Tag Archives: William Joseph

Wyoming on the Fly

There are very few opportunities to completely disengage from the day to day grind of life. Living in a wireless world allows for convenient connecting from almost anywhere at any time. Hyper-multitasking is now a requirement if you want to survive in an ultracompetitive business climate. Unfortunately, there are times when emails, voice mails and text messages become unwelcome distractions. When this feeling arises, it is time for me to fish.

Over the last five years, the end of March seems to signal my personal breaking point. The desire to escape in to a river has become a necessity if sanity is to remain a life objective. Since moving west in 2009, I make an annual journey to the North Platte River in Wyoming in order to maintain my equilibrium. The weather is always unpredictable, but the fish are big and aggressive.

Weeks before departing, I begin a ritual of unnecessary acquisitions in order to effectively prepare for the adventure. I make triplicate tackle purchases because there is a profound fear of being without the key equipment at the wrong time. While I consciously realize that most of the money I spend is unnecessary, I cannot seem to stop clicking “PayPal” after nightly “fly fishing” web searches.

The five hour drive to the river feels as though we have been teleported to Wyoming from Colorado. All available fishing reports exclaimed how prolific the action had been. We arrived just after lunch on March 26th, and quickly scrambled to get our equipment prepared for an afternoon of stalking native rainbows. After some preliminary scouting, we positioned ourselves in the tailwaters closest to the dam. Our research indicated that the fish were feeding on ample food churned up by the nightly flushes. To that point, my nymphing rig contained a purple San Juan worm as the lead fly, and a red rock worm as the trailing bait. The water was 40 degrees cold, but the air temperature was in the high 50s. A warm spring sun became visible as soon as we entered the water. This allowed us to more easily locate fish in the three to four feet of quickly moving water. Chad was the first to hook up, then Bud followed by me. The action was consistent, with 17” to 19” fish caught every fifth or sixth drift. The bows are stout in the Platte, and their strength is really felt with every inch of growth. As the sun disappeared over the horizon, a chilly 15 mph wind became more noticeable, so we ended a successful first day.

Unlike prior years, both AT&T and Verizon wireless signals were non-existent in our area, so our ability to communicate was severely marginalized. This was a unique “issue” that I actually embraced. Instead of checking voice messages, and executing web searches, we spent time talking about the events of the day over dinner. Sleeping is not an issue after a day spent on the river. A pleasant exhaustion sets in quickly after a big meal and a scotch or two.

However infrequent, when fishing becomes my sole focus, my brain becomes enveloped in the task at hand. Every movement has a purpose, and is executed with an underlying strategy in mind. While I maintain a heightened intensity, there is not the accompanied stress. I begin to appreciate the moment rather than constantly reliving the past. Mistakes are made, but do not define the gratification associated with my quest. Happiness is not derived from a monetary gain or retail purchase. Instead, my satisfaction arises from hooking and then landing a fish that I deceived.

On the third day, my friend Paul and I were fortunate to team with a great guide on a float trip down the Platte. Slade Fedore is a Wyoming native, and a master of the waters where he grew up fishing. He comes across confident, but not cocky. It does not take long to realize that he derives his satisfaction in his client’s success. To that point, he worked hard to put us on a lot of fish. Paul and I must have had twenty five double hook ups throughout the day. We were also able to witness a heard of antelope scurry from river’s edge, a bald eagle evade an angry seagull and sand hill cranes battling geese for their spot on an isolated island. We even passed two late season hunters working their GSPs on an evasive pheasant. One hundred and fifty fish later, our right arms told us to pack up and head back to town. It was a perfect Wyoming weather day so we grabbed a few Budweiser’s and a cigar. Sitting outside our cabin, we reminisced about what unfolded just hours before. Make no mistake; I will fish with Slade Fedore again.

The rivers started to fill up with anglers on Friday. The Reef attracts people from around the world, and the spring represents a great time of the year to fish. Even with a bit more pressure, plenty of big trout regularly hammered pegged eggs and rock worms. The morning produced larger fish, while the afternoon seemed to yield an infinite number of strikes.

