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Permit Destinations
New Winston LTX Series Rods 
The Local Scene
Fly Tying
New Sage Spey Rods
Sandy Watershed


 Belize

PERMIT: THE GOLDEN FLEECE
(A two part series by Mark Bachmann)
A  bronze-rimmed, fluffy cloud hangs low on the horizon.  It masks the face of the late afternoon fire-ball sun.  Long, narrow shafts of sterling sunlight slash across the sky.  The soft warm air cools slightly.  The faintest zephyr turns the surface of the coastal lagoon to hammered gold.  

We are surrounded by huge lush jade green mangroves.   The trim white and aqua skiff glides slowly in the silent panorama; sliding with its gilded reflection across the shallow water.  Only the soft swish of Derrick's push pole breaks the primordial silence.  The scent of mangrove roots and salt marsh permeates the air with soft, wet musk.  All is held in the inverted bowl of a slowly darkening turquoise sky.  Silver, gold, bronze, turquoise and jade......we are time travelers afloat in a land known well by 

Sunset...Belize

the ancient Maya.  Jim, Patty and I have returned to southern Belize for our second trip.  We are searching for Permit.  Permit are beautiful, incredibly alert, cautious fish that inhabit many shallow waters ringing the Caribbean Sea.  They have long been the "Golden Fleece" for salt water fly anglers and have a reputation for being one of the most difficult shallow water fish to take with a fly.  We are half way through our second ten day trip to Belize and although we have fished with a number of different guides 

Beeg Permit Mon...

and cast to dozens, only Patty has even hooked a Permit, which quickly broke her off.  We are becoming intimidated.  The pressure is on.  We have hired Derrick Muschamp to guide us.  We believe he is our best prospect for catching permit.  I had brought a sizable fly tying kit with me.  The night we arrived in Placencia, I asked Derrick what he thought the perfect permit fly would look like?   His reply was, “It would ook like a crab. 

A Permit in the hand...

You need two different ones.  One is brownish gray, about the size of a nickel.  The other is dark olive green, about the size of a dime.  Tie them so that they sink fast.  If they are weedless that would be good.”  For several nights I stayed up late and managed to come up with a pattern.  First I fashioned several Mustad stainless steel hooks into keel fly hooks.  Then I wrapped the shanks with heavy lead wire.  Next I cut several rubber bands and dotted them with a felt marker.  These were secured to the side of the hook shank, over the lead wire.  They looked like legs and claws.  Alternating bundles of natural and dyed brown deer hair were tied on next and trimmed to match the shape of a crab carapace.  The body fit inside of the bend of the 

Crab in the mouth... 

hook so that the hook would ride with the point on top of the fly.  When I showed the flies to Derrick he said simply, “Mmmm, nice job.  I know a place where these will work.  I take you there.”

On this day he has brought us to this huge lagoon by way of hidden channels.  We have traveled several miles from the coast through a maze of mangrove swamps.  It is one of his secret spots.  He assures us that no one has fished here for months.  This and other inter-connecting salt water lakes cover thousands of acres and are protected from the prevailing Caribbean wind.  Subject to tidal influence, the currents are very soft as is the bottom, which is composed of brown silts which have collected here for thousands of years.  Mostly hidden from the eye, life teems in this warm, shallow, nutrient rich water.  Tiny crabs and shrimp burrow into the bottom ooze and hide from patrolling Permit, Bonefish and Jack Craval.

Hundreds of yards in front of the boat, a sparsely vegetated peninsula protrudes from the shore, forming a wind shadow in a tiny bay.  In the bay something moves....the apparition of a fish or an errant wave breaking gently on a shallow bar?  Minutes pass.....we silently strain to see in the distant glare.  Derrick speaks softly and points, "Permit...one hundred yards...eleven o'clock...just beyond that little mangrove point...he's turning left, coming out of that bay".  Standing high on the bow platform with rod firmly in hand, something deep inside me says, "Yes, I know!"  The springs inside my muscles tightened and the pain is gone from my sun baked eyes.

Derrick poles the boat steadily closer.  We are still fifty yards away from the peninsula when a long thin black dorsal fin appears as the fish feeds erratically along the edge of the wind shadow.  Suddenly, there is a huge boil and the Permit bolts for deeper water.  Even though we are still far away, I think he has seen us.  Derrick's soft quiet voice consoles me.  "Mmm...Somethin' spooked that Permit, Mon.  But it couldn't have been us.  We are too far away."

Moments later the Permit reappears twenty yards in front of the boat, his wake turning toward us.  He comes at us so fast, I barely have enough time to false cast enough line to load the ten weight rod.  The fly lands four feet directly in front of the fish.  Allowing several seconds for the fly to sink to the bottom, Derrick shouts, "Strip, strip".  I move the line with two quick four inch strips.  The fish accelerates and inhales the fly.  I pull in the slack and the line tightens.  I yank, but feel nothing and pull the fly away from the fish as he charges about looking for it and then cruises past the boat, beyond our reach.

