In this installment of “Behind the Lens”, Flylords was able to sit down with the mind’s behind Live the Stream: The Story of Joe Humphreys, Nomadic Studio.
Flylords: Who is Nomadic Studio? What are you known for and how did the studio begin?
Nomadic:Nomadic Studio is a Washington DC-based, design-driven production company and design agency specializing in motion design, live-action and branded content for film, television, social media, and marketing across all platforms. It was founded and operates under Creative Directors Lucas Bell and Paul Cantor and Executive Producer, Meigan Bell. Their clients and projects include Amazon, House of Marley, NFL, ESPN, Discovery Networks, National Geographic and many more.
Nomadic Studio was founded in 2010 after Lucas and Paul spent years working for agencies like Imaginary Forces, The Mill, and Superfad in NYC, LA and Seattle. As a writer, producer, EP and editor for a variety of television series on almost every major network, Meigan brings a strong story element to the team’s impeccable designs. Today, Nomadic studio is known for creating engaging and innovative content, designs and live-action for advertising campaigns, brands and films.
Flylords: Is there a certain kind of media Nomadic specializes in?
Nomadic: We specialize in outdoor content – including our most recent production the feature documentary, Live The Stream: The Story of Joe Humphreys, which won several awards including 2019 Film of the Year and Best Story at the Drake Magazine Awards at IFTD 2019, Best Adventure Film and an Audience Award at the 2018 Breckenridge Film Festival, Best Documentary and Audience Choice Awards at Reading Film Festival and is now available to buy on iTunes and livethestreamfilm.com.
Flylords: How does Live The Stream stand apart from your other work?
Nomadic: Live The Stream is Nomadic Studio’s first independent film production. It’s also the directorial debut for Lucas and Meigan Bell. We had complete creative control over every aspect of the film and it utilized our combined set of talents from Lucas’ designs and cinematography to Meigan’s writing, producing and editing. It was the most footage we have ever had to consider in edit with close to 25 TB of footage after initial production.
Flylords: What was the inspiration for Live The Stream? How did you come up with the idea for the documentary?
Nomadic: As outdoor enthusiasts who love watching documentaries, we were inspired by films like 180 Degrees South, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and View From A Blue Moon. After a fly fishing trip in New Zealand, Lucas and Meigan decided to search for a documentary subject that would expose the power of living a life outside while also advocating for greater conservation efforts.
Lucas met Joe Humphreys while at Penn State University in 2002 and thought Joe’s life story would connect with an eager outdoor audience. Lucas and Meigan pitched the idea of a documentary to Joe and he agreed. After Meigan met Joe, they knew his life story checked all of the boxes and soon they were shooting their first feature film. We began filming in May 2015 when Joe was 86 years old. He is now 91 and going strong!
Flylords: How big was your crew? How many people were part of the production and how long did it take to complete?
Nomadic: Our crew was a lean, multi-resourceful, extremely talented team. The core team consisted of Lucas, Meigan, and Alexander Gasowski (Producer) but we also were fortunate to have the help of cinematographers, Colleen Laffey and Chris Sellers, as well, for a few weeks of production. The core team wore multiple hats and had many roles in all aspects from pre-production, film production, post production, distribution, film screenings, marketing, running social channels, PR outreach, film tour, global release marketing and ad campaign. We initially thought we’d follow Joe Humphreys for six months and the production turned into 3.5 years. It was our job to accurately tell Joe’s life story so we had to extend production to cover important events that would eventually edit into the perfect description of Joe. Our combined industry experience and passion to share Joe’s life story was the driving force in bringing Live The Stream to audiences. It was a huge undertaking but extremely rewarding.
Flylords: What were your goals for the film? Did you hit your goals?
Nomadic: Our goal was to tell an engaging and inspiring story, that wasn’t just a fly fishing film. We wanted to create an inspiring character driven story that inspired fly fishers and non-flyfishers alike. When we hear things like: “I went to see this film with my boyfriend and with little interest in fly fishing, was totally blown away by it!” – that’s when we know we succeeded.
We believe stories like Joe Humphreys’ emphasize the power of being outdoors and the need for environmental awareness are especially important in today’s climate to reach a global audience and we were able to get it out to so many people thanks to digital and streaming platforms and social media. We still hope that a streaming company such as Netflix will allow us to reach an even bigger audience.
Flylords: What are Nomadic’s new goals or upcoming projects? When/where can we see more of your work?
