One of the fun things about guiding is having the ability to target all kinds of species throughout the year. As much as I love steelhead I also enjoy all the other fish that we catch. In the summer I find myself chasing kings one day, and trout the next, and in the coastal camps we have to be ready for our nightly dungeness crab and BC spot prawn missions. To be ready for any of this on a moments notice it takes serious organization. These are the items and systems I use that make life easy.
On our trips to the coast there is an app that we all won’t leave home without. We aren’t exactly salt of the sea types so having this set up makes us feel a lot more comfortable. We start by putting our ipads in the waterproof Ipad case by Otter. We get the app “Navionics” installed on the ipad and load up the maps before leaving. It is a complete chartplotter which works seamlessly even without cel service. We use it to find our way in the fog, and search out the best crabbing and prawning options. Combine it with a good depth sounder and you can save yourself some serious cash$$.
For the constant back and forth between trout and salmon I maintain 2 full guide setups in my locker, one for trout and one for salmon. Rainbow alley trout is fishing out of a boat so I really like the Fish pond cloud burst boat bag With the gunwale hooks you can hang it right beside your rowing seat for easy access. It has enough space for a few large Plano boxes of flies which I like, plus room for plenty of smaller boxes as well. You can stuff it with enough gear that you will never forget any important item. Showing up at rainbow alley to fish the stonefly hatch without any gink would pretty much ruin your life.
When I guide for king salmon I have a pretty specific set up I like to use. I have come to prefer to guide out of back packs for anadromous fish. I load it us with giant Plano boxes full of flies. Right now I am using the sage backback which is working perfectly. Its a great size for a day out whether I am throwing lunch and gear in it and hiking the rivers of Haida Gwaii, or just tossing it in a boat. For kings and steelhead you don’t need pockets for gadgets and trinkets. However the half mile long runs on the skeena make it a long walk from the head to the tail of a run. This is why I have a secondary chest pack stocked with only 1 fly box, 15 pound tippet, hooks, and a tip wallet. I strap this on when I get out of the boat.
Im using the simms dry creek . Its cheap, small, light weight and you can have it on your waist or chest. It also straps nicely to my sage backpack which is how I store it at the end of the day.
This system is flawless for me, and I always have the gear I need close at hand and organized. It eliminates losing your flies off the patch of your jacket, or having a hook poke through your pocket where you are keeping all your used flies. It ends the long walk back to the boat after breaking off your butt section. Many folks use boat bags for steelhead and kings, but a backpack is much more versatile for the times when you hike in. It is an all in one system that I highly recommend.
My last tool is an invention called the Game Changer. This invention was cultivated by Justin Miller and myself on Haida Gwaii after a long walk. It is a beer on a Lanyard. It allows you to swing flies while you enjoy a nice cold, craft beer. Gone are the days where you have to chug a beer as fast as you can at the boat to step back in the run. Simply make your cast and enjoy a pull off the can while your fly works its magic through steelheadville. Let us know if you want to make you one!