By , August 11, 2011 10:30 pm

I’ve been waiting, and waiting, and waiting!

Okay let me back up a little here. I’ve been fishing in the San Gabriel Mountains since I was a little kid, and one of the places that I used to love to hike up to was Crystal Lake. The lake has been on lock down since late 2005 due to fires, then rain, then road damage, and now it’s open.

This place holds a special place in my heart. It’s where I caught my first Largemouth Bass as a young boy, and has always made me feel so far away from everything going on in the world.

So enough reminiscing, the point I’m trying to make is that I finally had the chance to make it back up there a couple of weeks ago.

I arrived early in the morning and the parking lot was still closed. So I parked on the side of the road, put my Adventure Pass in the rear view mirror, picked up my Okuma 9′ 5 weight and off I went to relive my childhood.

After about a 1/4 mile uphill hike,  I arrived heart racing to see if it still looked the same. As I turned the corner it was like 14 years just rolled back, and there I was 10 years old with fishing gear in hand.

After a couple minutes I remembered that I was there to fish. I tied on a size 12 Beadhead Olive Flash-A-Bugger and after about three casts I was on a fish. I set the hook, the fish fought for a second, and then it came off.

I stood there in shock were there still Bass in here? Plus it fought like a really good one. I sharpened my hook and made sure I had completely mashed down the barb. After my next cast, another hit and another fish off.

I repeated this process about 5 more times with 2 more flies. What was going on? Do these fish have holes in their mouths?

By this time the sun had started to come up, and I decided to switch to a Hopper Dropper Rig.

One cast and I had a decent sized Green Sunfish in hand. This thing fought like a fish 3 times it’s size, and I couldn’t believe the girth for the length of the fish. Well at least the fish were healthy and abundant.

After about 5 Small Bass, 15 Green Sunfish and 1 missed Catfish, I decided to call it a day. People were starting to show up with their dogs and kids. Throwing rocks in the water and scaring away all the fish.

I packed up my rod and reel and started to head out, and as I turned the corner I heard a rustling in the trees and decided to investigate!

There was a small Pack (that’s probably not the right word) of deer, eating acorns (the deer were eating the acorns not the other way around) and moving toward the lake to get a drink of water.

What a day. I am so excited to see this little Lake in such great condition and please if any of you make it up there, pick up your trash and practice catch and release only!

I want nothing more than if I have children, for them to someday be able to enjoy this great little piece of my childhood.


By , July 21, 2011 6:17 pm

BMFS Logo  

Bob Marriott’s Flyfishing Store

Bob Marriott’s Free Educational Series

Fly Fishing Tips & Techniques   

Saturday, July 23rd 11am-2pm

Joe Libeu Fly Fishing Tips
Joe Libeu Sharing His Knowledge
With Our Own Joe Libeu & Friends!   One of the best things about fly fishing is that there is always something new to learn (or re-learn!).  If you feel the same way, make sure you attend this month’s program on Fly Fishing “Tips & Techniques” hosted by our very own Joe Libeu and other friends of the shop.The format is simple: bring together several people skilled in the various facets of fly fishing and set them up in and around the shop and let the guests move about as they please, drawn to their stations of interest. Stations include:

Fly Tying – Fishing Long Rods – Nymph Leaders – Water Craft – Net Building – Indicators – Building Leaders – Fishing Knots – Rod Building – Fly Lines

Don’t miss this opportunity to improve your skills, and bring a friend! 



By , July 13, 2011 11:14 pm

Have you ever met someone that was just meant to teach? I mean every fiber of their being loves telling people about things, and they are just overflowing with useful information.

That is so my Urban Fishing Buddy Dan. The guy just lights up if someone asks him a question, and the amazing facts that come out of this guy’s mouth never cease to amaze me.

A good example of this was at a recent Urban Fly Excursion to Alamitos Bay.

We arrived in the late afternoon and started working on a stretch of beach. Whenever I fish the Surf or Bay from the shoreline, I like to use what I call the “Fanning the Sand” Technique.

Basically what we do is start on opposite ends of the stretch we are looking to fish and make 5 casts about every 10-20 feet covering the entire 180 degrees of the section.

Most people step up to the Surf ready to haul out a 70 foot cast missing the fish that are right at their feet.