Nomadic: After Live The Stream had a successful festival and screening tour we were acquired by Gravitas Ventures. Getting distribution as independent filmmakers is huge and we were thrilled. Live The Stream was released on November 5th worldwide across platforms like iTunes,Amazon,and so many more. The feedback has been amazing and at one point Live The Stream was trending in the Top Docs and Top Sports movies on iTunes and Amazon.
Since the film’s release, Nomadic Studio has been busy on many client-based projects and has been considering several documentary pitches that could be the next perfect fit for our team. We live for the outdoors and would love to continue making outdoor content but we’re really looking for the next inspiring story to tell and welcome all ideas.
We would love to work with other outdoor brands and companies from a content-creation and brand-building standpoint. We love to work on projects and campaigns that utilize all of our talents – from design to live-action to audience building and social strategy.
Flylords: How would someone contact you guys to collaborate on a project?
Presented By Yakoda Supply It’s no secret that this is the busy season for the man in the red suit. What is a bit of a secret, however, is that unbeknownst to everyone on his team, he’s been sneaking out of his North Pole compound on the morning of Christmas Eve for a little self-care.
Santa explained: “Everyone is always resting or prepping for our big night of gift delivery. The elves are tired from building toys for eleven months straight, the reindeer are getting their tack prepped for their big night, and god only knows what Mrs. Klaus is doing. The truth is, the morning of the 24th was just getting really boring for me.” So, what is Ol’ Saint Nic to do?
“A few decades back, I decided enough was enough, so I picked up my fly rod and headed to my favorite, neighborhood stream.” No one seemed to notice his absence, or no one really cared. As a result of one or both of those aforementioned items being true, he’s been making this part of his Christmas tradition ever since.
We must have been extra nice this year because we were fortunate enough to spend Christmas Eve morning with the fat man, himself, wetting a line at one of Kris Kringle’s favorite fishin’ holes. While we were there, Ol’ Saint Nic was kind enough to share with us his top-six tips for fishing during the giving season.
1. Fish when it’s coldest
I don’t know if it’s just me but winter weather has never been much of a bother. The colder the better, I say. This allows me to get out and enjoy a little bit of peace and quiet while everyone else is sitting inside their homes roasting chestnuts on an open fire, or whatever that song is all about. For those of you who are a bit more sensitive to arctic temperatures, just prepare yourself for whatever weather you’ll be facing on the river. Something I’ve been leaving in lots of stockings the past few years are hand and toe warmers. Grab yourself a few packs and get ready to have warm hands and the river all to yourself.
2. Trout don’t care what you’re wearing
If I see camo waders on one more wishlist, I’m going to lose my mind. Instead of worrying about having the freshest, fanciest camouflage everything, how about practice a little bit of stealth?It’s true, fish can see. It’s also true that if they see you dancing around the riverbank like my favorite elf, Buddy, then they’re probably not going to be very cooperative when it comes time to eat a fly. Walk more quietly, don’t splash through the river before you assess the situation, try not to fish downstream. It’s pretty simple stuff, really. I mean, remember what I’m wearing, folks, and I still catch fish.
3. Have the right gear, and a proper Yakoda Bag to throw it in!
Even though my Santa suit keeps me warm and cozy on the water having a few other pieces of gear can really help you enjoy your time on the water. My go-to bag for carrying my gear is the Yakoda’s Drifter Gear Transport 2.0 and they recently launched a new white colorway that goes perfectly with winter adventures on the water!
I brought a few extra gifts with me for some lucky anglers I met on the water…
4. Keep your fly box simple.
It’s easy to get carried away when it comes to fly selection, but when you have as little time as I do to get out on the water, it really pays to keep it simple. The menu is pretty small during the winter anyway. If you limit your selection, you’ll find yourself spending a lot less time changing flies and a lot more time perfecting your presentation. If you have a box loaded with a handful of different midges, baetis, eggs, and maybe even some mysis depending upon where you find yourself, you should be good to go.
5. Mind the redds
This should almost be annoying to hear by now, but it’s nowhere near as annoying as seeing someone walk right through a redd like it isn’t there. By Christmas time, the spawning should be done, but that’s no reason to forget about the redds. You wouldn’t believe how many people spend their entire fall fishing season avoiding fishing to spawning fish (re: “nice” list) only to stampede across redds in December. If fishing redds will land you on the naughty list, carelessly walking through them will make it permanent.
6. Don’t forget about your family
While it’s always nice to sneak away from the house when things are getting a little too Griswold, please make sure you get home at a decent hour. This season is about family. Without them, who would be there to help you drink eggnog and make fun of cousin Eddie? So go ahead, make that next one your last cast and hit the road back home. Who knows? You might find something really special under the tree with your name on it when you get there.
