Saturday, May 28, 2011

I'm Addicted & I Just Can't Get Enough

I think about it every night and day, I'm addicted and I just can't get enough. First there were the trout streams of my youth and the wild gorgeous browns that inhabited those rich free stone streams. I just couldn't get enough. Then came carp who quickly put to shame the small bend those trout put in my fly rod. They blitzkrieged across ponds, lakes, canals, and streams intent on seeing my backing. Their golden scales reflected the sun like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. I just couldn't get enough. Crashing into this scene came the three holy grail species found on the exotic flats of the caribbean: bones, permit, and tarpon. Tarpon unleash their fury upon the hook set and cartwheel and tail walk across the water before digging deep and fighting like a giant log attached to a jet back. The bones closely mirror the carp from home but inhabit the exact opposite in water clarity, which actually makes them quite easier. On the other hand, you have permit, which are an entirely different ball game. The first time I saw the sickle like tail of a permit break the surface, I was a goner. They beckon you to go after them and then they flip you that tail before saying goodbye for good. I just couldn't get enough. My latest obsession seemingly is found throughout the entire US in backwood ponds, lakes, rivers, and bays. The largemouth bass. I currently enjoy tossing top water into structure and shade popping and pausing until the explosion occurs. I'm addicted and I just can't get enough. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Fly Fishing Nation

This River Is Wild was started in 2008 as a way for the three of us to chronicle our days on the water, store the history of our fish tales, and share them with anyone who cared to read along.  Since then, we’ve caught more than our fair share and have been thrilled that we’ve grown a small following of readers who see life and fly fishing in the same ways that we do. Hopefully, we’ve strengthened our readers’ appreciation for being a part of the game.  In the future, we aim to continue to do what we’ve always tried to do: tell ripping yarns of fish seen, cast to, hooked, lost or landed in some of the most gorgeous spots on Earth.  

After a chance encounter on the water in late 2009, an instant friendship was forged with some like-minded individuals.  And today, we could not be more pumped to announce that that friendship has grown into a partnership with Fly Fishing Nation. FFN is a worldwide syndicate of fly anglers who share a passion bordering on madness.  Mainly representing Europe and South America, we’re proud to bring some American flavor to their ranks and to say that we are looking forward to representing the Nation would be an understatement.

Our thanks goes out to Stephan Gian Dombaj, the founder of the Nation and an insanely talented fly fisherman, as well as members Stefan and Alex Haider, who we first met that day in 2009. Joining forces will open quite a few doors for us.  We could not be more excited to see where they lead.  We hope those who’ve been with us since the beginning will continue to come along for the ride.

-Matt, Mark, and Adam.

All Images By Stephan G. Dombaj (C) Fly Fishing Nation

Check out the nation @

Monday, May 23, 2011

Three is Company

The majority of my time spent fishing is usually by myself. Once high school ended, Adam and I went our separate ways only reconvening on select weekends, holidays, and summer vacations. A few years ago, my brother took a job in the international teaching circuit and now resides in the Caribbean. So, for the past few years I wandered local waters alone. My life consisted of catching fish in the solitude of woods, figuring out creative ways to take wrist shots of fish. I quickly ran out of ideas. 

Recently, the page has been turning and I find myself with several new friends in the immediate vicinity. Like minded, they are willing to put aside life and hit the water every chance they get. This kinship is also paying dividends as new water is opened, secrets are shared, and everyone benefits from the free trade. In the past few weeks fish have been caught, stories have been told, and many a drink has been had. Such is the lure of fly fishing. You can choose to revel in solitude and your thoughts, or open the door to a new angler and share your experiences on the water.

Derek & Ben Contemplating Technique.

Moments Before A Big Bow Says No & Splits Town.

Signs of Spring.

Derek, Freshly Addicted, Breaks in a New Rod.

A Caddis is Quickly Becoming His Go To.

He Likes His Brown Trout.

A Nice Bow Breaks The Surface.

 The 2 Weight is in Half.

Dinner is Served.

A Football Brown & The Stale Wrist Shot.

Slightly Doctored Stocker Brook Trout.

Big Bows.

Beat Up Browns.

Have You Seen My Fins?

A Heavily Spotted Finding Nemo Brown Trout At Dusk.

Ben Gets His.

Three is Company.

Friday, May 20, 2011


After a successful first outing for tarpon in the front yard, we headed back out three nights later for another crack at them.

The wind was howling. As we approached the hole, we could see something weird floating in the water just off of the rocky shoreline. When we got within range, we realized it was the fronds of a palm tree. The whipping winds had snapped a 30ft palm tree off at the base, dumping it smack into the middle of the most reliable spot for tarpon the entire island! My best efforts could not budge the tree, the wood was more dense than water and was sunken and wedged into the bottom rocks by the motion of the sea.

The fish, however, were still there. Our eyes would catch the glint of moonlight and streetlight off of their scales when they rolled or went broadside. Their eyes burned ember-bright beneath the rolling surface.

Tom had on the same fly that produced earlier in the week. A long, skinny, black tarpon bunny. He waded into position and prepared himself.

I walked downshore, peering into the blackness for a daisy chain of those ember eyes. Before I made a spot, I heard a whoop from Tom and turned to see a leaping fish and Tom hard fast into the strip set.

All by his lonesome, he spotted, presented to and solidly hooked a good fish. I made my way back as the fish continually cartwheeled through the air. I could hear Tom's knuckles thwacking against the reel handle as the fish burned off more line. The tug of war settled down into a match that Tom was winning. Soon, the fish was within the range of the street lights.

I grabbed the leader twice, each time resulting in a freak out and cartwheel from the 30lb fish at an arm's length. Soon, I had it lipped.

Transferring the lipped fish to Tom proved almost impossible. The fish was still pretty green and at one point, a wave knocked Tom backwards onto his ass. He somehow managed to hold on to the fish with one hand as the fish thrashed and the waves bashed. I thought the fish would be lost before we could take a picture but somehow he held on.

Tom posed for some pictures and then made sure the fish was fit for release. He sent it off into the underwater night, satisfied with is record of 2-0-0 (landed fish, jumped fish, eats) versus the silver king. Not too shabby.

We contemplated the wind and the next day's plans. We were to head to bonefish mecca: a flat, coral atoll. Forecast was calling for 40kph gusts, 2-3 meter seas and 90% cloud cover. It would be, however, Tom's best shot at some flats action. There really was no question. We had to give it a shot.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fishing Dogs

"If by "good fishing dog," you mean he chews on rod handles, jumps in the water to get fish, occasionally runs away downstream, and always gets forgiven, then yes, he's a great fishing dog" -Tom Bie

One Wet & Happy Dog in the Front Seat...