Saturday morning was a bit somber as it meant the last morning of the trip. Inclement weather has started to move into the area, and it became cold quickly. Even so, I got up early in order to attempt to tie into a cagy North Platte monster. While I absolutely caught my share of 19” fish, the 25” bow evaded my concerted efforts.

Every spring I will travel to Wyoming in order to conduct personal therapy in the North Platte. It is cheaper than a psychiatrist, and the pictures are better. This trip is not about fishing; it is revitalization of my soul. I value every second on the water, and begin to dream about coming back as I depart.

Equipment Utilized

Comments

William Joseph Confluence Pack

Awesome pack. All critical equipment is easily accessible.

William Joseph Conduit Bag

Fantastic bag that you can pack all of your tackle in (even reels).

William Joseph Odyssey Travel Bag

Plenty of room for weeks of travel.

William Joseph Drynamic Waders

Very comfortable, accessible pockets and at a great price.

William Joseph Runoff Jacket

Perfect on a perfect day….not warm enough when the sun is not out.

Under Armour Cold Gear Compression (top & bottom)

Would not fish in the fall, winter or spring without them.

Under Armour Hitch Heavy Boot Socks

Toes were chilly in the 40 degree water, but I never had to exit the river.

Orvis River Guard Easy-On Brogue Wader Boots

Perfect wader boot. Easy on and off. Grips tightly to slippery rocks.

Simms Windstopper Hat

Windstopper technology helps, but I need a warmer lid next year.

Elkhorn T2 Reel

Have not had an issue in four years.

Brodin Ghost Series Frying Pan Net

Expensive but really nice – secure it well as you don’t want to lose it.

Orvis Mirage Fluorocarbon Tippet (3x)

Stayed strong throughout the entire trip – not one break off.

Maui Jim Seawall Sunglasses

Polarized with spring hinges for my big head – perfect.

Wyoming Fly Fishing Guide Service

HIGHLY recommend Slade Fedore ([email protected])

GoPro Hero2 – Click on the links

http://youtu.be/pCUfmC8tH3k http://youtu.be/C3F_q2pgucI

 

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One Man’s Opinion (Part 1)

I am a demanding, vociferous and loyal consumer.  If I like a product or service, I let people know about my experience.  That said, if I feel slighted or the product/service does not meet expectations, someone of merit will know what transpired.  I invest in quality, appreciate value and expect performance. 

I will use this BLOG to review my personal experiences with specific companies, products and services.

Part 1

Product or Service

Grade

Website

Comments

TaylorMade Golf

A

http://taylormadegolf.com/

I have and continue to purchase TaylorMade golf equipment.  Their products are engineered to work for all types of golfers.  Their people are friendly, helpful and passionate about their products.  If something should go wrong, they stand behind their brand in order to ensure complete customer satisfaction.  Mark King is a masterful CEO that has secured my loyalty through constant innovation and premium service.
Comcast

D

www.comcast.com

I was a Comcast Triple Play (phone, internet & cable) customer for years.  While the offering was technically stable, and the content decent, the underlying customer service was consistently horrible.  The people at Comcast just don’t get it.  When I finally ended the relationship and migrated to DirecTV, Comcast made multiple financial offers to try to save me.  Further proof that they did not understand my issues and never tried correct their mistakes when I was actually a subscriber.
Copper Mountain Ski Resort

A

www.coppercolorado.com

Organizing skiing for a family of four (with 2 young children) is challenging.  Having Kim Casey (Ski and Ride School Sales Manager) on your side makes the experience a painless one.  Kim’s personality is infectious and she works hard to ensure your time on the mountain is enjoyable. Skiing is EXPENSIVE so when you make the investment, you need positive results.  The Copper instructors are phenomenal and have done a great job teaching my boys how to ski.
Winter Park Ski Resort