Can’t wait to hit the water again with you next year! Have a wonderful Christmas!
Article presented by Yakoda Supply – they are offering 25% off on products through December check them out here! Yakodasupply.com
With the Holidays right around the corner, and Black Friday scratching at the door, the search for the perfect holiday gifts has officially begun. This year, our team at Flylords is proud to present our annual list of the hottest fly fishing gear on the market. From any preference and price range, we have something that’s sure to make you the best catch of the angler in your life.
Staying warm has never been easy. Made of super-soft Merino wool, this product offers maximum comfort paired with Buff brand quality.
2. Duck Camp Co. Women’s Longsleeve Bamboo Crew
Treat the lady-angler in your life to the gift of comfort and style with Duck Camp Co’s featherlight bamboo crew neck.
3. Tacky Fishing Original Fly Box
A perfect stocking stuffer for the angler who ties more than they can tote. The Tacky Fly box is a classic that should be a staple in any anglers pack.
4. Orvis Trout Bum Quilted Jacket
Appropriate for a day on the water, or a night on the town. This quilted jacket is a snug fit for anyone looking to pair style with practicality.
5. Rail Riders Faroe Island Field Shirt (Editor’s Choice)
Built with some of the toughest materials available, this field shirt is up to any challenge you can put it to. A perfect gift to those who are never satisfied with average.
6. Buff Aqua Gloves
For those who can’t keep out of the sun. This is the perfect gift to make sure you or your loved one’s hands stay protected from long exposure from harmful UV rays and salty abrasion. Just remember once you catch a fish to keep your hands wet!
7. Yeti Rambler 16 oz. Stackable Pints
The perfect gift for the Yeti fanatic in your life. These low profile 160z. stackable cups are a perfect home for a frothy beverage enjoyed on the water.
8. Flylords Bear Tee
This is your chance. Finally, a shirt worthy of replacing the 25-year-old, pizza stained, Europe ’72 Tee that the deadhead in your life won’t remove from their body. These officially licensed Grateful Dead tees are one of the hottest items in our shop, so make sure to get yours before supply runs out.
9. Marsh Wear Clothing Rutledge Vest
When looking for outerwear, this vest from our friends at Marsh Wear Clothing immediately caught our eye. Designed with the all-around sporting enthusiast in mind, this vest delivers the versatility and comfort your outdoor lifestyle requires.
The Benchmade 980 is a knife that sets the standard when it comes to quality and endurance. Tried and true, this is the perfect gift for anyone who’s constantly putting their gear to the ultimate tests and depends on consistency and strength.
11. Scientific Anglers Grand Slam Amplitude Fly Line (Editor’s Choice)
When it comes to saltwater fly fishing, there is no easier way to lose a fish than with faulty line. Make sure your angler is loaded up with the best fly line in the game before their next trip in the salt.
12. Biolite Camp Stove 2
This thing must’ve come straight from NASA. With the ability to turn fire into electricity, this is a perfect gift for those who care to push their adventures to the edge of the map without losing their ability to document them.
13. Simms Pro Wading Staff
Wading over slippery rocks in fast currents is the most dangerous thing you can do as an angler. This holiday season, make sure those who are closest to you have the tools they need to stay out of harm’s way when on the water.
The iconic Howler Brothers Merlin is now available in Blackout. This all-black coat is the perfect gift for the angler who values quality fabrics and who’s color pallet may indicate the second coming of the late Johnny Cash.
15. Axis Go Waterproof Phone Housing (iPhone 11)
Ever wonder how we get those insane underwater shots? Well, Axisgo underwater cases are the secret to success. For the phone photographer, there couldn’t be a gift out there that offers more bang for its buck. (Available for all iPhone sizes)
16. Fishpond Nomad Mid-Length Net
Sometimes the difference between the fish of a lifetime, and a night of sorrow is just a few inches (trust us, we’d know). With this gift, you give the gift of a better night’s sleep as well as a practical means of safely handing big fish.
17. Stio Azura Jacket
For the mountain man in your life, trust the brand that lives for the mountains. The Stio Azura is not only a great looking design, but is lightweight, environmentally conscious, and affordable.
Fly Fishing gifts $200-$300
18. Orvis Ultralight Wading Jacket
This jacket is perfect for the traveling angler in your life. With its sturdy, lightweight design this jacket can be packed into just about anywhere hassle-free, to ensure dryness and comfort.
