Quick hits.

Hannah gets the job done, with class and style!

Hell yeah!

PS: I hope to have the conclusion of my adventures in Mexico posted soon, please be patient!


Fishing with friends....

Fish on!!

Run K8, run!!!

Uh oh...

Fish off.

Some more weekend shenanigans...

Thanks for a great trip guys!!!!


Round 2

I'm still dreaming of pina coladas and warm ocean breezes. Did I mention that our resort had two roof top hot tubs overlooking all of Puerto Vallarta? As the clouds rolled in (as they did every day) and the wind picked up in the late afternoon, the temperature dropped to the point where a hot tub was perfect. And watching pelicans fly overhead as the sun went down on evening #2 seemed the perfect way to wind down the day.

Day three saw another late start, and in the afternoon a journey through downtown Puerto Vallarta was in order. After eating resort food for two days, an authentic Mexican meal was high on my priority list. We wandered off the main drag and found a small restaurant which served us freshly made gaucamole and salsa with chips, then one of the finest enchilada platters I have ever had the pleasure of eating. Ridiculously full, it kept me fueled for the rest of the afternoon. Some things of note: all the souvenir shops have all the same stuff - once you've hit one or two, you really don't need to bother with the rest; bargaining with shopkeepers is an art; wear comfortable shoes; watch the ocean - we watched in awe as hundreds of dolphins, pelicans, and other birds dove and sliced through the waves in an ecstatic feeding frenzy.

We also visited some interesting stores, including an entire gallery devoted to beaded figurines and tapestries. Done by hand, the figure is covered in beeswax and each bead is placed individually with a long needle. No patterns are used, so each piece is unique. The colours were vibrant and fun, and pieces ranged from a small egg to a three foot giraffe.

My favourite was this wall of iguanas, which stretched well beyond the borders of this picture.

Before our trip, Curtis had talked to a friend who had fished near a pier downtown, so we walked well into old Vallarta to find it. Small and short, the end of the pier was packed with all manner of people, some with rods, others with nets, and the rest with hand lines, fishing away the afternoon while pelicans circled and dove all around. We saw four fish caught while we watched, one on a rod and three by net, although I think the pelicans vastly out fished the humans.

And yes, there were women and children fishing as well, although one unfortunate boy was nearly knocked out when he walked into a weight being spun on a hand line. Despite the chaotic scene and lack of success, those fishing seemed relaxed and comfortable, and I could picture them repeating this routine day in and day out. As tourists littered the boardwalk, bars and shops along the beach, as the parasailers flew by and children danced in the waves, a small glimpse of normal Puerto Vallartan life showed itself on that short pier. And I am happy to report we were only approached once while on the pier with an offer of a chartered fishing trip. As the only two foreigners out there, I was anticipating being bombarded as it is nearly impossible to take two steps anywhere while in a touristy area without someone trying to sell you something.

With plans for an adventure the next day, we still stayed up way too late that night and thus started our journey on day four much later than anticipated. Stay tuned...


I'm back, baby!!

That's right, after seven days of 30+ degree (that's Celsius, I don't know what it is in Fahrenheit) weather, an all night plane ride home, two days of decompression and a hectic shift at the shop, it's back to reality. I've discovered that no vacation is truly a relaxing one - the only way to really unwind and catch up on your rest is to stay at home, lock the door and unhook the phone. But seriously, there's no way I would pass up my week in Mexico for that. I can sleep when I'm dead.

After leaving home at 11am on Saturday, Feb 7th, we finally arrived at our new home for the week at nearly 1am on Sunday. Departing the plane in Puerto Vallarta means climbing down a giant set of swaying stairs into a wall of heat, and crossing the baking tarmac into the terminal. Thank god it was late at night, a mid afternoon arrival and I might have keeled over from the shock of it. A short bus ride took us into the heart of resort town, somewhere between the Aeropeurto de Puerto Vallarta and downtown. Despite the exhaustion from travelling all day, the excitement of finally being at our destination kept us up into the wee hours of the night (morning?), and how can you not take a dip in the crashing waves under a near full moon on your first night in Mexico?

As I was an all-inclusive virgin, the ease of simply having the food and drink you want available when you want struck me as pure luxury. It eliminates the need to decide where you want to eat, how much you want to pay, stocking up on snacks and liquids...it makes life easy, although the lack of variety in the meal options had us searching out alternatives relatively quickly. The first day consisted of dips in the pool and ocean broken up with some reclining on the lounge chairs, and a short walk down the street to check things out. Puerto Vallarta has a very active night scene, with clubs, bars and restaurants open late to cater to frolicking vacationers and die hard locals. The main strip is a boardwalk on the beach on one side of the street and a plethora of shops, restaurants, clubs, etc. on the other. So of course after dinner we had to check it out. Most places are open to the street, so you can see what's going on inside, and those inside can watch you stroll down the Malecon (boardwalk). The temperature in the evenings is positively perfect: just warm enough to dress light but still cool enough not to overheat. Its easy to dance the night away under those conditions.