B

www.winterparkresort.com

After a disappointing first experience at Winter Park, Tom Carey and his team ensured that our next trip to the mountain was an incredible one.  The terrain is varied, and the resort does not attract tourists so lines are moderate.  My kids enjoyed their instructor and we all look forward to future trips to Winter Park.
William Joseph

A

www.williamjoseph.net

I own Willy J packs, jackets, waders and tools.  Their products represent quality, durability and great functionality.  When I have technical questions, their service team responds quickly and accurately.  Willy J represents value in a pricey marketplace.
Texas Roadhouse

A

www.texasroadhouse.com

My family eats at Texas Roadhouse in Parker, CO about twice a month.  The food is good, reasonably priced and the service is great.  We recommend the ribs and fried catfish.  Get there early as the line forms quickly. 
PowerBlock

  • Elite Set

A

www.powerblock.com

I purchased the Elite Set (around $600) about 10 years ago.   The PowerBlock is my primary weight set.  The unit is perfectly engineered, extremely durable and very useful.  I have never had to contact customer service as the product is built to last.
Apple

A-

www.apple.com

I own 4 iPods, two iPhones and an iPad 2.  I despise the fact that I am dependent on Apple for my music and much of my daily information.   When my iPad and iPhone 4s went haywire weeks after I purchased the products, Apple stepped up and worked diligently to fix my equipment.  My Apple technical contact (Eli Z.) was committed to find a solution.  The Apple Store (Englewood, CO) “Geniuses” were understanding, persistent and talented.  It took 3 trips and multiple calls but my products were eventually repaired.  As an apology, Apple presented me with a gift card.
Fishpond USA

  • Open Range Tech Pack

D+

www.fishpondusa.com

My first purchase when I started fly fishing 4 years ago, was a Fishpond vest.  While the pack has tremendous functionality, the service I received from the company was poor.  I called the company to find out how to acquire additional inserts for my pack.  My first two calls/messages were ignored.  When I did get someone live, they told me to visit three fishing websites as they could not help me directly.  It took me over a month to purchase the insert.  After investing in Willy  J packs, I sold my Fishpond Open Range Tech Pack on EBay. 
Beretta USA

  • A400 Xplor Light, 12g, K/O
  • AL391 Urika 2, 12g, K/O

B

www.berettausa.com

I own two Beretta shotguns; A400 Xplor Light 12 gauge as well as a AL391 Urika 2 12 gauge (both with kick off).  In the field, these guns perform flawlessly.  I have knocked down many game birds with these guns, and they have become my only choice in the field.  *That said, when I did call Beretta with questions regarding choke tubes, their service representative was uninformed and impatient.  I wanted to purchase more product and they would not or could not guide me to the appropriate offerings.  This was a really disappointing experience given my significant investment in Beretta products.   
Canon

  • SX20 IS

C

www.usa.canon.com/

I purchased a Canon SX20 IS from Best Buy in 2011.  This was my initial attempt at moving away from a point and shoot camera.  I experienced issues with the camera from day one, and outlined them for Canon.  There only feedback was to reset the settings on the camera (did not work).  I should have returned the unit to Best Buy instead of counting on Canon to honor the warranty.  The camera has not been used in over a year.
Callaway Golf

B

www.callawaygolf.com

There is not a Callaway product in my bag any longer.  TaylorMade accounts for 13 clubs and a Scotty Cameron is my putter choice.  That said, when I have to deal with Callaway customer service in the past, they have been friendly and extremely professional.   I would not hesitate to purchase a Callaway product in the future.
Escort Radar

  • Passport S2

D-

http://www.escortradar.com/

I own five Escort radar detectors and they work great.  That said, when I called the company to order another unit (Passport S3), the sales representative was beyond rude.  Simple questions regarding the product resulted in a crass, sarcastic reply from the employee.  This went on for 5 minutes until I finally ended the conversation because I was so angry.  I have invested over $1,000 in Escort products over the years and was very disappointed in the way I was treated; considering I was calling to purchase another unit.    

 

Definitions

Grade

Definition

A

Outstanding product and service.  I would buy again.

