Thursday, October 21, 2010

Perspective - A hen in the hand...

Last week had one of those sultry days when bright fall colors and cobalt blue skies meet for a last reminder of the summers past and winters to come.

On the Fall river spawning rainbows are bewildered by the abundant late fall hatch. Massive plumes of midges, duns, and mahogany caddis fill the air carpeting the waters surface.

This is feeding time for the rivers largest trout as they fatten up for winter.

Their selectiveness is legendary.

It was into this late fall scene that I arrived with my trusty 5wt rod and some time to reflect on the past year at Shark Diver while discovering a pristine and wild river with its huge trout.

Our 2010 white shark season has been flawless.

The crew of the MV Horizon, Martin Graf, Spencer, Chef Mark and Captain Greg Grivetto have once again introduced divers from all over the planet to the rare and exciting world of the great white shark.

These guys are the premier team at Isla Guadalupe and our divers have been thrilled.

I am always impressed by shark crews who balance excitement with learning, educating divers to come away with a better understanding of the dive site and the animals we work with. We're here ultimately to create advocates for sharks and it's something dive operations manager Martin Graf excels naturally at each and every year.

I was thinking about the 2010 shark season as I watched a three pound hen in a deep feeding lane sip rust colored mayflies from the surface. She was a real looker and I decided to present my best fly to her in the hopes of a splashy surface take. She was not amused and after 7-8 drifts I knew this was going to be a longer romance.

Our film and television side was busy again this year. We just wrapped a shoot with CNN in the Bahamas last month and I am happy to say it was an A-list event. The crew we put together was one of the best I have worked with in a long while. Shooting sharks is no easy task as the shoot we put together this spring with AT and T showed us, sharks have to be in the mood first. Many thanks to Scotty and the first rate boat crew from the MV Kate.

If you're doing shark productions in the Bahamas these are the guys to go with, it's why we work with them.

Back at the Fall river I was in perfect form. The big hen I had my eye on was finally paying attention to the small rust colored caddis I was drifting past her, alternately rushing the fly and then dancing away to return to her feeding lane. It reminded me of this springs white shark adventures in New Zealand and fishing on the Oreti River with good friend Steve Blair.

That was an adventure.

Without a doubt the time I spent on New Zealand's South Island with the 12 white sharks that visited us during that two week stretch was one of the highlights of my professional career. This site is truly one of the last great white shark sites on the planet, the sharks here are not fussy, not like the hen I was trying to entice on the Fall river last week.

The take was almost anti-climatic, the hen gently sipped my fly from the surface and I almost missed the set, but set I did and she took off up stream in a screaming run that took me down to my backing. When a trout this large runs, you run, and I soon found myself stumbling over sunken logs, rock drops, and weed lines in a desperate line retrieving gallop. This old gal knew all the tricks but I have been fly fishing for the past decade so I knew a few as well.

We ended this battle as all good trout battles do with a slide into a soft net, a quick de-hook and a few admiring pictures. She was resuscitated and sent back to her gin clear home waters to continue her magnificent life.

For me, it's the closeout of 2010, the last few shark trips to Isla Guadalupe, and on to 2011 with Tiger sharks and celebrating a decade in the shark diving business. Back in 2001 when I purchased the url and built two titanic shark cages I had no idea of the ride I was strapping myself into.

Here's to new adventures and to some perspective. Time spent on the river always delivers both for me and good things always come out of it.

Patric Douglas CEO

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