We’re on McGee Creek in Oklahoma throwing a Whopper Plopper, Frog, Buzzbait, Popper, and a fluke! Its a brand new state for us, neither CC nor Matt has ever bass fished in Oklahoma but that won’t stop us from finding the fish! Come along for a fun day exploring the standing timber and murky waters of McGee Creek.
When fishing a brand new lake its easy to become overwhelmed. We focus on key patterns that let us locate fish quickly, instead of haphazardly covering water. In this case, we knew we had high muddy water conditions so we focused on topwater. Despite the stained water, the fish had no issue locating the whopper popper and other topwater lures.
Below is a breakdown of the baits and tackle used in the video. We hope you enjoyed coming along for a day on the water in Oklahoma! We’ll be on the road for several months so follow along as we break down new fisheries all over the country!
The musky is deemed the fish of 10,000 casts for a reason, there are far fewer musky than other species, they don’t feed constantly and their habits are relatively unknown. Honestly, if it took 10,000 casts I would quit. Anglers who catch more fish than most aren’t fishing the latest and greatest triple bladed whatever. They just put their baits around more fish. Location is the single greatest factor that will help you catch more muskies. I like to think of location in terms of seasonal progressions. Where were the fish and where are they going.
Spring Musky Fishing
Water Temperatures 50-60 Degrees (Rising)
Spring is typically associated with the spawn. You are either fishing before, during or after the spawn. Musky spawn between 50 and 60-degree water temperatures. They spawn in or near large, shallow, south facing bays. If you have a creek or river flowing into the system they will spawn there as well. Some fish will spawn in random locations but these fish tend to be harder to target. Knowing when and where fish spawn makes it easy to target them this time of year. If the water is 45 degrees, fish the outside mouth of the bay or river where musky will stage up waiting for the right conditions to push shallow. If the water is 62 degrees fish the vegetation in or near spawning areas. This is the time of year when everything wants to be shallow. Panfish are about to spawn which gives muskies plenty of feed in these larger shallow bays.
Early Summer Musky Fishing
Water Temperature 60-70 Degrees (Rising)
On most bodies of water, the early summer period is still a relatively shallow water bite. Musky begin leaving the shallow bays once they are done spawning. Along with the forage they begin to spread on over shallow structure adjacent to these spawning area. Maybe the big rock point that runs out of the shallow bay. Or the weed hump just outside of the bay. Fishing 10 feet or less is a great game plan this time of year. Fish quickly as fish are typically very active in this time of year. Bucktails, jerk baits and topwaters rule this season on most lakes.
Mid-Summer Musky Fishing
Water Temperature 70-80 Degrees (Rising)
Once summer progresses fish move out to main lake structure and typically utilize deeper depths. Forage has often moved out to the basin or is located on a deeper edge of the structure close to open water. This time of year you want to focus on the drop-off or edge of the structure. If you are fishing a hump that tops out at 5’ and has weeds out to 12 feet you want to put your boat in 15 feet to cover the outside edge of the structure. This is also a time of year that fish tend to utilize open water. They are out there because the feed is there. Whenever is come across large quantities of suspended bait in the summer I always give it go and fish the baitfish like I would structure.
Late Summer Musky Fishing
Water Temperature 75-65 Degrees (Dropping)
This time of year is typically kicked off by the first big cool down in late August or September. This drop in water temperature spurs a shallow water movement of muskies and bait. Once the water reaches these temperatures fish return to the very tops of bars, humps and points. I tend to fish anywhere from one to ten feet of water during this timeframe. These spots can be main lake areas or shallow shoreline structure. Fishing very fast is the name of the game. Bucktails and topwaters dominate this season as you need a presentation that can be fished fast and efficiently across shallow structure.
Early Fall Musky Fishing
Water Temperature 65-50 Degrees (Dropping)
This is likely one of the more challenging times of year to locate musky as they can be in a number of different locations. Most lakes also experience turnover during this timeframe which can further complicate the puzzle. Some fish will move to late fall locations which we will get to in a second. The remainder of the fish can still be found in or around large shallow water structure. When I am fishing this time frame I like to cover multiple zones at a time. This means I like to fish shallow structure that has a very steep edge leading to deep water. This allows my to cast to the edge of shallow water and work by bait to deep water. Most of the time we can eliminate a lot of slow tapering flats or bays this time of year as fish are about to move deep. Covering multiple zones will put your lures in front of more fish during this season.