B

Good product and/or service.  I would probably again.

C

Mediocre product and/or service.  Would consider buying again, but would evaluate alternatives in the market. 

D

Poor product and/or service.  I would not buy again.

F

Big mistake.

 

 

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When it all Comes Together

Some key descriptors of the perfect fishing vacation on the North Platte River would include:

  • Temperate weather
  • Manageable flows
  • A plethora of bug hatches
  • Plenty of big, hungry trout
  • And of course, great friends

Recently, we drove from Colorado to Wyoming with the intent of enjoying four days of intense fly fishing.  What we experienced characterizes the essence of an ideal fishing trip.  We enjoyed amazing conditions, accessible bodies of public water, millions of flying insects and an incredible number of large, actively feeding trout.   Our mornings were defined by hot woolly bugger action, while the afternoons had rising fish vigorously taking presented emergers.  Landed trout ranged in size (15” to 27”) and in species (giant rainbows and even a big few browns).  Every fisherman on the journey enjoyed over seventy five hook ups a day while landing their share of pigs.

I brought with me a variety of newly purchased equipment that I acquired based on a impulse decision not a defined need.  One of the new items procured was a William Joseph Confluence Chest Pack.  I own a variety of packs/vests and did not need to add another to the collection.  That said, I made the purchase because the product description met a variety of personal requirements.   Here is my review of the William Joseph Confluence Chest Pack.

 

Getting it Done in Wyoming - 2012
Getting it Done in Wyoming – 2012

Date Purchased

January 15, 2012

Price Paid

$129.99

Aesthetics

Attractive sage and blue; you won’t be embarrassed on the water.

Manufacturer Product Description

William Joseph Confluence Chest Pack will ensure that you get the most from your time on the water. The William Joseph Confluence Chest Pack has the new Willy J AIRTRACK™ suspension, and you will forget you are wearing anything – no matter how much gear you have managed to stuff into it. From its William Joseph tippet dispenser to its voluminous pockets, it is the most organized pack on the water.

Features as Described by the Manufacturer

  • Low profile, super strong grab handle and net loop
  • Rear pack; large enough to hold all your gear. Small enough to keep you quick and agile
  • Daisy chain lash straps for those weird loads
  • Two additional organization pockets
  • Hydration portion of the pack holds a 35 oz. bladder (not included)
  • Perforated, seamless alpine style shoulder straps.
  • Nearly perfect weight distribution and center of gravity
  • Perforated/breathable AIRTRACK Suspension for maximum airflow
  • Excess webbing slot. No more flapping straps.
  • Wide and comfortable side straps for great weight transfer
  • Dual Built in Spectra Retractors
  • Multiple accessory attachment points

Functionality

  • Comfort: I have donned vests and other packs in the past.  The Confluence is the most comfortable pack I have ever worn.  It is easy to maneuver which I value when layers have to be removed/added.  The AIRTRACK Suspension allows me to totally relax during fishing.
  • Fit: The Confluence has many adjustments that allows the user to easily modify so they can enjoy a custom fit.  The buckles are effortless to tune with the pack on or off.
  • Storage:  The Confluence has a assortment of useful pockets.  I easily store gloves, a hat, a multi-tool and all necessary terminal tackle.  I can venture far from the car without the fear I forgot anything critical to execution.
  • Access: I love the magnets and the workstation!  Getting at my flies, tippet, split shots and tools represent an easy process.  I can work quickly and effortlessly when rigging and re-rigging.  My nippers and forceps are maintained on the pack’s integrated retractors.   My net is effortlessly acquired and reconnected via a magnet cord (not included).
  • Usability: The pack works for me in every way.  It is light and completely stabilized across my shoulders.  My neck and back are never stressed.  When fighting a fish, the platform is unobtrusive, allowing me to shift my hands and rod easily.  If I want to access the rear pockets, I just unbuckle one strap and turn the unit 180 degrees.