19. Patagonia Stormfront Pack 30L
Making our list as the bigger, badder, sexier sibling of the original Stormfront pack, this pack does not mess around. For those who need gear that can put up with the harshest conditions, this Patagonia pack has got your back.
20. Costa Del Mar Diego Polarized Sunglasses (Editor’s Choice)
New and improved, Costa presents their newest line of Outdoor Sunglasses: The Diego. Freshwater or Saltwater, these are one of the most dependable, as well as functional shades you can gift someone who loves to fish.
21. Yeti Hopper M30 Portable Cooler
For those who live by the Yeti name, this is a great way to keep your drinks/ food icey and fresh without having to lug around a boxy hard cooler. This holiday season, give the gift of mobility with this incredible soft-body cooler.
22. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL Backpacking Tent
Do you know an angler that spends more time in a sleeping bag than in their own bed? Well, the Big Agnes Copper Spur Backpacking tent is tested and proven to be one of the best lightweight backpacking tents you can find on the market right now.
23. YETI LoadOut GoBox Divided Cargo Case
Back so soon with another great piece of gear, we bring you the YETI GoBox. This case is perfect for holding expensive camera equipment, tools, reels, flies, you name it. Whatever you need to be kept safe will be kept safe in this fortress of a cargo case.
Fly Fishing gifts $300 and Over
24. Denver Outfitters Classic Rod Vault 3
For the angler who is sick and tired of breaking down their rod, or risk their rod breaking during every move to a new spot, Denver Outfitters has you in mind. The rod vault is the perfect gift for the angler with no off-switch.
25. Mavic 2 Pro Aircraft
When it comes to filming with a drone, there is no better option than the Mavic 2 Pro Aircraft. The choice of professionals everywhere, this drone is the perfect gift for the restless filmmaker who’s ready to turn their productions legit.
26. Orvis Mission Spey Rod (Editors Choice)
Orvis, a company whose name has helped define fly fishing, has recently released their new Mission Spey and Switch rod. When it comes to fishing for big fish like salmon and steelhead, you need big tools; that’s why Orvis has invested all their effort and brainpower into engineering this exciting release.
27. Orvis Women’s Pro Waders
Know someone who’s waders are made of more duct tape than wader? Well, this holiday season swap out the patches for Cordura shell, and bless the angler in your life with the waders made for made for pros but preferred by everyone.
28. Ross San Miguel Reel (Editors Choice)
When it comes to engineering Reels, few do it better than Ross. With the sleek new design of the San Miguel Reel manufactured to stand the test of long battles, this reel is a must-have for anyone looking to upgrade their rig.
29.Patagonia Foot Tractor Wading Boots
Our friends over at Patagonia have been working hard in order to deliver their new Foot Tractor wading boots. These boots are built tough, made to last, and are a perfect way to give a gift that’ll keep on giving many years down the road.
30. Axis Go Underwater Housing for DSLR
So you’re ready to take your photography to the next level. The AxisGo underwater camera house is the best way to change the game with amazing underwater shots, without ever having to worry about the safety of expensive camera equipment. (We shoot almost all of our underwater shots with this rig)
31. Outcast Stealth Pro Inflatable Pontoon Boat
Every year millions of anglers suffer from entanglement due to tight casting conditions. But now, you can help those in need with the simple donation of an Outcast Stealth Pro inflatable pontoon boat. Deliver all of the versatility of a boat, without the outrageous price of extra weight.
32. Danner Mountain Light Boots
Constructed with full-grain leather and Gore-Tex liner, these boots are an updated take on an old classic. Perfect for those who enjoy hiking and depend on strong boots to take them down roads less traveled.
33. Mac Book Pro (16 inch)
Lightning fast, dependable, perfect for editing those incredible fly fishing adventure shots…need we say more? When looking for a new laptop, check out the model trusted by Flylords, the Mac Book Pro.
34. YETI – Tarpon Book
Packed to the brim with breathtaking shots captured by guide David Mangum and team, there isn’t a book that exists that’s quite like this one. A perfect gift for the Angler who’s blood consists of salt and adventure, this book is sure to complete any literary collection.
35. Wade Deep “The Frost” Hat (Support Small Businesses)
If you follow fly tying mastermind @Svendiesel, then you’ve probably heard about this insanely cool collection of lids. Brought to you by Wade Deep, a company that’s making a splash in the fly fishing industry, these hats are not only stylish, but functional. Designed with a built-in rubberized fly patch, these hats will ensure you never have to rip your seems or worry about losing loose flies ever again.