Late Fall Musky Fishing
Water Temperature 50-40 Degrees (Dropping)
The late fall period is undoubtedly my favorite time of year to fish musky. The locations become extremely predictable however there is a catch. With the cold temperatures, muskies metabolism is slowed way down. For us that means we may know where these fish are but they might not eat that often. During this late fall period, fish utilize steep and deep structure. The fastest breaking portion of a piece of structure or any deep neckdowns are good places to start the search. We are no longer focusing on the top of the break. We are now targeting fish that are at the base of the break or somewhere on the deeper edge of the break line. It is easy to eliminate 90 percent of the lake during this season. During this timeframe, I will fish the same spot for multiple hours and wait for the fish to bite. If I am confident I am in the correct area I may spend an entire day fishing one large break line. Pay attention to where baitfish are present. If an area or spot seems void of life there is no need to spend much time there. Lure options are really pretty simple this time of year. Deep jerk baits, crankbaits or jigs are about the only lures capable of reaching the necessary depths. In some lakes, deep water might be 15 feet. In other lakes, the break might go out to 30. Deep is relative to the lake.
The latest and greatest lure would have been much cooler to talk about, a cure-all bait! Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Put your bait in front of more fish and you will catch more fish. As musky angler, we often divert most of our attention to the new products and gear and forget about what truly puts more muskies in our boat!
Special Thanks to Hayward, Wisconsin Fishing Guide – Tom Boley for writing this article. Learn how to get in the boat with Tom here: Tom Boley Fishing
College bass fishing is a fast growing sports in college sports and it is rapidly developing into one of the most competitive platforms young anglers can fish. From the pros on down to high school, more anglers are becoming involved and in order to be successful it now requires more passion, knowledge, and skill than ever. College fishing is probably the level most affected by this explosion in popularity. Today it requires a huge amount of dedication to be competitive as a college angler and to be recruited by some of the top teams in the country. In this article I will be discussing what I have found to be the three most important tips to becoming a successful college fisherman from my own experiences, experiences of my teammates, input from Caleb Taylor of A1 Angler Development, and from conversations with Coach Seth Borton the coach of the Adrian College Bass Team.
Tip #1: Get Started and Get Noticed
The first thing anyone interested in eventually fishing in college or beyond must do is to actually get involved in tournaments at their current level. A common misconception at the high school level is that your school has to have a bass team for you to compete in high school tournaments, but this isn’t true. For the Student Angler Federation (SAF) tournaments run through FLW you do not need to be a part of a school affiliated club or team to register. For Bassmaster high school events the only prerequisite for registering is that you are a part of a Bassmaster sanctioned club which is very simple for two or more anglers to set up.
What may be the biggest hurdle for a high school angler is finding a boat and boat captain to fish tournaments with. If you or an immediate family member doesn’t own a boat you can fish out of, the task of finding someone to take you out may seem very daunting. However, it may be easier than you think. Fortunately for us, the bass fishing community is a very tight knit group and oftentimes willing to help a young angler get started. A good place to start looking for someone to captain for you would be any facebook forum for local tournaments. Often those who fish these are very receptive to young anglers trying to break into the sport. If this doesn’t work out then the next place to look is among the ranks of current college anglers. Many of us who fish at the college level now were in your same shoes just a few years ago. We understand your struggle and in most cases are willing to help.
Tip #2: Be Prepared for More Than Just the Fish
Although there are many people willing to help young anglers, fishing is in no way an inexpensive sport. Due to how fast the number of participants is growing many resources and volunteers are being stretched very thin. Therefore, similar to any other sport that one may participate in, fishing does require monetary investment on the side of the angler. Most of this cost comes in the form of tournament expenses such as gas, lodging, and entry fees, as well as any equipment you may need. Unlike some other sports these expenses do not come in the form of a one time “pay to play” fee but rather accrue over the course of the year. In order to avoid spending more than intended during a season you may wish to create a budget to keep spending in check. Don’t let cost discourage you as there are ways to make tournament fishing more affordable, but do know in order to compete at a high level, just like any other sport, you will need to pay.