What Would Make the Product Perfect

  • Include the bladder as it has been tough for me to purchase at the local fishing store.

Would I Buy the Product Again

  • Absolutely: I own 5 packs/vests. The Willy J Confluence is now my primary pack.

 

 

 

 

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Winter Fly Fishing – What you Need to be Successful

My favorite part of fly fishing is that in Colorado, I am able to fish year round. Growing up on the North Shore of Massachusetts, the fishing season ended in October when the striped bass migrated down the Atlantic seaboard. Fly fishing in the winter breaks up the monotony that the cold weather brings on, while providing an opportunity to catch trout experiencing minimal fishing pressure. What I have learned over the last two years is that you need to prepare effectively if you expect to execute in winter’s harsh and unpredictable weather conditions. Here are some thoughts:

  • Pack too much clothing then layer it. It is far better to have to peel off layers then to wish you had an extra layer with you.
  • Invest in performance materials and do not wear cotton. I prefer Nike Pro or Under Armor Heat Gear.
  • Bring a hat that can cover your ears. I prefer the Simms GORE-TEX® EXSTREAM™ Hat . You look a little silly but it keeps your head warm.
  • Make certain your top layer is waterproof and windproof. You do not want to get wet when there is a 30mph wind blowing.
  • Buy the right socks. You want your socks to expedite moisture wicking and provide dry performance.
  • Purchase fishing gloves. That said, once your hands get wet (landing a fish), you get cold…quickly.
  • Buy Stanley’s Ice Off Paste (or something similar) and apply it to your rod guides. Guides that constantly freeze are burdensome.
  • Utilize a fish hook holder (Ty-Rite Jr. is a good one but there are others). When your are threading 6x tippet through a #24 midge, the tool becomes invaluable.
  • Bring an extra reel. If your primary reel gets wet, the gears will freeze and it will need time to thaw out.
  • Drink a lot of water. You might not feel dehydrated in colder conditions but it happens.

Recently, I was evaluating different all-weather jackets that I could wear as a primary coat or layer it on colder days.

I purchased the Runoff by William Joseph. Here is my review on the jacket.

Criteria Thoughts
Manufacturer Description The Runoff is a meticulously tailored soft-shell which offers a level of movement that you will not find in other jackets. Articulated elbows with a micro fleece liner allow you to cast all day in absolute comfort. Roomy pockets and adjustable cuffs at a unbelievable price.

  • Micro fleece liner
  • Zipper chin guard
  • DWR coated fabric
Price $99.95
Comfort I wear a 42L-44 jacket size (depending on the manufacturer). I ordered a size large Runoff and it fits perfectly. Roomy in the shoulders, but form fitting through the torso, the Runoff just feels very comfortable once it is on. It can be used as your primary jacket on warmer winter days (above 40 degrees for me) or as a layer on colder days.
Looks The Runoff is a good looking jacket. It comes in a charcoal color, and is highlighted with the William Joseph logo (which is cool looking). I will wear the jacket during other outdoor activities besides fishing.
Functionality (Windproof, Breathable, Waterproof) The Runoff definitely protects you from harsh winds. It was blowing 15mph regularly while we were fishing and I could not feel the draft on my chest. When the temperature dropped to 24 degrees, I had to put on another layer. I did not experience any sweating or unwelcomed body moisture. There are three pockets and I was easily able to store my fly box in the chest pocket. Because there was no rain (and only light snow), I have yet to test the coat’s water resistant feature.
Would I Buy it Again? Absolutely. After extensive research, I am not sure there is a better jacket for the money?

Continue reading Winter Fly Fishing – What you Need to be Successful

Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack or William Joseph Access Chest Pack

As a relatively new fly fisherman, I have come to appreciate the importance of having the right equipment available to me at the right time.  There are many variables that can dictate your success or failure during your time on the water.  A fisherman must adapt to uncontrollable and challenging conditions that include but are not limited to the weather, the hatch and the water temperature.  Beyond the rod, reel, line, leader, tippet and fly, there is additional gear that can help a fisherman (or woman) achieve success.    