36. Bad-Ass Fish prints – Jake Keeler (Artist Spotlight)
When it comes to creating fish inspired art, absolutely NOBODy does it quite like Jake Keeler. Feeling as if these prints are drawn straight from a Nordic epic, these prints take a refreshing departure from your traditional painting of a grip and grin, and will surely act as a conversation starter during any gathering.
37. A copy of Live the Stream: The Story of Joe Humphreys (Editor’s Choice)
If you haven’t seen this movie, you’re missing out on a lifechanging experience. “Live the Stream: The Story of Joe Humphreys” focuses on the life of the legendary angler, philanthropist, and educator, Joe Humphreys. Nomadic Studios encapsulates the true spirit of Fly Fishing through a visual and cinematic achievement that will inspire new anglers for generations to come. This holiday season, share the gift of “Live the Stream” with someone who has a passion for fishing, nature, and timeless tales.
38. Flylords Reel Pouches
Here at Flylords, we know that reels are expensive. So, why not treat them and all their beauty in a way that shows we care. Introducing: The Flylords Quilted Rod Case. These inexpensive cases are a great way to keep your rod safe and sound whether it’s mid-transit or tucked away for a long winter.
While catch and release is our go-to, nothing beats enjoying a meal you caught by a roaring campfire. With this tradition in mind, we recommend taking a peek at our friend Kayla Lockhart’s elegant hand-painted filet knives. Each knife can be customized to match any species you prefer, as well as mountainscapes, treelines, or any other outdoor design that holds a special place in your heart.
40. Customized Abel Reel
Speaking of incredible handpainted gifts, our friends over at Abel reels offer an extensive number of incredible and unique patterns in order to make the perfect reel. Freshwater, saltwater, trout or Tarpon, there’s a design that will channel the spirit of any angler.
41. Ombraz Armless Sunglasses
When it comes to sunglasses, Ombraz is far from traditional. With their armless design, these glasses are low profile, and up to the toughest challenges you can present to them. Available in a plethora of colors, these sunglasses are a great gift for those who cant seem to go a week without breaking their shades.
42. Take Someone Fishing!
Whether it’s their first time on the water or their 10,000th, there’s no better gift to give than bringing someone on an adventure. Push aside all the premonitions that clutter the meaning of our true mission as anglers, and go make some memories that could never hold a price tag.
After over a year of development and beta testing, we are excited to introduce you to “Dating on the Fly”, a new dating app specifically for the fly community.
After years of wondering where we’d find our next romantic fishing partner, we decided to bring the community of fly fishing singles together in a new app. Finding a significant other who shares the same values as you is hard enough, let alone finding someone who understands the difference between Parachute Adams and a Salmon Fly.
Although our sport usually practices catch-and-release, we’re here to help you find your keeper who shares your passion for the fly rod and the outdoors.
Setting Up Your Profile:
The first step is to upload your profile picture. For best results, we recommend using your best grip-and-grin.
Next, you need to fill in your profile, we’ve added a few sections to ensure that your future SO fits with your fishing style.
Our platform works similar to other mobile dating apps, swipe left to release, and swipe right to keep. If you’re a match, a conversation will kick-off. That way you can get to bragging about how you have the tightest loops out there and all the best secret fishing spots.
After that, it’s up to you to set up a date, but we recommend hitting a fly shop, brewery or public boat ramp to really see if your new keeper matches up with your fishing style!
After months of beta testing, we can happily say that 69% of our testers who met via Dating on the Fly are still together, and passing their time in quarantine as a couple!
“This fish was different. All the ingredients for a good Chinook day were upon us meaning it was gray and depressing. The tide had changed and the surf was pounding sand in the distance. A group of 20 seagulls were dive-bombing Eulachon (smelt) as they made their way up river from the ocean.
We were looking for fish to start showing, purple backed rollers, sometimes you hear them before you see them but there was none. My client John and I were having short conversations between casts and swings. Then it happened, from silence to violence the rod went forward, line peeled off his reel and a 30 lb chinook was out of the water. This fish was different.
The good ones rip your arm off, but what set this fish apart was the fact that most fish go downstream. It went the opposite way as the Skagit line tore through the water and Jon tried to catch up. The card on my camera was full so the camera quit filming being a novice with a camera this was a rookie mistake. What the video never capture was the fish doing a U turn when it got to the top of the run and blazing downstream past us with his back half out of the water.