Being left handed I usually start at the left end and Dan usually starts at the right end. We meet in the middle, then we fish each others section (almost always using different fly patterns).

This day the fish just weren’t cooperating with us. I caught one lizard fish and watched a Bat ray swim right next to my feet in only about 12 inches of water.

As we proceeded down the beach, I started to realize just how out of my element I feel in Saltwater. Yet Dan is the polar opposite, it’s like he was born to be in the ocean.

He would continuously reach into the water and pull out some disgusting looking animal (or whatever they’re called) and begin to give the kids on the beach a quick lesson in Marine Biology. Things like one of those slugs he picked up shooting out purple ink when it gets scared (I thought he was crazy until he squeezed it and purple went flying everywhere).

I learned about everything from Sea Slugs, to the fact that Snails lay eggs on the Eel Grass that my little Bass friends love to hide in.

It was cool to see Dan so in his element. Doing what he’s so good at.

Trust me it was part of the Fly Fishing Buddy application process. Point 1 was “Find someone who is good at Saltwater Fly Fishing, since you are so terrible at it”.

His knowledge has helped me a lot in learning to read my surroundings, and I’ve even started to catch a few nice fish.

Okay a few tiny Lizardfish, but hey at least I’m catching something!



By , June 27, 2011 11:39 am

Fly Fishing at night is definitely a whole new beast for me to learn to conquer. There have been knotted up leaders and a different kind of knot on the back of my head. Flies lost in astonishing numbers from trees and fish alike.

The first couple of times out felt like the most frustrating time I’ve ever spent fishing, not just fly fishing I’m talking freaking fishing in general!

I remember going home the first night, and stating to my wife just as I walked in the door “I’m never trying that again”.

Yet just a few days later, I found myself back in the dark, headlamp on, and more clothing than I needed to keep the mosquitoes away.

On the second night things started to turn around. I started feeling the fly on the back cast, and I had only hit one tree. After a couple of hookups, but no fish to net. I sat down on the bench and started to contemplate what I was doing wrong.

I started to realize that the fish were hitting a lot harder. I needed to set the hook with more authority and get the fish to the net as quick as possible.

The next night I brought my 6 weight, beefed up to a 3x tapered leader, tied on a heavier BH Flash a Bugger, and started working the fly just a little slower than usual.

One cast and I had a 2 pound Largemouth Bass on the other end of the line. So many things started flooding to my head. Why had I been sleeping every night for all these years? Was this a dream? Was I really starting to get the hang of this Urban Fly Fishing at night thing.

After dodging a couple of drunk teenagers, a homeless man sleeping on the bench, and a few hundred sleeping ducks (Apparently Urban Fly Fishing at night has just as many dangers as it daytime counterpart).

I cast out a couple more times to a new spot with no luck. Then a Thud. I stopped my fly for a split second, and all of the sudden the line started flying out of my hand. I set the hook and the fish changed direction. I started the chase running from one end of the pond to the other like a mad man (which I’m sure the drunk teenagers got a real kick out of).

After about 5 minutes. I pulled the fish to the net (at least what of him would fit). Flicked on my headlamp and could not believe my eyes. It was a 20 plus inch Bass (not hard to figure out as my net’s only 20 inches). I grabbed my phone to snap a quick pic, and pulled out the lip scale. The fish weighed in at just over 5 pounds!

This was my best Bass in a long, long, long time. I was shaking uncontrollably. I didn’t want to let go, but I remembered that I had to get this fish back in the water as soon as possible. I set him gently in, and “whack” a flip of the tail to my face and this big boy had a little retribution.

I sat there for a moment breaking down my gear, just taking it all in.

As I walked (maybe even skipped a little, wait did I just write that?) back to the Urban Fly Mobile, I was starting to enjoy this, as Dan says

“Addiction called Urban Night Fishin”!



By , April 29, 2011 11:06 pm

I brought my mom up to Big Bear a couple of weekends ago for her birthday. Snow was in the forecast and all I could think about on the way up was “Why did I promise not to go fishing this weekend”. We made it up to Angelus Oaks at about 11:00pm, when we suddenly had to get out of the truck and put snow chains on in the freezing cold. The 25 MPH drive up the hill was so worth it, as we watched the snow decend upon the mountain in a blanket of white.