After initially purchasing a basic fly vest from Cabela’s, I quickly realized that a more technical pack would remove some of the complexity and effort related to the sport of fly fishing.   I first purchased the Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack, then acquired the William Joseph Access Chest Pack for fishing during the warmer months. 

Here is what I think:

  Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack William Joseph Access Chest Pack
Price $139.00 $69.00
Product Description Lightweight with versatility and expandability. Adjusts to fit all weather conditions. Zip-down fly benches have mesh expansion pockets for tippet spools. Large mesh back pocket with additional horizontal zippered pocket for stowing extra gear.

  • “One-size-fits-most” adjustable shoulder and waist strap design
  • Signature, zip down fly bench with replaceable foam
  • Lightweight, waterproof and breathable fabric
  • 17 exterior and interior pockets
  • Mesh backing for ventilation and warm weather comfort
  • Vertical chest pockets hold large and medium boxes
  • Mesh pockets on fly bench for tippet spools
  • Gear attachment tabs, cord loops, and D-ring net lash
  • Hemostat keeper
William Joseph’s Access Pack is ideal when packing light for a fishing trip to a remote creek is more important than packing every single piece of tackle you own. The Access Pack’s compact design offers a surprising amount of storage space, and it’s outfitted with a built-in retractor, zip-down workstation and tippet control system. The lightweight, less is more design of the Access Pack ensures easy access to accessories and comfortable fishing.

  • A built-in retractor and zip down workstation
  • Docks to the William Joseph Drifter and the Exodus Backpacks
  • Loads of pockets, dividers and compartments to keep even the biggest gadget-junkie organized
  • New TCS (Tippet Control System), keeps your tippet organized and neatly tucked out of the way
  • Fully adjustable for a “one-size-fits-most” pack
Durability The Gore Range Tech Pack is built to last.  Zippers and stitching are high quality. I have worn this vest under extreme weather conditions, and it has performed well.  I will update this blog in 12 months and tell you how the product has held up. The Access Chest Pack is light but solid in construction.  Zippers and stitching are high quality.  I will update this blog in 12 months, and tell you how the product has held up.
Functionality The Gore Range Tech Pack has a lot of pockets and access points.  Truthfully there are so many choices, I end up forgetting what I have put in each pocket.  The zip down fly bench is fantastic.  I am able to easily get at flies without fumbling  through pockets looking for the right fly box.  Unfortunately, the 360 degree swivel retractors comes separately (and are expensive – $18.00 per unit).   The Access Chest Pack is simple yet so efficient.  The pockets are accessible and easy to utilize.   Just like with the Gore Range Tech Pack, the workstation is a wonderful convenience that has allowed me to remove the fly box from my arsenal.  The Tippet Control system is my favorite feature as it saves me time and energy when changing rigs.  It would be helpful if William Joseph adds one more built-in retractor to this pack in the future. 
Fit Very comfortable (I am 6 foot, 190 pounds).  Easily adjusted and very comfortable (I am 6 foot, 190 pounds). 
Customer Service Months back, I needed to purchase additional foam inserts for the fly bench (they are replaceable and attach via Velcro).  I phoned the store where I purchased the vest and they could not help me.  I emailed Fishpond and they never got back to me.  I called Fishpond and they recommended I call some stores that carry their product.  After calling three Fishpond merchants, one eventually took my order and mailed me the inserts six weeks later.  Truthfully, not a great  customer experience.  Recently, I needed to purchase additional foam inserts for the Access workstation (they are replaceable and attach via Velcro).  I emailed the company, and got a personal response in less than 24 hours.  The product was mailed to me within days my inquiry.  Kind of makes me want to buy more William Joseph products in the future. 
Would I Buy it Again Probably.  The Gore Range Tech Pack is a quality technical vest that any fly fisherman would appreciate.  Yes.  The Access Chest Pack gives me everything I need to be successful at a good price point.  I consider the Access Chest Pack to be a better overall value. 

 

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