As college fishing becomes more competitive getting recruited by some of the more successful teams in the country is becoming more difficult. Once you find a way to start fishing high school tournaments it is important to record your finishes and start building a resume. This will be extremely helpful when talking with college coaches and teams as you will have a physical record of where you fished and how you finished. It is also necessary to schedule face to face meetings with coaches or club presidents and maintain contact with them until you are ready to choose a school. For example, in my specific case I was dead set on fishing for Adrian College so I met with Coach Borton the summer after my junior year. I then continued to contact him giving updates on how I had been doing in tournaments and what I was doing to get better. Face to face meetings also help coaches to gage the “intangibles” of an angler, which are the most important factors considered in recruitment. These attributes include passion, work ethic, perseverance (especially when faced with tough conditions), willingness to learn, and how well you work with teammates. Regardless of how attractive your resume may appear it is likely a coach will not be interested in adding you to their team if you don’t possess these other qualities. When looking to get recruited onto a team the most important thing to keep in mind is to treat it just as serious as recruitment for any other sport and do anything possible to set yourself apart from other anglers.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when I ask you what you think the most important thing a college angler should focus on is? Probably something that has to do with actual bass fishing, maybe being versatile or making quick adjustments based on the conditions. What if I told you that all the aspects that require the most attention and focus in order to make you successful have nothing to do with the bass at all? In my opinion, it is the off the water aspects such as trailering experience, being able to fix mechanical issues, tournament preparation, and staying on top of things academically that are the most important. This is because if something goes wrong and you aren’t able to fix it or prevent it from happening in the first place, you won’t even be able to make it to the tournament. Luckily these things are all very easy to start working on before you get to college.
The best way to improve on all these off the water aspects of tournament fishing is simply spending more time preparing for tournaments and being on the road. However, there are other ways to get better. To work on trailering skills drive the boat and tow vehicle you are running whenever possible, even if someone is captaining for you ask to drive. Another great way to improve on pulling and maintaining a trailer is to get a summer job working somewhere that uses trailers often, such as a landscaping company.
One of the biggest challenges that you will face once you become a college angler will be staying up to date on your school work. It isn’t uncommon to miss an entire weeks worth of classes when traveling to a tournament and managing your work is very important. In some cases when a college program is a sanctioned sport like here at Adrian you must maintain a certain GPA in order to fish, so keeping good grades is mandatory. Once again this is very easy to work on while in high school by practicing good studying habits and working on doing all your homework ahead of time.
Overall there is no substitute for experience when it comes to properly preparing for a tournament and traveling. Therefore the best way to improve on this before you get to college is to simply travel to as many long distance tournaments as possible when you are still in high school.
Tip #3: Out Fish Everyone When No One is Looking
Ultimately what will determine how well you place in your events once you get to college is fishing ability. Obviously, the best way to do this is to simply spend time on the water. But, it is how you spend this time that will determine how much you actually get out of it. How hard you fish during this practice time, when there isn’t a tournament on the line, is what will set you apart from other college anglers.
When competing in college tournaments around the country you will often be faced with situations that force you to fish outside of your comfort zone. Oftentimes, especially if you are from the northern United States, you will be fishing lakes, rivers, and reservoirs you have never been too and where techniques that dominate may be things you have rarely done. In order to prepare for this it is important to force yourself to continue trying new techniques when fun fishing. Fish new water in new ways even when on your home lake, or even if you are just bank fishing, to get used to fishing unfamiliar scenarios. Along with different techniques, you should also push yourself to fish different types of water. For example, if you predominantly fish natural lakes with no current, find the closest river to you with a population of fish and take time to learn how they set-up and feed in moving water. Even if you have to bank fish or wade the river this will be very beneficial, and help you to not only fish rivers but also many reservoirs such as the TVA lakes where the understanding current is vital. A great way to get pushed outside your comfort zone as well as gain more knowledge is The Bass Fishing Experience camps put on by the Adrian College Bass Team each year. These are overnight or day camps during which campers are able to get in a boat and fish with members of the team. Over the course of the camp team members teach each camper different techniques through individual instruction while on the water. This is a great way to gain confidence in a number of new techniques that you may have not tried before as well as get a taste of what college fishing is like.
Another great way to expand your horizons and learn new techniques you may not think to try is a subscription to Mystery Tackle Box. Through this subscription, you will receive a box full of different baits in the mail each month. Because you don’t choose exactly what is sent in the box oftentimes you will get lures you may never have even thought to try. Personally, there has been multiple times when I have learned a completely new technique or a different way to fish a bait I thought I already had mastered.
