks are also available. Small tarpon are around but only biting at night on the cooler days. When I say cooler, you still get to wear you shorts and flip flops, just wear a jacket while riding in the boat!  
The Keys have recovered from all the storm damage caused by Wilma and we are ready to accommodate you, so don't keep wishing, bring your 9wt come on down and lets go fishing.

Thank You,
Capt Chris Morrison, Marathon, Florida USA

Horizontal and Vertical Growth
By: Dwight Klemlin

   I noticed there are two kinds of growth we experience in fly-casting. I call them Horizontal Growth and Vertical Growth.  Both are necessary for our development as fly casters.

    Here is a common scenario.  A person comes to me for lessons and he has cast for a few years or maybe many years.  I say, "Make a few 80’ Switch Casts, Single Spey and a few Double Spey casts for me”.  He makes the casts with nice loop shape. All goes great.  He casts OK.  I ask him, "What do you want to do that you find you can't do."  He says, "Well, I cast these basic casts with confidence, but I need to learn some new casts.  I want to learn a cast for very tight places”.  In other words, he wants to move to a higher level as a fly-caster.  This person is looking for VERTICAL GROWTH.  He doesn't want to continue on his HORIZONTAL GROWTH refining known casts but rather wants to make Vertical Growth.  Vertical Growth, as a fly-caster, is a tough one.  It requires "work" in a practice arena and is challenging. 

    Here is another even more common scenario.  Someone comes in for lessons and after a few rather poor casts they make a couple of excuses.  Then I ask them to do a different cast and they continue to cast poorly!  I say, “You need to address HORIZONTAL GROWTH”!   You must first develop and refine the Basic Casting Stroke.  This person will be unable to make Vertical Growth until the Horizontal Growth takes place.  The reason one cannot raise proficiency levels is the lack of a solid and a concrete Basic Casting Stroke.  They don’t have solid practice fundamentals and know how to solve problems and achieve results!  How many fly-casters do you know who can make all the casts but do them badly?  Lots. 

    If you love fly-casting, and are dedicated to your own development as a caster, you must know how to create Vertical Growth.  This is done through an understanding of “How to Practice”.  I am talking about REAL PRACTICE, not repetitive "run-throughs" that only re-enforces the negative muscle memory and muscle tension causing the problems you already have developed. 

    From my experience as a fly-caster and teacher, it is extremely difficult to create Vertical Growth once bad and/or insufficient practice has locked in tension and bad habits.  The good news is it is not impossible.  In fact, the word difficult is not the best word.  A better word is “challenging”.   As fly-casters we are always “trading up” our problems.  If one wants to keep getting better and better as a fly-caster, one must learn to love “trade up” challenges!  As Mark Twain said, "Life is one darn thing after another".  That is what fly-casting and practicing is all about: One darn problem to deal with after another.  

As we learn to actually deal with and solve problems, we earn a sweet reward:  Accomplishment.    In fact, it is not the problems we face in our practice routine that are really the obstacle to our growth.  It is the growing feeling of frustration and helplessness we experience as time is invested with little or no fundamental improvement.  We start to feel helpless.  We may not admit this feeling to our self.  We only notice that, for some reason, we are beginning to lose our motivation to practice.  Accomplishment drives and is our reward to become better casters.

    When we learn how to really practice, we start to feel powerful and see growth in both Horizontal and Vertical growth.  Problems and challenges don't frighten us; they EXCITE us.  Because we know that we can look forward to those problems getting smaller and smaller, weaker and weaker, as we continue to apply “The Principles of Correct Practice”. 

    It is very important to realize that the quality of our Horizontal Growth determines the quality of our Vertical Growth.  If our Horizontal Growth has been shaky, with weaknesses built in, (which was true of myself, and I think, most us at one time or another), that shakiness will  be in all our casts.  Our Horizontal Growth doesn't do us much good, it just keeps us busy.  We may feel like we are making progress because we “think” we are learning.  

    When I was in New York City I asked a native how to get to Carnegie Hall.  He replied, “Practice, Practice, Practice”.  No difference in fly-casting.  If you wish to get to your “Carnegie Hall”, then develop sound practice habits.  Your casting skills will develop with a good foundation and you will have a solid footing for both Horizontal and Vertical Growth.

Dwight is President of North Santiam Spey Casters


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All The Newest Models for 2006  !!!

"Elementary Spey Casting School"
Saturday, January 14, 2006

This class is for right or left handed casters, and will deal with the most efficient methods of casting from the river left position. 
It will cover Single Spey, Snake Roll & Snap-T casts with both
 floating and sinking tip lines.  Each class is 4-hours.

The instructors are: George Cook, Mark Bachmann & Brian Silvey.
No other spey casting school features a two student per instructor ratio
with instructors of this caliber.  
You will get maximum help and nearly constant personal attention.
Spey casters of all experience levels are welcome. However this class 
focuses on the basics and is designed to give each student a 
solid foundation to build on.  Each class lasts 3 1/2-hours.
What our customers say.
Spaces are limited to (6) students per class.  Book now!

Meet your instructors:
George Cook is the guy in the Sage "Tight Loops" poster of the 1990's.  He taught the "Sage Fly Fishing Schools" in the 1980's and has great casting and communication skills. 
He is an instructor's instructor.  We are fortunate to be able to offer this in depth problem solving class.   
Mark Bachmann with a spey caught steelhead. Mark Bachmann has 25 years experience guiding fly fishing trips for steelhead.  He is an ardent spey fisher, experienced communicator 
& very patient instructor.  
Brian Silvey is naturally left handed and and casts either left or right.  He has 20 years guiding for steelhead and has helped hundreds of anglers catch steelhead while fly fishing. Brian Silvey teaching & guiding.
Item Description Price  
ETESCH-M Elementary Spey Casting School
January 14, 200
6 - Morning

ETESCH-A Elementary Spey Casting School
January 14, 200
6 - After Noon


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