It was a buck with an evil eye. This characteristic is one of my favorite things about them. They will roll slowly really close and it’s spooky when you can see their eye like they’re looking straight at you. John eventually put this fish in the net as my heart was hitting my chest. The fish had a mean streak like it was spawned in hell, it was just trying to live up to the crown as a salmon named the king. King Salmon are also called Chinook Salmon and are the true prize for a fly angler especially when caught on the swing like this one.”
Trevor Covich is a licensed captain and guide in the state of Washington and Alaska, check him out at @trevor_covich or shoot him an email to get days booked at email@example.com.
In this How to Tie video feature, Tim Cammisa shows us his take on a classic pattern; Mayer’s Mini Leech. By adding a few slight variations such as the most noticeable, a Slotted bead head on a jig style hook, Tim has put a modern spin on one of the most iconic leech patterns to date.
The beauty of Mini leeches such as this one is in its counter-intuitive nature. While many anglers assume that the only way to catch big fish is to sling massive streamers that sound like a cannonball when they hit the water, this fly offers a delightful surprise as it seems to be a magnet for impressive fish. Fished best around the early winter for when trout are stocking up for the cold season, this small snack poses as an easy bight of protein for trout on the prowl. Because of its small size, trout view is as an unintimidating eat that should hold them over between chasing and digesting their larger meals.
What’s great about the addition of a slotted bead to this fly as opposed to the original un-beaded stlye, is the additional weight that it contributes. Not only does the tungsten bead allow for the fly to get down deep faster, thus allowing it more time in the feeding zone in every drift, but it also aids in detecting strikes when fished on a tight line rig. While these flies can be fished like a streamer, they are oftentimes most effective as a point fly on a Euro-configuration. Because of the added weight, detecting a change in drift is much easier and will allow for more accurate hook-sets.
Vise: Stonfo Transformer Hook: Hanak H 450 BL; #10
The main goal of SaveTheSeason.org is to raise money for the guides, shop owners and industry professionals that have lost their business to the pandemic. After fishing got shut down here in Washington and hearing stories from my guide friends I really wanted to do something to help. I just shot some top-notch steelhead footage in a last-ditch effort to find a fish or two before government-mandated lockdown.
I put together a short film, one part documentary, one part steelhead stoke film and it turned out just awesome. I’ve never asked anyone to pay to watch my films but this is more than worth the couple bucks I’m asking. All proceeds are being donated to affected individuals and businesses who have lost their income. We will be sharing the stories of the folks we help on at SaveTheSeason.org, on social media.
As you idle up to the spot, you are greeted with one of the most unique environments and fishing experiences available. Rock walls fall into the ocean, the kelp forest twists and turn it’s way to the bottom, the water is crystal clear except for the occasional foam generated from the waves hitting the rock wall. You are taken aback by the enormity of this place until your rod nearly gets taken out of your hand. On the other end is a game fish that is so unique, so beautifully colored, yet so aggressive that a wolf pack of 10 other fish chase the fish you just hooked to get the fly out of its mouth. Head shakes, line slips out of your hand, then nothing it’s gone. One strip, two strips, boom another hit, finally you get the fish to the boat. A Calico Bass.
Calico Bass otherwise known as Kelp Bass are not related to their freshwater bass cousins even though the name says so. They are in the Paralabrax family of just 8 other species. In which 5 of them are endemic to the waters off of California to Baja. The Calico Bass has long been one of Southern Californias premier inshore gamefish and is arguably one of the hardest and toughest fighting fish pound for pound. Living in heavy cover fishing for them resembles fishing for Largemouth bass. They heavily relate to structure and are extremely aggressive. Below are 5 reasons why you should target Calico Bass the next time you find yourself in Southern California.
Need I say more. At times more than one will launch itself at your fly. With fast strips, large crease, and diver style flies these fish burst out of the laid down kelp to destroy your fly. In the summer months, warmer water, and the right conditions, these fish move up the water column which means more willingness to eat on top. Anything baitfish colored, sardine, mackerel, and anchovy. Crustaceans are also a large part of a calico’s diet making brown, orange, and red crustacean style flies a key. Unlike most topwater scenarios, you actually mess around with a little bit of lighter gear than you typically would fishing a heavy grain line.
People have been sport fishing for Calico bass for decades but fly fishing for them has gained traction in the past 20 years or so. From targeting fish along break walls and heavy hard structures most anglers pursue these fish with 300+ grain line. Big heavy flies are the norm to get to the bottom of the water column where the big fish lay in wait for an ambush. But that’s just one way to pursue these fish. With calicos being such a unique species for fly fishing the creation side and innovation door is wide open for anglers. From targeting these fish in your own unique way to creating oversized bass flies with big heavy wire hooks this fishery is just an open door for creative and passionate anglers.