Sometimes there is simply no way to teach yourself a technique or how to fish a certain type of water because there is nowhere available for you to do it. For example, if you live in Michigan it will be extremely difficult and probably impossible to find a lake where you can practice ledge fishing. However, with how easy it is to access information in today’s day and age, there is no excuse to not have all the knowledge necessary to be able to fish whichever technique you want anywhere in the country. In recent years the amount of free fishing related content on Youtube and other platforms has exploded. Simply searching a technique will often lead to hundreds of videos describing where, when, and how to fish it. A great place to start researching new techniques would be the Mystery Tackle Box channel on Youtube, there you will find countless videos on how to fish nearly any bait and situation you can think of. Along with video resources, there are also many great websites where you can read about different techniques. One of the best websites for technique specific reading material is the Karl’s Blog page on the MTB website. Here you can find articles written on everything from flipping creature baits to dragging a dropshot. Research in this manner may not be as effective as on the water practice but it can make you much more prepared for a tournament and give you an edge over your competition.
If you are interested in learning more about college fishing or keeping up with my season and the rest of the Adrian College Bass Team, follow us on Instagram or Facebook: @shane_nelson_fishing and @ACbassteam. For more information on how to sign up for the Bass Fishing Experience camps visit the AC Bass Team Facebook page.
Also make sure to check out the podcast “The Vision Series: How to Fish in College” by AC Bass Team alumni, Caleb Taylor and Nick Marsh on Spotify or at www.howtofishincollege.podbean.com, where they go into great detail on how to become a college angler and their own experiences. Follow them along on Instagram and YouTube to hear more great advice! @caleb_taylor_fishing and @marshfishing.
You’re a fisherman from another dimension, a dimension not only of conventional heavy baits and big blades, but of sucker rigs and trolling. Now you’re going to take a journey into a wondrous new world whose boundaries are that of the imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead—your next stop? The Musky Fly Fishing Zone!
The answer is easy: You enter the Musky Fly Fishing Zone.
For many newcomers to the sport of predator fishing, landing your first musky is a life-altering event, the start of an obsession with the crazy world of musky hunting. Down the rabbit hole, the angler goes. But what happens when you have caught hundreds of musky in your lifetime, when you’ve spent every spare dollar on new musky baits, rods, and reels, when you’ve caught your first topwater, quit using the live baits and finally captured that fifty-inch fish of a lifetime? What’s is your next challenge in the musky game?
More and more conventional musky anglers have been picking up their phones and calling musky fly fishing wackos like myself, looking to spice up their musky angling life. It’s a growing part of my business and I truly enjoy being a portal into this new sport. If you’re someone who has spent a lot of time chasing the elusive “fish of ten thousand casts,” knows their regular haunts and can now find them with confidence, congratulations! You’re already way ahead of most fly fishermen who have never chased a musky before.
What You Will Need To Get Started
It seems the major obstacle that many have when contemplating going over to the fly world is being overwhelmed with gear options. Don’t be fooled. Musky fly-fishing is a blue collar sport. No trout snobbery or gear geeks here. Just keep it simple.
Reel – Second, don’t get suckered into buying a fancy overpriced reel. Musky rarely rip line off so a snazzy drag system is an overkill. As long as the reel holds the line you’re good to go. Remember: this is hand-to-hand combat. You’re literally stripping the line and fish back to the boat not reeling them in. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Line – Third, you will need a fly line. Start with a 10wt floating line that’s easy to cast. I rock the scientific Anglers Titan Taper for my beginner clients. Then grab four feet of 80 lb. Seaguar fluorocarbon for the leader.
Flies – Lastly and most importantly, you will need a fly. Luckily Today there are a lot of great fly-tiers who sell their patterns online and in fly shops. Pick one you can throw for eight hours, one that’s big enough to turn heads but small enough to spare your rotator cuff.
I tie baits that mimic the exact forage these magnificent beasts are eating throughout the season. If you want to take it to the next level, start tying your own baits. Begin with a good hook like Gamakatsu and simple materials like bucktail and flash. Next move to more complex flies that have specific action tied into them. There is no shortage of tying tutorials available on the internet.
