Painting with the Copic Airbrush System

Fire Popper - Painting wit the Copic Airbrush System & Markers

Fire Popper – Painted with the Copic Airbrush System & Markers

Brendan has a video tutorial up on the Copic Marker BlogClick here to check out the tutorial – it’s all about a simple way to airbrush his Fire Popper and common techniques used when airbrushing with the Copic Airbrush System and Copic Markers.

Also for those of you heading to ICast 2014 in Orlando Florida (July 15-18) stop by the Copic Marker booth and check out the hand painted custom popper display by Brendan! His poppers will be on display at the Copic booth for the weekend,




Year end thoughts…

I always find the end of a year to be bittersweet. I am excited for what’s to come next but also can’t help thinking back to what I accomplished this past year, all the memories we’ve created, the fish I caught and lost. A year end means time for recollection, for reevaluating, for remembering – at least that’s how I have always viewed it. There is no question that as you get older time seems to slip by faster, I am sure that comment will make a few of you laugh because I am still “so young.” Despite being the great age of 26 I find that as each day goes by I have a desire to challenge myself more and achieve more in my life. That could be in regards to my personal life or my fly fishing life, tho neither are that far apart from each other.

Sunset on the Bow River. May 2013.

Sunset on the Bow River. May 2013.

2013 was no question one of my best “fishy” years, though it had it’s frustrations. I am so lucky to be in a relationship with someone who is equally obsessed with spending time on the water, being with Brendan for these past 5 years has no doubt broadened my perspective on life and made me a better person. He is the one person who is there for it all, for all my good moments and bad ones. For that very large bonefish opportunity I screwed up so well this year to helping our friend Ryan double net my biggest pike to date. Luckily I also get to witness similar experiences with him on the river, and it has taught us both a lot about each other.

I have a lot of favorite moments from 2013, moments where I can recall the exact sequence of events. Despite the fish we have caught or the places we have been this year, I would really have to say one of my favorite times from 2013  was on a weekend in late August. Brendan, Vichy, Rico and I had just finished a long day of hiking our favorite mountain rivers – catching cutthroat trout on big chunky hoppers. We were navigating what felt like new water after the river was forever changed by the devastating Southern Alberta floods in June, finding new holes and riffles. After a successful day on the water we had returned to our camp at what used to be a very popular campground. As the sun set and we built a fire we began to notice that we were the only people in the entire campground. We sat around the fire and made a huge feast for the 3 of us while Rico attempted to beg for leftovers, surrounded by complete silence and the sparkling night sky. There was no moon and the blackness around us was surreal. I am not sure why that weekend is so memorable for me, there was just something about that night – sitting around the warmth of a fire with 2 of my best friends after a great day of fishing. Those summer nights are something I live for, something I am so thankful I get to experience, something that I owe to fly fishing.

A cutthroat heading back to safety...

A cutthroat heading back to safety…

A favorite photo from this year of a small creek bully...

A favorite photo from this year of a small creek bully…

We have set big goals for ourselves in the next year and have already planned out some new trips to add under our belt. I can’t wait to continue this next chapter and I am glad I continually get to experience this life with so many wonderful people. I truly am lucky.

Happy holidays friends...

Happy holidays friends…

Now it’s time to finish wrapping up gifts and start getting ready for some quality time with my closest friends and family. I wish you all a very Happy Holiday and the best in 2014, thank you for your continued support and for reading my blog, I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate it.

Returning to Paradise

Brendan navigating a flat on the east side of Oahu...

Brendan navigating a flat on the east side of Oahu…

The first time Brendan and I traveled to Oahu together was last December. We were staying on Maui and only had two days to hop an island flight over to Oahu to fish with Duffer. The weather was just not in our favor, crazy winds and pouring rain… but you get bad weather it’s just the way fishing is sometimes. That being said, though no fish were landed I managed to hook into a big bonefish at the very end of the day and that insane take and short fight before he spit the hook was enough to have Brendan and I planning our next trip to Hawaii. This time spending 2 weeks on Oahu.

Finally October 8th came and after months of planning and prep we were on our way to Hawaii. Oahu is a beautiful island, especially if you get away from the tourist hustle and bustle of Honolulu/Waikiki and take some time to explore the east and north side of the island. The drive on the Kamehameha Hwy has to be one of the most beautiful drives I have ever been on in my life. We spent a lot of time fishing with Coach Duff, he has become a good friend of ours over the last year. Not only did he get us into some awesome bonefish but the laughs we had and stories shared over the time on and off the water were just awesome. Meeting people like that while on vacation can make it so much more enjoyable.