Now, most wouldn’t call this ultra-aggressive fish beautiful, most would call them spunky and mean, but they truly are a beautiful fish. Their flanks boast big vertical and horizontal bars with the intermittent white spot creating a checkered look while their heads range from dark brown-black to lighter blondes and silvers depending on their surroundings. These fish get thick and broad, their fins are no different either. With big pectorals and a broom of a tail. These fish pack a punch for their size. Calicos are filled with piss and vinegar despite their beauty. With spines and sandpaper teeth these fish will make a new meaning for bass thumb.
Break out the BIG stuff! These fish are no joke. The places they live in are no joke. Bobby Harrison a Southern California local and a calico bass fly angler said that he primarily fishes 9-12 weight rods and 300-650 grain shooting heads. He also stated that “Since the fish will take you back into the structure you hooked them in, similar to a grouper, the reel is just there to hold the line.” “We never put fish on the reel, you have to keep their head turned and constant pressure, horsing them out of cover.”
Whether your fishing the islands, the local coast, or the harbors Calicos tend to live in some pretty spectacular surroundings. As I mentioned prior if your fishing the islands you will be met with vertical rock walls that drop into the ocean, endless kelp forests that house plenty of other species such as, Yellowtail (Japanese Amberjack), Pacific Bonito, Pacific Barracuda, Cabezon, and White Sea Bass to name a few. Whales and Dolphins are also commonly spotted as well as the occasional surprise of a Mako Shark. So if the Calicos are giving you the cold shoulder there are still plenty of other species to target and things to see.
Every May for the past nine years, Cheeky Fishing has hosted a Striped Bass tournament to celebrate the arrival of Striped Bass on Cape Cod. This year, in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, Cheeky postponed the spring tournament to September. I had a chance to talk with Cheeky associate business manager Zach Clinchy about the recent news.
Flylords: For those who don’t know, what happened?
Zach: For the past 9 years, we have hosted the world’s largest fly-fishing tournament; the Cheeky Schoolie Tournament. The Schoolie Tournament is a catch-and-release only, grassroots style event designed to raise awareness of striped bass conservation efforts. Traditionally, we have hosted this tournament on Cape Cod in May to kick off the saltwater fly fishing season in New England. With the current COVID-19 crisis, we made the decision to postpone the Schoolie Tournament from May 16th to September 19th. There’s a lot at stake right now and many folks are dealing with incredibly difficult times. Right now, that should be our focus within the fishing community and our communities at large. We need to get through this together and postponing the event was the right thing to do.
Flylords: What else is Cheeky doing in response to the Coronavirus pandemic?
Zach: Although we are continuing to ship orders to customers, we have closed the rest of our offices completely. Our staff is currently working from home as a precaution to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
With all of the travel restrictions, general safety concerns, and less recreational spending, we have joined the #SaveTheSeason initiative led by Postfly. Save The Season is a donation fund that goes 100% to help fishing guides in these extremely difficult times. We are very grateful to have met so many incredible people in the guiding industry throughout the years. Cheeky kicked off its entire business back in 2010 by taking a road trip from Maine to Florida and back, meeting with guides and other industry members along the way to show them our first prototypes. Guides have taught us all invaluable lessons, shown us their waters, but best of all, shared their hospitality and friendship with us time after time. The guides in the industry are suffering and we want to do our part to support them during these difficult times.
In addition to helping guides, we’re also encouraging people to shop with their local retailers. The fly fishing community has always rallied during hardship. If you can, we encourage you to make some purchases from your local fly shop. Many shops are offering curbside pick-up, phone orders, or shipping options. It’s a great time to pick up gear for the spring, buy a gift card for your fishing buddy, or double-down on fly tying supplies for time spent at home.
Flylords: Are there any new changes to the tournament that we can look forward to?
Zach: This will be the first time we’ve hosted in the fall, which presents some exciting opportunities. There will definitely be some fun and unique additions to the tournament. As you may know, there will be different species of fish in the mix during the fall run that aren’t here in early spring. Who knows, you may even see an Albie component to the tournament this year. We will also keep participants engaged all summer long. Right now, in conjunction with the sponsors, we’re working on a badass e-raffle to be held on the original event date of May 16, and hopefully other prizes and mini-competitions throughout the summer. Although we are disappointed to postpone the Schoolie Tournament, the fall run will bring lots of excitement to the event.