The next morning I woke my little brother up to hit the hiking trail. It was a great hike and the scenery was brilliant. On the way back to the cabin, I stopped as cones and tape hit my field of vision on a little tributary that runs into the lake. We decided to stop and take a look (since it looked like a crime scene from television), and I was amazed to find literally 100′s of spawning Rainbow Trout swimming to and fro .

After a few moments of shock, I decided to get a closer look with my camera. We hit two more tributaries to find these signs posted just about every 10-20  feet.

I stopped a Police Officer passing by, and asked him why the signs where up along with so much caution tape. He proceeded to tell me that over the last couple of years, people would line these small waterways shoulder to shoulder harassing the Trout. He also said ”this was the most trout he had ever seen spawning up there” (which makes sense due to the Extremely high water levels).

I decided to go over to Boulder Bay to see the remodeling, that my co-author and fishing buddy Dan has been telling me so much about. I was shocked to find half the bay frozen over, and structure everywhere.

It looks like they just sunk the old gate and some of the construction equipment. You know where I’m going with this Pier+Structure=Great Fishing. I’m just itching to get back up there during the summer for a chance to fish this new spot!


By , April 26, 2011 11:17 pm

The weather is changing, the Days are getting longer, and the Bass are starting to switch over from the Spawn.

I’ve been over to Heartwell a couple of times over the last week or so, with an hour or two to fish in between work and other commitments. From this experience I can tell you two things; the Sunsets in Southern California are amazing and the Bass are switching from the Spawn to attack mode.

The other day I strolled up from the parking lot to find a few of the regulars fishing the lake, along with a couple of guys I had never seen before. I did a quick walk around scoping for beding fish, and keeping an eye out for roaming Bluegill.

After spotting quite a few Panfish in the shallows and a few Males still guarding fry, I decided to throw a size 8 Minnow imitation with a 5x leader, since the fish are still a little skiddish from being fished so hard.

After a couple of casts I had a decent 1 1/2 Pound Male off a bed and a couple of Juvies sitting on structure.

I decide to move over to the other side of the lake and started talking to Juan (a regular Conventional Guy at the Lake), when I heard the all too familiar grunt of a Bass Guy setting the hook on a baitcaster. So we walked over to see what all the commotion was about, and the guy was hooting and hollering about being stuck on something (running back and forth trying to get his lure free).

We both noticed he was pulling in on a lot of line, and then it dawned on us that he had a Carp on the other end.

I sat there watching him as he struggled to bring the fish to the surface, realizing he was going to need my net. After about 15 minutes the mammoth beast was in the net (well only half of it would fit) and he had just caught about a 15 pound carp.

Not super long, but one of the thickest ones that I have ever seen, and with the yank of his lure he had foul hooking the fish in its fin. After a couple of glory shots the behemoth was back in the water, none the worse and I think that was the most excitement I’ve has watching a Conventional guy catch a fish!


By , April 17, 2011 9:31 pm

Let me start off by saying that I do know “El Dorado” does not mean Panfish in Spanish (I was trying to be witty). But anyway I made it over to El Dorado Park Lakes the other day for my long overdue reunion with the El Do Panfish that seem to love my flies.

I don’t know what it is? I go to lakes all over So Cal (and even other states) and usually catch all kinds of Bass. Yet it seems that the ones at El Dorado just want nothing to do with me.  Good thing this is UrbanFlyVentures and we don’t shy away from catching all species of fish, so I downsized and the magnets (I mean flies) started bringing in the fish.

Now I’ve caught Bluegills that were so tiny, they made me question why & how in the world they got caught on a fly bigger than their mouth. But the saucers here can be large and in charge!

The fly of the day seemed to be a size 14 Mysis Shrimp from The Trout Spot, and the fish were just falling all over it. It seemed like the fly barely even had time to hit the water before bang, and I had another fish on.

After about 2 hours I had literally pulled in about 50 fish (and 5 species at that)!

Those are the kind of days that seem to make me addicted to Urban Fly Fishing. You feel like you can walk up to any portion of the lake (it doesn’t matter what fly you have on) and catch fish all day long, until your arm hurts so bad from casting you just decide to go home.

I need days like that, especially coming out of the Winter (or as I like to call it the yearly fishing Armageddon)!

Well and wouldn’t you know it, I even stumbled across a couple of little Largemouth along the way, not big (trust me the big bass are in there) but a Bass is a Bass is a Bass!

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