Operation Ditch Pickle


Greetings from the sun-baked, heat-seething California Delta!

On assignment for FFJ, local Delta expert and Sage Rep John Sherman, photographer Liz Steketee, and I entered the high-octane, nitro-burning, gear-slinging world of bigtime tournament bass fishing. As they say, it’s a NASCAR world, and we’re just standing in our little aluminum jonboat flinging flies into it.

What can I say? I went in prepared to hate it, and ended up having a blast. The fishing was a ton of fun, the people were awesome, and most importantly, the fly guys didn’t get their asses completely kicked. In fact, I won’t state where we placed yet, but suffice it to say, there are a number of sad-sack gear guys currently on suicide watch for appearing lower on the scoreboard than us. Or, as I’ve been telling everyone, we won the Fly Division.

The pursuit of what some micro-midge tossing, 7X tippet tying, trout purist acquaintances refer to as “ditch pickles,” turned out to be about as much fun as you can have with a fly rod. Just to give a little taste, picture dragging a Bomber across a solid putting green of vegetation and watching the grass explode…un-frickin’-believable!

Many thanks to John for sharing the Delta 411, to Liz for putting her cameras through the fly-box melting heat and prop wash of the 30-some mega-horsepower bass boats that passed us doing 80 mph, and to FFJ for sending us to what they surely thought would be hell. Also, a shout out to Sage for loading us up with the new tournament-legal bass rods that made it possible for even this spey guy to throw big bugs into tight places. Stay tuned for the rest of the feature in FFJ #2.1.

And with that, I will leave you with this haiku:

My black fly box melts
Big bass busting bomber flies
Fish of the future

Note: Sweet pix from Liz will accompany the story in print—these are just some snapshots from my trusty point-and-shoot.


John contemplates the insanity at the starting line.


Weapons of choice–locked and loaded.


See this cool, fast, totally rigged bass boat? That’s not us.


Liz documenting while John culls a dink.


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