A day with Kerr

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Nick Clayton, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. Nick Clayton Active Member

    Posts: 2,946
    Ratings: +1,220 / 4
    Last month my girlfriend asked me what I wanted for my upcoming birthday. After some thought I told her that I wanted to take a trip with Jim. I made contact via email, and after a few back and forths to hash out the details, a Aug. 21st trip was booked.

    Saturday morning we all got up and headed up towards Forks. I was born and raised in Port Angeles, and my girlfriend has never spent much time up there, so our plan was to just cruise slowly towards Forks while showing her all the sights of my youth. Our first stop was the Oak Table in Sequim for a fantastic breakfast. We then headed into PA where I showed her the house I grew up in, and a few of the local sites. We swung into Waters West where I bought some flies, leades and tippet for the following day's trip. We headed out of PA and headed west, stopping at campgrounds and various sites along the way as we just enjoyed the nice weather and scenery. Made it to Bear Creek by about 3:30 where we had a late lunch/dinner. (Excellent food as usual). We decided to get a room at their motel, and after getting settled in, headed into Forks to do a little Twilight sight seeing. We drove down to the hatchery on the Bogi, then headed west and checked out some campgrounds and cruised some of my old haunts.

    Got back to the motel around 10 pm where I had a hell of a time falling asleep. Alarm clock went off at 5am and I hopped out of bed to go meet Jim. Met up with Jim at the Thriftway in Forks at 6am, threw my gear in his truck, and off we went. He explained that we were going to be fishing the Hoh, and that they had consistently been getting into fish, but that they were extremely spread out and they had to cover lots of water to find one here and there.

    We put in at Cottonwood, I believe, and floated down to a gravel bar... i can't remember what Jim called it. We nymphed slots, seams, tailouts etc... The whole way. Covering lots of water. We didn't focus much on the real deep holes, as we left those to the gear guys, and instead focused on covering as much water as possible, and focused on the water that was best suited to our fly gear. During this float we fished a lot of prime looking water with nothing to show for it. Hooked a few trout, and a few white fish, but no steel. Jim was quite frustrated, but I was just trying to focus on learning as much as possible and just enjoying my time spent on the water. We reached the gravel bar and Jim decided that we would pick up and go back and float through the canyon.... can't remember the name of the spot where we put in, but we floated back to our original morning put in, which I believe was Cottonwood. I wish I had different results to report on this float, but unfortunately it was more of the same. Covered a ton of water, with no action to speak of. Oh well, it was a beautiful float and i was glad to get a chance to see the Canyon.

    Jim was very apologetic for the lack of action, and just kept saying he couldn't believe we didn't find any fish. I just told him I understood. I have gear fished for steelhead long enough to know what to expect from these fish, and my expectations for this trip were centered around learning and just enjoying time spent on the water with such a great guide, and in that regard the trip was an astounding success. Jim is a fantastic guide! Great instructor, AMAZING oarsman, very knowledgeable on the local fisheries and area in general, and just overall a great guy to spend a day in a boat with. For anyone looking for a guide in Western Washington, I have a hard time imagining anyone finer than Jim.

    Near the end of the second float we stopped and rigged up my new to me Anglers Roost 12' 5/6 spey setup and Jim spent time working with me on casting and spey techniques. I really appreciated his tutelage, and will be putting his tips to use in upcoming practice sessions.

    Overall it was a fabulous day, regardless of being skunked. I learned so, so much and had a blast being in a boat with such a great guy. I will definitely be setting up another trip soon!

  2. Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

    Posts: 1,792
    Bellingham Wa.
    Ratings: +316 / 1
    How do you like your new rod? I've been looking @ the anglers roost.
  3. Upton O Blind hog fisherman

    Posts: 2,167
    out of state now
    Ratings: +218 / 0
    Excellent report.
  4. Nick Clayton Active Member

    Posts: 2,946
    Ratings: +1,220 / 4

    Chris, I have very minimal experience with 2 handed rods, so I don't have much to compare it to, but from a novice's perspective its hard to beat for the money. Jim Kerr played around with it quite a bit and said it was a dandy little rod as well. We were throwing a Skagit head that the original owner sold me as part of a package. I don't remember the size of the Skagit, I'll have to look, but I wanna say somewhere around 330g for some reason. Anyway, I think its a fantastic bargain. Looks nice. Casts great. Feels great. Hard to beat at that price.
  5. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,502
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,473 / 9
    Excellent report of a great birthday present, great time with your gal and with Jim. Sometimes the fish just don't cooperate, but that does not break the day!
  6. Irafly Active Member

    Posts: 3,672
    Everett, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +1,087 / 1
    You my man have an incredible attitude and it sounds like Kerr did as well. I'd possibly be up for joining you on a future trip sometime.

    By the way, no Cuda on the mid but the snook took a verticalish presentation.

  7. Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Posts: 2,494
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +791 / 0
    Sounds like you had a wonderful day on the water! Summer runs in the Hoh have never been particularly plentiful and with current numbers, you would have been lucky to hook up. More importantly, it sounds like you learned a lot. He's on the river all the time, though, and if he said folks have been getting into fish lately, then maybe there are more in the river now than in past Augusts.

  8. Nick Clayton Active Member

    Posts: 2,946
    Ratings: +1,220 / 4
    Ira- I knew if anyone could get them on the vertical presentation it would be you! Atta Boy! I'd love to share a boat sometime. I'm wanting to book another trip or two... I'm definitely getting the steelhead bug back.

    Richard, I didn't mean to imply that Jim was singing the praises of huge numbers or anything. He said they had consistently been getting into fish daily, but that they had to work for them and cover lots of water. The gear guys we talked to on the river all seemed to report the same that day... Most had gotten into a fish or two by covering lots of water. One boat we spoke to near our first take out reported hooking quite a few but losing them all. As we approached a small run that Jim was wanting us to swing, we watched them hook up with a spinner. The fish jumped right in front of the boat and spit the hook. Sure makes me wonder what would have happened if we had gotten there first and got to swing that little slot. I can't speak to numbers of summer runs in the Hoh at all. I grew up in Port Angeles and used to be much more knowledgeable on those rivers. I do know there are fish in there right now. How many I can't say. What I do know is that regardless of fish numbers that is some of the most beautiful water anywhere! I thoroughly enjoyed the float through the canyon. So beautiful.
  9. avs16win Member

    Posts: 157
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Nick I am concluding from your tone on this thread that you have not fished with multiple resident forks guides in your lifetime. Not only does this disqualify you to be able to suggest a guide, it negates the fact that you had a great time. Please consult pt for proper etiquette as relates to sharing experiences.
  10. Denny Active Member

    Posts: 4,048
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +45 / 0
    That's a wonderful report

    I'm glad you get 'it'; fishing isn't always about the catching. My (to-be) ex made a somewhat recent comment about fly fishing being to yoga-esque, and she was at a total loss how two guys could stand in a river all day, not catch anything and say they had a good time.
  11. PT Physhicist

    Posts: 3,569
    Edmonds, WA
    Ratings: +728 / 2
    Great report Nick. As Denny said, you definitely get it. Fish don't always cooperate. But, when a guide works hard to give you the best chance at success it makes a big difference. Nothing worse than leaving the water knowing you didn't give it your best shot.