As for the fishing, there is no doubt that the bonefish of Hawaii are big. Not just big, like abnormally big. And when they eat your fly, the take is so viscous all you can think of when it happens is A. DONT TROUT SET and B. Hold on. Brendan’s second bonefish was about 9lbs and the run it gave him was one neither of us will forget… getting half way through his backing on the first run and then just when Brendan almost had his backing fully back on the reel the thing ran again. So what do you do when you run out of line? Thankfully after chasing the thing around for a bit in order to keep some line on the reel, Brendan had him in his hands. It’s fights like that which make you want to return to these places, which make months of budgeting and planning worth all of it. It’s a game changer and something that will forever be burned in your memory.

Brendan exploring on the first day through some Hawaiian mangroves...

Brendan exploring on the first day through some Hawaiian mangroves…

Duffer of CoachDuff Hawaiian Bone Fishing proudly hoisting our 6.5lb bonefish..

Duffer of CoachDuff Hawaiian Bone Fishing proudly hoisting our 6.5lb bonefish.. (Photo by Brendan)

The fishing is tough, there is no doubt. The bonefish aren’t stupid and that’s just fly fishing. You have to be patient and you have to be understanding… the latter proved a little difficult for me on the second last day. I was rejected by a particularly large bone fish.. saw his wake coming to my left only about 20 ft away from me (yes “wake”.. like I figured this was a either a bunch of mullet or a very very large bone) and then I saw him tail. The whole time thinking “holy s**t this is your chance, Amber. Don’t screw it up again. He’s a little close just don’t spook him” I put in a perfect cast 10ft in front of the general direction I thought he was heading (it was probably my only spot on cast of the whole freaking trip) and start lightly stripping in my big spam and eggs. The fish keys in on the fly and chases it. “Is this really happening?” I can see him clear as day and as it looks like he is about to tip on the fly and eat it, “OMG this is it!”... wrong…the jerk looks up and sees this curly haired girl in pink shorts and takes off. AWESOME. Great. Cool. Rejected, just like that. I can’t believe he looked up! The one point in my fly fishing career where I have thought “Maybe I should quit salt water fly fishing.” That thought quickly passed though as I decided that this rejection clearly means I need to come back! That’s the much more logical choice, obviously.

A closer look at Brendans 9lb bonefish...

A closer look at Brendans 9lb bonefish…

But either way you look at it the trip was a success. We both got bonefish, we both hooked into trevally and I even got myself a Red Devil and my first Largemouth Bass.

Now we sit at home, adjusting to life here in chilly Calgary, realizing winter is only beginning and no other trips are really planned at this point. The fishing season here has basically come to an end and until we reach warmer days, I can just look back at these photos and hope we can return to Oahu again soon.

It’s going to be a long winter…

Thanks for reading,

Amber

Last Days of Summer

Summer choices...

Summer choices…

It’s hard to believe we have entered the first week of September already. This month is always bittersweet for me, I love the changing colors and smells of the season but with that comes colder mornings and the reminder that snow covered grounds are just around the corner. So now is the time to get outside and enjoy these last days of summer, these last days of warmth. We have been doing just that these past few weekends. Spending time on new and old waters, sunrise to sunset. Even on the fish-less days, I love just wandering around the beautiful tree lined rivers and creeks in this province. Below are a few photos I have taken in the last couple of weeks…

Brendan fighting a feisty trout into the sunset...

Brendan fighting a feisty trout into the sunset…

Small brook trout tail...

Small brook trout tail…

Rico and Vichy waiting for the next rise...

Rico and Vichy waiting for the next rise…

Brendan's hopper eating brown...

Brendan’s hopper eating brown…

Rico meeting a nice little Southern Alberta Rainbow Trout. Photo by Brendan

Rico meeting a nice little Southern Alberta Rainbow Trout. Photo by Brendan

Meeting new friends while discovering new waters...

Meeting new friends while discovering new waters…

A little early August Bull Trout. Photo by Brendan...

A little early August Bull Trout. Photo by Brendan…

Another summer come and gone, another great one full of many memories and fishy stories. Now Brendan and I begin our prep for our next salt water trek which is only one month away. Time to begin filling up the salt boxes.