Once you have the above-mentioned gear, start casting and retrieving the fly. Again the Internet is a good resource. But nothing can compare with hiring a pro for day or two to get dialed in. Once you can cast 30-40 feet or so, get that fly swimming in your favorite musky hole, just make sure to figure eight that fly at the end of every retrieve like in the conventional musky fishing world. In fact, I tell all of my clients that figure eight is 50% of the cast. It’s that important. When that big girl eats, hit her with a “strip set,” and DO NOT LIFT YOUR ROD. Remember this mantra “lift em lose em” Strip that fly line back hard with the rod aimed down straight at the fish and hold tight. Congratulations you’ve just entered a whole new dimension, one you may never want to leave.
Children: 7, 4, 2, 5 months – prone to mischief and getting filthy, very cute
Husband: sometime fly fishing writer, even less-time fly fisher
Picturesque New England beach. Afternoon. Springtime. Bluebird skies. Low tide.
Striped bass present.
A family outing, with picnic dinner packed. Fly fishing gear stowed away in and among pasta salad, beach towels, and diapers.
Wife and children explore tide pools, looking for shells and sea glass. Husband walks out into the waves, fly rod in hand. He sees something shimmering on the ocean floor. Kicks at it with his foot, but it seems to be stuck between two rocks. Is it a piece of sea glass? undetonated munition? PBR can? It doesn’t come free. Kicks harder. It doesn’t move. He rears back to really give it the business when a wave hits. Water pushes him precisely when his right leg is at its apex, leaving him off balance and leaning backwards. Each rock he steps on seems to be sloping away from him. After ten comical steps, he falls on his posterior. The cold, May sea water rushes in. He’s soaked on one half of his body. To the toes. Stands up, looks around, sees his wife giving him the thumbs up.
Anyone can throw a crankbait but do you know how to pick the right baits, colors, or how to use it to trigger bites? Today Matt is on Lake Fork, Texas and he’s explaining exactly what you need to know to be a better crankbait fisherman during the post spawn and Summer months.
Matt explains what different baits are used for, which colors produce the best results, and opens up his personal boxes and shows you the exact baits he brought with him on the cross-country trip. With Matt and Tim there are no secrets, they’re showing every bait in the box and explaining what they’re for.
Below is a breakdown of the baits in the box as well as the rods, reels, and hook upgrades Matt is using for his baits.
If you’re beginning to hit your local waters or prep for that big summer trip, you may be thinking about buying a camera to capture those moments. As a photographer/videographer, what I look for in my cameras may be completely different from someone who just wants a few pictures for bragging rights back home. However, regardless of your end goal, it is always nice to have a camera that will help you get the results you want. Here are my top 5 picks for fly fishing cameras under $1,000 that will help you capture pictures and videos that will wow everyone from the local guide shop to the family dinner table.
Disclaimer: this isn’t a complete technical review, however, I will highlight a few specific specs for each camera that I think stand out.
The release of the new Sony a6400 is a great addition to an already phenomenal a6000 series line up. The a6400 is a mirrorless micro 4/3 camera that has some great features for stellar photography and videos. The camera is compact, featuring a small body with small lenses and is the living embodiment of the benefits of using a mirrorless camera, but it is not too small to where it sacrifices usability. It is weather-sealed (not waterproof) which is great for the accidental spray of water or light drizzle. The camera features photo priority modes for those who understand manual settings, but also includes an auto setting if you aren’t too keen on the technical aspects of photography. Other features like a brighter and flip up LCD screen make the camera perfect for sunny conditions and can help you frame that perfect picture of yourself and your catch on the water without trying 100 times and sacrificing the fish’s health. Overall, this is an excellent starter camera with higher-end capabilities and is perfect for fast action situations like fishing. Below I will list some video and photo features that stand out:
24 megapixel sensor
Takes incredible photos
Features sharp and quick autofocus (including a new animal eye-autofocus which if perfect for nature photography)
Interval mode for time-lapses
Fast continuous shooting at 11fps for those crispy action shots of casting or getting that fish drip
Good Dynamic Range
No crop factor in 4k at 24fps
Real time autofocus tracking
Con: no in camera stabilization (solved by purchasing lenses that have optical steady shot)
Ever since its first release, the GoPro quickly became a staple action/adventure camera, especially in the fishing world. The GoPro HERO 7 Black is no exception. Not much needs to be said about the GoPro — it is compact, high quality, waterproof, can take the brunt of a high-intensity fishing expedition, and doesn’t break the bank. Below are some features from the HERO 7 that make it a great choice:
