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Tarpon Fever: Multiple Outbreaks

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Outbreaks reported in Big Pine Key, May 2017 by Joel Gourley

By now the CDC has probably dispatched some representatives to investigate reports of this recent epidemic, but it may be too little, too late.  It was widely reported that symptoms of an attack of this year’s Tarpon Fever included increased heart rate, loss of coordination, difficulty speaking, tunnel vision (on the lead fish), loss of hearing (guide instructions).  As the peak virulence of this exotic contagion subsides, those infected with the Atlanticus strain may have survived, but will likely never be quite the same again.

Luckily for those infected, symptoms will diminish and dissipate with time, however reoccurrence is likely if exposed to certain stimuli such as tarpon at close proximity, and can come back twice as strong if cert...

Big Pine with Shallow Phins

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When you head out to fly fish the ocean you are completely at the mercy of the weather.  Since we live and die by the weather for steelhead we certainly understand our trip was going to be a roll of the dice. 

Luckily for us the storms parted and we were able to hit a perfect weather window for tarpon fishing. We also lucked out by surprisingly catching a may long weekend worm hatch.  Prepared for the worst we lucked out on all fronts. Here is a photo blog of some of the highlights of the last week.

 

Spring in Review

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Normally when our winter steelhead program in Haida Gwaii shuts down we get some free time to catch up on things, but this year one program rolled right into the next.  We worked with guide/outfitter Nomads of the North in Terrace BC and longtime friend Mike VanWormer (AKA VDubs).  As usual he produced incredible trips for guests lucky enough to go.  The April spring fishery worked out perfectly for us.  

Going on at the same time as this was our Kings of Spring program targeting one of the earliest chinook runs on the coast.  This can only be compared to permit fishing in its difficult nature, yet each and every fish caught and landed one was never to be forgotten.   The weather stayed pleasant, yet on the cool side and the fish were by no means easy, but they...

Skeena steelhead for $650 a day

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Weather directly effects our lives in a ver intrusive way each and every day.  Over the past year it seems we have hardly had any luck at all.  The Bulkley season saw one of the most pervasive blow out seasons we have ever seen.  Every time the river started to clear - along came another storm.  Unfortunately that came after a very cold and wet summer.  Even last spring was too hot and dry making the freshet come nearly 6 weeks early utterly running our lives for a spell.

Needless to say we spend a lot of our lives looking at weather forecasts, and yes we discuss it far too much consider there is nothing we can ever do about it.  However we are finally catching the break we have been waiting for.  This spring season looks to be the one everyone has been waiting for.  Call us o...

Winter Steelhead just isn't for you

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Too many articles have been written about winter steelhead, so I shall tread lightly.  As most readers know, this is a very difficult fishery for those who do it on a swung fly.  Not to take anything away from indicator warriors or float fisherman, but swinging up a big, chrome tide fresh steelhead in absurdly cold temperatures is not an easy feat.  We often bite our lips on the Bulkley when guests utter a dreaded comment about slow fishing under their breath after “only” catching two fish in the course of a day.  Two fish in one day is epic for a winter steelheader. When we hear comments like that we quickly know we are not dealing with a true winter steelheader. 

Winter fishing is for those who will drive by huge schools of tarpon to make a couple of casts at a permit that likely won’t bit...

SILVER AND GOLD – SOUTH OF THE BORDER

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I try not to build high expectations for any trip.  But sometimes it is impossible for me not to attach some goals to another adventure.  This trip had been 50 years in the making and 5 years of saving for it.  My wife, Judy, and I planned to celebrate our 50th  (Gold) wedding anniversary at Isla Holbox, Mexico.  We planned it to coincide with the presence of large and baby tarpon literally surrounding the island.  Tarpon are found close by; to the East, South, West and North of our second honeymoon location.  I proposed to Judy again down on one knee (I wasn’t 100% sure I was able to stand back up—I did).  I asked her if she would be willing to be my wife for the rest of our lives.  She said YES!  She accepted another wedding ring from me.  It was all a surprise for her....

2016 - An #EPIC Year

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  2016 has been really good to Epic.

I’ve had the privilege to be involved with and spend time at every operation Epic owns, manages or represents. Over the past 8 months I’ve travelled to some of British Columbia’s most amazing gems and spent time with the incredible Epic crew and our loyal clients.

 

Some of the highlights this year include…

- Finishing the final touches on the Bulkley Basecamp. Complete with hot water on demand showers, luxury wall tents, a dining area and a bar lounge area, this camp is taking it to the next level. Ideally situated to access all of the Bulkley and Skeena Valley’s best fishing opportunities it continues a long tradition of the best in the biz.

- Two incredible Summer Camps for King Salmon...

3 Epic fishing vacation fails and how to avoid them

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Imagine this, you have just booked a trip to go trout fishing in BC at a beautiful lodge with a wonderful lake and river right out front.  At the sport shows you saw video and photo proof that you would be catching 100 trout a day all on dry flies.  The owner who was at the show was nice enough to let you in on the secret that if you didn't put a deposit down right than and there with your credit card you were like to miss out on the spot.  You spend the next several months preparing, tying flies and dreaming about the slow motion, head-tail takes that were about to happen.  The problem is that when you arrive at the end of July you find out those 100 fish days only happen in June on the opening week of the season.  After that the weary fish are much more careful about what and when the...

A Steelheader goes Tarpon fishing

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For most of us serious fly fisherman there is nothing more exhilarating in this world than chasing silver, chrome fish that bite a fly and jump like hell. I can’t say a day on the ocean can match a day swinging flies for wild steelhead, however I am hard pressed to remember anything that caused the type of adrenaline rush that occurs when you see giant tarpon surfacing. There are many unbelievable places to satisfy the tarpon urge but for us, heading to Pine Key in Florida was an easy choice.  

It has been the landing point for many guides I cut my teeth with in Alaska.  It was in many ways going to be as much as a reunion with great friends as a fishing trip.  Old school Alaska Rainbow Lodge alum Ryan Phinney and Brandon Sharp have both been guiding in the keys for many years now and live year r...

A Dog’s Best Friend

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Gawwwwwwwwwd!!!!!  I have writer’s block.  I have stared at this computer for three nights in a row without laying down a word.  Not even a letter.  This has happened before but not as severe as this.  It is like a palsy.  My hands are frozen in the “start” position over the keys.  I know what I want to write about.  I don’t know where to start.  I’ll just start writing stuff down and see what happens.

I want to write about my chocolate lab. This was during the 70’s.  Her name was Marcy.  When I asked my son about a name for her he didn’t even hesitate.  “I want to name her Marcy after my baby sitter.  I think even at 4 yrs old he was a little taken by his sitter.  He liked her.  Marcy it was.  Cutest puppy in the world.  Neither my...

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