To be continue in the 10/30/00 "Insider"              More about Belize                           To Top    

DO YOU LIKE TO SAVE MONEY?  
CHECK OUT THESE BARGAINS

**

A new design from Winston.  The LTX will be the rod of choice for anglers who prefer faster action rods.  You will be surprised with the way these new LTX rods combine very high line speed with a smooth feel.  Using LT Technology and engineering from the popular BL5 and XTR Series, Winston has created a fast action rod series with soul. For more info click here.


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Placencia Mud Crab
Hook: Mustad 34007, #1/0 - reformed to keel fly 
           configuration
Thread: brown 3/0 Uni thread
Weight: Medium lead eyes attached to center of hook
Legs: Rubber bands striped with black felt marker
Hind Legs: Pear Krystal Flash and brown deer hair
                    tips
Carapace: Bunches of brown and natural deer hair 
                    Clipped into a flat oval shape
Click here if you want to buy some.

Are you going abroad this winter?  
Don't forget, we have a huge selection of Saltwater Flies.
  
                                  To Top

The Local Scene

The Deschutes River
The Deschutes River
water flow is stable and good temperature.  Prolific mid-day may fly hatches have brought Redsides to the surface in good numbers during cloud cover days.  Some days we have hit some big Redsides as well as Bull Trout while fishing leaches for steelhead during the bright light times.   Steelhead are distributed throughout the lower 100 miles.  Some are getting dark and assuming trout-like attitudes taking small nymphs dead-drifted along the bottom.  Bright fish are still entering the river.  This time of year is interesting as some fish have been in the river since June and others came in the river yesterday.  Their color and body confirmation varies widely. 
Check out these pictures.

Most popular Deschutes steelhead flies this year are: Fly de Jour, Buddler, Joe Girt & Black Stallion.  (All in stock).  

If you would like to read a  detailed Deschutes River Fishing Report, click here.                To Top


Crooked River
Water flows are stable and the water has enough color to give the fish a sense of security. 
Most fish are 9" to 13" with a few fish to 19".  Most days its nymphs morning and mid-day and dry flies in the afternoon and evening. 
Flies: Elk Hair Caddis; Blue Winged Olives; Comparaduns, Scuds; Woolly Bugger, B.H. Pheasant Tail, Serendipities and Soft Hackles.                                            
To Top

Sandy,  Clackamas Rivers and Eagle Creek
Phenomenal Coho runs are the big deal in both watersheds.  There are also Fall Chinook to be had.  Recent heavy rains and resulting fall floods are bringing new fish every day.  The water is dropping fast.  Be on the lookout for very bright early winter steelhead.  These fish will take flies and the rivers are still small enough to be easy to cover with a fly rod.  The big crowds are starting to dissipate.  There are many dark fish in all rivers but there are also bright fish of all species.  Be there early in the morning or late in the evening for the best results. Rabbit strip and marabou flies in purple, black, orange and chartreuse have been the best producers.                   To Top

Fly Fishers Winter Months Round Tables feature Alec Jackson, Steve Gobin, Randy Sholes & Derek Fergus.
Be sure to mark your calendar.  Click here for dates.


****

Sage has re-designed their line of SPEY RODS for 2001.  They have incorporated the newest materials, Graphite IV and Graphite IIIe.  The old Sage 9140-4 had been my favorite spey rod for the last five years.  There was a bit of apprehension when I heard that Sage had "improved" what I considered the perfect stick.  I got a chance to field test the new Sage 9140-4 spey rod a couple of weeks ago.  Took it to the Deschutes and landed a nine pound wild hen in the first half hour.  Then spent the next morning long casting with a heavy sinking tip line rather than fishing.  These are my conclusions:  The new rod balances as well as the old one.  It is very forgiving to cast.   The new rod throws a longer line in all situations.  It has a full length action and is a marvelous tool for playing a fish.  How Sage was able to build in so much casting power but allow this power to melt away while playing a fish defies description.  I liked the handle and guide configuration on the old rod better, but found the new rod very enjoyable in every respect.  MB
My customer who bought this rod writes: "I really like the new 9140-4, I will be keeping it.  I can cast it further than the old 9140-4.  
Not only does it have more power but it just feels better", Dave.
These new rods are just becoming available and will be on-line in our catalog soon.  
If you need one, please call.  
We've got the custom lines to make your new rod rock & roll.
Next week an assessment of the new 9150-4 Spey.


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Sandy River Fishery Information Bank

Daily Fishing Report

Watershed Over-view
Sandy River Book
Biology Etc. 
Watershed Council Web Site


If you would like to read past "Insiders", click Archives

Your commentary is always welcome.  Drop us a line: flyfish@teleport.com 

BACK TO HOME.  The Fly Fishing Shop, Welches, OR

1(800) 266-3971

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark Bachmann & Patty Barnes

All photos by Mark Bachmann & Patty Barnes.  All rights reserved.

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