Stabilization options — introduction of the new HyperSmooth stabilization at 60fps in 4k
TimeWarp or Hyperlapse feature creates smooth moving time-lapses
Easy to use interface
Live-streaming capabilities to show off your monster fish in real-time
While a few years old, Canon’s 80D full frame DSLR still holds its own in the camera world. As a DSLR, the 80D is much larger and less compact, but along with that comes superior build quality, weather-sealing and is especially better ergonomically for people with bigger hands. Don’t underestimate the ergonomics of your camera, the size of your camera can make a significant difference in your shooting experience. While the 80D is okay in the video department, it shines with photos and its fully articulating LCD screen allows you to see your screen in even the most awkward situations to ensure you get the shot. With its larger size and intuitive interface, the 80D centers around ease of use. It offers some of the best dynamic range in its price range for an APS-C camera and is a solid camera that continues to be a great choice for an introductory DSLR. Below I will list some video and photo features that stand out:
24 megapixel sensor
Great quality photos
7 fps Continuous shooting
Benefit of access to Canon’s range of EF mount lenses
60fps at 1080p
Canon color science — great for shooting in flat profiles
At a great price point, the TG-5 is a rugged camera that is waterproof and shockproof. The compact body is chock-full of features such as GPS, compass, LED light and a built-in F2-4.9 / 25-100mm equivalent lens. Its plastic body actually stands up to being dropped, dinged, scratched and dented much better than full metal bodies, and it also makes it a light and pocketable camera — perfect for family fishing vacations. While this camera does have the disadvantage of not having interchangeable lenses, don’t let this fool you into thinking this is just another point-and-shoot camera. Not only can it serve as something to get a quick shot of your personal best brook trout, but there are also some features that allow you some creative capability as well. Below I will list some video and photo features that stand out:
12 megapixel sensor
Great Macro capability
Can shoot RAW (which is hard to find at this price point and in a point-and-shoot type camera)
What can’t you do with your phone at this point? While I’m specifically focusing on the iPhone, this suggestion can apply to many smartphones out there at the moment. This is a great option because you already have a great photo and video tool right in your pocket. Never underestimate the power of your phone to take great pictures. Plus, using your phone means you don’t have to spend money on a separate camera and it also means one less piece of great to worry about. Those comments aside, your iPhone is great because its waterproof, compact and easy to use. Additionally, there are so many great accessories that can help turn your phone in a photo and video machine including add-on lenses and products like the AxisGo Water Housing which we did a review on last year. Here are some general features that stand out:
12 megapixel sensor
Good Dynamic Range
Excellent slow motion capabilities 60fps in 4k or 240fps in 1080p (the autofocus does suffer)
How do I choose what’s right for me?
Now I’ve just thrown these 5 options with a lot of information at you. So, you may be asking how to I choose what is right for me? Well, I hate to be that guy, but it really depends. You should definitely factor in price, how careful you are with cameras, mirrorless vs. DSLR, what your goal is (high quality content or just something to post to the bragging board), and whether you want to focus on pictures, videos or both, to list a few. However, this article should not be your only go to when it comes to making a decision. Buying a camera is a process that should take time, research and countless hours spent reading reviews. Hopefully this article acts as another tool in your search for the camera that will help you capture some epic memories out on the water this summer.
Utah bass fishing Saratoga Springs, I was shown an urban secluded spot. Here are the details of my discovery session on this place fishing from a SUP. Included in this post is a map of the location, what to use, and the conditions to help you catch fish. The mission with this article is to provide you another place to try, and hopefully give you some ideas of what to use when exploring new water in an urban setting. Enjoy the stoke!
Come along as Matt and his Dad catch an 11 lb bass! The guys dial in the pattern as they search for the big females during the spawn. There are a lot of buck males on beds but most of the quality fish are out over offshore grass beds. The guys piece together the pattern and have fun exploring the lake after not fishing there together for more than 10 years!
The spawn is one of the best times of year to catch a new personal best. There are huge fish moving up in predictable locations and they’re willing to be caught if you’re prepared. If they move up on the beds you can target them while looking at the fish but even if they haven’t moved up you can target them by fishing just offshore over grass beds, structure, or on the adjacent secondary points.