In these uncertain times, we are excited to have something on the calendar to look forward to in the fall, and we hope that the participants share this sentiment. If you have interest in signing up for the Schoolie Tournament on September 19th, you can do so by clicking on the following link: https://cheekyfishing.com/pages/schoolie-tournament
In the midst of mask-wearing, social distancing, and self-quarantine, we wanted to bring you a video of optimistic exploration. Just because it may seem like the sky is falling, the world doesn’t stop living.
The video follows them in their daily adventures, hardships, and chase of some monster fish. As the crew adeptly explains, “This trip was hosted by our good friend Capt. Court Douthit and guided by Jesse Males and Micah Baly from http://www.506outdoors.com.” Watch as this crazy crew travels around Costa Rica, fishing, paddle boarding, and exploring.
Sit back, relax, and dive into their journey down to Costa Rica in search of some phenomenal fly fishing.
This film was created by Backwater Fly Fishing. Be sure to check out more of their videos on the Backwater Fly Fishing YouTube page.
These instructional videos are curated and written by team member Sam McLean (@sam_d_mclean).
Colorado Outdoors, the local Montrose riverfront economic development project, announced today the company has paid off the Montrose County School District (MCSD) elementary and early childhood lunch balances.
“This is obviously a very stressful time. As fellow community members, we just want to do our part to help our neighbors and families,” said David Dragoo the company president. “It’s the right thing to do.”
The payment brings all school lunch bills current for every student at Cottonwood Elementary, Johnson Elementary, Northside Elementary, Oak Grove Elementary, Olathe Elementary, Pomona Elementary, and those within the early childhood programs.
The company also challenged other local businesses and individuals to do the same. “There are still lunch balances with the middle and high schoolers. We need others to jump in and help out where they can.”
The effects of COVID-19 are being felt throughout the industry, but perhaps one of the hardest-hit sectors of the fishing industry overall has been felt by the guiding community. But all is not lost, thanks to the team at Postfly Box and Badfish, a fund is being put together to raise funds to help the men and women who have guided us all and given us more information and fabulous fishing experiences than we could ever ask for.
We are very grateful to have met so many incredible people in the guiding industry throughout the years. They have taught us invaluable lessons, shown us their home waters, but best of all shared their hospitality and friendship with us time after time.
Now is our time to return the kindness and generosity.
For most guides, their livelihood is dependent upon their fisheries, and it’s the fish that often dictate how, and when, these guides can make a living.
Every guides’ fishing season may be a little different, but for a large portion of guides, it is an extremely seasonal and volatile window.
These captains, guides, and instructors spend their entire year focusing on making every last second of this window count. That often means costly investments such as boat maintenance, trailer repairs, new oars, upgraded equipment, brand new tackle or flies, and the list goes on.
For much of the guiding community, this time of year is the time they rely on most to be able to provide for themselves and their families for the entire year.
Unfortunately, due to the effects of COVID-19 many people in the guiding community have had cancellations due to travel restrictions, less recreational spending, and safety concerns.
The income they were relying on is now a fraction of what they had planned for.
We ask our community to join together to #savetheseason for guides affected by these cancellations. We have started an emergency relief fund here. We ask our fishing family to please donate and spread the word. If you know a guide struggling with cancellations please direct them here.
There are no better stewards of our fisheries than the guides that depend on it. This is just a small way we can do our part to thank them.
Guides apply here for #SAVETHESEASON relief funding.
In this week’s Fly Fishing Destination Film of the Week; Tight Loops, George River Lodge, and Norpaq Adventures bring us far north to Quebec’s Ungava region.
Ungava. A place whose landscape reminds the venturing angler of a vast lunar-scape covered in vibrant flora and whose water hosts a magnificent array of char and salmon that it seems time has forgotten. In this video, a story of simple guides turns into a tale of keepers of a sacred land where fishing is only the beginning of what it means to be a guest to the water. Throughout a montage of explosive takes, breathtaking scenery, and a desire to live life in a truthful manner, guides and guests demonstrate what it means to be a true patron of the north.
Tune in every Saturday for a new installment of Fly Fishing Destination Videos and make sure to sign up for our newsletter below in order to keep up with new content published daily.
Since 2012, Flylords has been a proud leader in telling the stories of anglers and guides from around the world. Through film, photography, and journalism we strive to make each story as unique as the person or place it’s based off. Our goal is simple: inspire the next generation to get outdoors and hit the water!