After a bit of a sleep in, day two started off similar to the first, with some lounging and swimming, and a rousing game of pool volleyball (not that easy!). In the afternoon Curtis and I decided to take our rods and try fishing off one of the rock jetties on the beach in front of our hotel. This was exactly the wrong time to give it a shot, as the wind picks up heavy in the afternoon and so do the waves, but we decided to try it anyway. On our investigatory journey onto the jetty we discovered it was covered in these crazy little crabs, that not only move like stink and stick to the rocks, but they can jump! Creepier than I can tell you, but they are beautiful little creatures. Mottled dark brown and olive, with red and yellow, and hints of blue and black, they had no front pinchers and reminded me somewhat of spiders, although my skin didn't crawl quite as much from them.
How many crabs can you see in this picture?

Our first fishing attempt resulted in Curtis hooking into one of these little beauties - he discovered they would attack a clouser with reckless abandon and managed to hook himself a trophy!

After a while we decided that perhaps we had not chosen the greatest time to try to toss a fly and headed back up to the resort. On the beach we were met by a local nicknamed Tricio who talked to us about fishing, and told us about a unique fishing destination that he thought we would like... which leads me into a very long tale that will have to wait until tomorrow...


Angler of the Month

This months angler is someone who is quickly becoming a well known figure in the fly fishing world.
With magazine articles and cover shots in the likes of Canadian Fly Fisher and STS, appearances in FlyMax Films dvds and TV shows, podcasts and articles on various websites, and the face of an angel, April Vokey is hard not to notice. But I don't want to focus on April Vokey the professional, I'd like to tell you about April Vokey the person.

I first met April over four years ago, when she came into the shop looking for a set of breathable waders. Its always a pleasure to deal with female customers, especially those that are enthusiastic and actually fish hard. April was one of those, and because we are two of a very small handful of female anglers (and steelheaders at that) in the lower mainland, we quickly struck up a friendship. April has a bubbly, outgoing personality, and lives and breathes fishing. She's also a little bit nuts. When I first met her she would work all night, then drive four hours to our favourite little steelhead stream to fish all day. And repeat. After she discovered fly fishing, April has pursued it with a passion and determination I've rarely seen. In a very short time, she has become an accomplished single and double hand caster, an incredible fly tier, a guide and instructor, started an amazing fundraiser - Flies for Fins, and has created her own business - Flygal Ventures.

April fishes more than most of us, and is a riot to be out on the water with. She's funny, sweet and positive, yet could kick your ass in a heart beat. She'll go camping for weeks at a time, or spend months with a houseful of steelhead bums and love it, but she is also a self professed "girlie-girl". April loves pretty clothes and looking good, and isn't ashamed of it. She has helped me realize its okay to be a girl and fish. I can still throw on a little makeup in the morning, wear pink and big hoop earrings out fishing - if that's what I like and want to do. Before knowing April I had fallen into a trap of trying to hide my femininity while fishing with the guys. But if I'm naturally "girlie", I shouldn't pressure myself into being something that I'm not.

Last year April was in a horrific car accident, and lucky for us she survived it. But even a broken foot can't stop her. In the months right after the accident she was out in her pram on BC's interior lakes, with her crutches at her side, catching monster fish. I fished with her for a week soon after the accident, and while many people crumble under a terrifying incident like that, April pushed through her pain and used it as an opportunity to better herself.
She has been working tirelessly this past year to become a better angler. One of her goals is to encourage more people, especially women, to try fly fishing and not be indimidated by it. April proclaims herself to be an "eternal student" of fly fishing, I sentiment I whole heartedly agree with. Its absolutely refreshing to fish and hang out with someone who has such a positive attitude. April is fearless and independent, and is breaking down barriers for women anglers everywhere. Not just because of her exposure in the fly fishing media and not because she looks good in a picture, but because of who she is as a person.


The future...

Meet Danika Rodgers, a future die hard fly fisher. This photo was taken last summer when she was barely three years old - look how loaded that rod is! Danika now owns her own custom built spey rod, and harasses her father on a regular basis to take her fishing and camping. And, she wears pink. This girl rocks!