Below is a breakdown (in no particular order) of all the gear the guys were using in today’s video…
“Down the Path” is a new podcast that follows the case of Ron Sheepstra, a fly angler who disappeared without a trace while wading the flats of Xcalak, Mexico. The podcast itself is a fascinating listen and is sure to pique the interest of any fly angler with an interest in true crime stories. We sat down with the host of the podcast, Will Rice to discuss more about the podcast and what inspired him to tell Ron’s story.
“On April 11, 2009, Ronald Scheepstra disappeared from Xcalak, Mexico.
Ron and his companions had been to this remote area on fishing trips in both 2007 and 2008 and, as avid fly anglers, had done extensive preparation and planning.
For reasons that are not completely known or understood, Ron broke away from his friends in the early afternoon that day. He reportedly climbed from the shallow water and as he began to walk down the path, called back, “You go on. I’ll be fine.”
Ron was never seen again.”
Flylords: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Will: I grew up in upstate New York and began fishing at a very young age. When I wasn’t fishing I spent time skateboarding, snowboarding and trying not to get lost in the woods. After graduating from college with a Journalism degree I immediately drove west to Colorado. I spent the next 20 years, fishing and exploring the mountains. As a freelance journalist my work has been featured in The Denver Post, The Drake Magazine, The Flyfish Journal, Fly Rod & Reel, Saltwater Fly Fishing, OutsideMagazine.com, and Angling Trade, among others.
Flylords: How did you first find out about Ron’s disappearance? What drew you to the story?
Will: I first learned about Ron’s case from a friend who had read the story in a publication called the Angling Report in the Spring of 2009. At the time I was contributing editor at the Drake Magazine and was always hunting for intriguing stories. On a short deadline, I turned around an abbreviated piece about the disappearance of Ron Scheepstra that was published in the Summer 2009 issue. Two things have drawn and held my attention about this case: (1) as I learned more about Ron I realized he was very much like myself. He loved fly fishing, he loved to travel and to explore new water. I was doing a lot of the same type of travel and exploratory trips at the time so that personally resonated with me. (2) The second thing that has always nagged at me was the complete lack of evidence that turned up during the search effort. Something happened to Ron on April 9th, 2009 but there is simply no evidence that helps us understand what happened. I’m still vexed 10 years later.
Flylords: How long have you been following and investigating the experience?
Will: After I wrote the initial story in ’09, I would check online for updates weekly or monthly for about the next year. I was pretty sure something would turn up – and that Ron would be found. After that, I’d occasionally do a Google search and read what few updates were published. If you look at the history of Ron’s case, there is a spike of information in 2009 and then it quickly dissipates. I’d read different message boards and chat room discussions for the next few years. I followed the story sporadically like this until the spring of 2018 when I contacted Ron’s wife Cindy to see if she would participate in an interview and help me with a story about Ron’s case to mark the 10 year anniversary. The project began with the goal to produce a long-form article – which was completed and published by the FlyFish Journal in April 2019.
Flylords: How many episodes will Season 1 be made up of?
Will: The goal is to produce six episodes for Down the Path Season 1.
Flylords: What has it been like producing your own podcast?
Will: First off, a TON of credit needs to go to Jason Rolfe who is the Producer and Editor of Down the Path. I’ve had quite a few people comment on the sound production and pacing of the episodes those accolades all belong to Jason. In addition to his work with Down the Path, Jason is the Editor of The Flyfish Journal, as well as the creator and host of The Fly Tapes Podcast and host of the popular flyfishing reading series “Writers on the Fly.”
As far as the creation of a podcast, the interviews, and writing of the episodes, it has been an amazing experience. It has been a lot more work than I originally anticipated and it is always a little scary creating something new for the first time. I feel at this point, based on the reaction of listeners, that the story resonates with them and they understand what I’m trying to accomplish.
The interview process with the people you hear in the podcast has been another difficult element simply based on the topic and the details of what happened to Ron. I want to thank everyone who took the time to share their recollections about this event with me. These are the people and voices who really bring Ron’s story to life, even though it is very much a sad and heartbreaking story. It is clear that this is still a raw and painful subject to almost everyone who was involved. This project would not be possible without them.
People should not just disappear—to me the story and the case feels very unresolved and unbalanced, like an equation that just doesn’t add up.
The goal of the podcast is to tell Ron’s story in a way that it has never been told before. There is a longshot possibility that someone is out there who knows something – who has not spoken up before now – and who might come forward with new information and change how this story ends.