As always, thank you for reading…

August Long Bull’s

It’s been a while since the last post – not for lack of content, just lack of time. Every weekend has been spent camping/fishing, it’s why I love summer. As expected I spend less time on the computer in the evenings… Sitting in an office all day is torture enough.

I was happy to have a long weekend and was looking forward to spending lots of time on the water. Unfortunately this summer has been a very wet one, definitely not what Southern Alberta needs after the great floods this year. Had some heavy rain on Friday and was disappointed when we arrived at one of my favorite mountain rivers to find out it was worse than the color of chocolate milk. Pretty much impossible to cross safely and after Brendan and I’s little accident on our WaterMaster a few weeks ago in a turbulent section of water, I am a little nervous to cross anything if I can’t see where my feet are going. That being said over the three day weekend we were able to find some areas that didn’t require crossing and though they were murky they did produce some great fish.

Below are a few snaps from a weekend spent hiking mountains and finding big August Long bullies.

Brendans double bunny eating Bull Trout from the weekend...

Brendans double bunny eating Bull Trout from the weekend…

Bully face

Bully face

So many of these guys around this weekend...

So many of these guys around this weekend…

Found so many mushrooms while hiking to the next fishing spot, unfortunately these ones aren't edible...

Found so many mushrooms while hiking to the next fishing spot, unfortunately these ones aren’t edible…

Matty with a big ole bully from the murky waters...

Matty with a big ole bully from the murky waters…

When one meal isn't good enough...

When one meal isn’t good enough…

A Weekend of Firsts

M. hiking by the creek...

M. hiking by the creek…

I had the joy of watching Brendan’s son experience his first camping trip this past weekend. Little M is out here visiting us for a couple of weeks, it’s nice to have him here in our home for a change. Usually we make trips out east, last year we took him to Disney World for a couple weeks in the summer. So it’s been nice to have him running around our home and becoming best buddies with the cats – especially Kitten. On Friday we headed to one of our favorite spots to camp and fish for the weekend. It’s been interesting to see the change in the rivers after the horrible flood that hit Southern AB hard a few weeks ago. I can’t believe the debris and new log jams throughout some of our favorite spots. Happy to see some rising fish though.

Brendan’s little guy has never been camping so with that came the firsts of roasting hot dogs / marshmallows on the fire, catching cutthroat and rainbow trout on the fly and sleeping in a tent outside. Not only was Little M an expert hiker but he caught on to fly fishing quite well. We had way too much fun. I can’t wait to go again this weekend before he heads back home out east.

Below are a few snaps I took of the father and son duo on some of our many adventures riverside.

His Turn!

Learning to roast some marshmallows…

Yum!

Yum!

Brendan teaching M. how to cast...

Brendan teaching M. how to cast…

Little Rainbows eating foam ants...

Little Rainbows eating foam ants…

Little M. reached the top of the hill!...

Little M. reached the top of the hill!…

M. fishing his first fish on the fly...

M. reeling in his first fish on the fly…

Little M. holding his first cutthroat trout (with Dad's help)...

Little M. holding his first cutthroat trout (with Dad’s help)…

He's learning quickly...

He’s learning quickly…

A proud Little M. showing off his rainbow trout...

A proud Little M. showing off his rainbow trout…

Releasing his catch...

Releasing his catch…

Getting kids on to the water and seeing their smiles when they hold some of their first catches is beyond priceless. Memories that will definitely last a life time…

Silver Bullet

Happy to tie on some caddis and look for snouts...

Happy to tie on some caddis and look for snouts…

Last Tuesday evening Brendan and I headed out to the river in hopes of finally having the opportunity to consistently fish dry flies. Once we hit the river there was no question fish were rising, finally we were seeing them come up more than once and we knew it was going to be a good night…

Brendan with his eye on a rising rainbow trout...

Brendan with his eye on a rising rainbow trout…

Brendan bringing in his fish...

Now with a fish on…

Brendan netting his rainbow...

To the net…

Great colours on this trout Brendan caught...

A nice little Bow River silver bullet.

Close up of this little beauty...

Close up of this little beauty…

Things were looking up, the river was starting to look good and the fish were eating off the surface. Unfortunately as most of you know this all changed a couple days after these photos were taken. Last Thursday Calgary and Southern Alberta were devastated by a massive flood. This flood will drastically change the layout of the rivers in the city and it will take a while for things to get back to some sort of normalcy. Until then we continue to help our community and friends as everyone works to rebuild…