Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Monkey off the back

Anyone who has spent much time swinging flies for winter steelhead knows it can take a lot of patience and dedication to find a fish.  Well after 3 years and a handful of trips out west, and more than a few un-rewarded casts, my good friend Shawn finally landed his first winter steelhead this weekend and a chrome bright native buck at that. Here's to getting that monkey off your back!


Friday, December 6, 2013

"Day on the River" bamboo rods, hand made reels and icy guides...

A bit last minute, but.... For any anglers in WA who feel like getting out in the bitter cold this sat morning (Dec. 7) I wanted to everyone know that Tim Gelinas from Farlex reels, James Reid of JM Reid Bamboo Rod Co., and myself will all be down on the Snoqualmie River casting clinic graciously hosted on by Aaron "Speybum" Reimer from River Run Anglers. There will be a selection bamboo rods and hand made reels on hand to demo in addition to the excellent FREE casting lessons provided by the crew from River Run.

The "day on the river" informal gathering runs from 9-12 noon every Saturday am under the bridge in Fall City and has been running for many, many years now. Info and directions can be found on River Run Anglers web page (directions are on the Contact page)

I know it will be cold out... but it is a chance to see and demo some interesting tackle that you just can't find in your local shops, meet a few fellow local anglers and brush up on your casting ..... all while freezing your.... well, you know what off.

Grab a coffee and some mittens and drop by.

James and Mark

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Saying Thanks part 2 - Happy Birthday Rudy!

Last December I posted a story about a very cool project I was fortunate enough to work on with my good friend Shawn Bratt. (See: Saying Thanks). Shawn is the kind of guy who takes nothing for granted and always gives more than he takes.

Shawn has recently finished hand building the bamboo presentation rod that would be the centerpiece of a gift to his father, celebrating his 65th birthday. But more than that, it was a way for Shawn to say "Thanks" to his old man for teaching him how to fly fish and passing on something that would come to define not only their relationship, but also a major part of Shawn's life.

Happy Birthday Rudy!


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Looking Back at Winter

It's been a while since I've posted anything so how about a photo essay from some awesome days on the water this winter?

Pink Fly
 Pink Morning

Pink Cheeks
 Getting Bent


Purple Streaks

Choppy Water

Polished Aluminum and Chrome

Well you're about the prettiest thing I've seen all winter!

Sunrise Swing

Name Dropping


Pocket: Picked
The Hat Says it All


Orange and Pink and Perfect


Emerald City

Emerald Water

Steel and Solitude

My Happy Place

Purple and Blue - That'll Do


Holding on to Winter, even in May


New Jack City

Five More Casts


Life Altering Moment

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Grass Roots - A PNW Bamboo and Steelhead Gathering

A year ago my friend and fellow bamboo rod maker James Reid wandered down from the Great White North to the banks of the Skagit River to meet up with a hand full of anglers interested in casting his beautiful bamboo spey rods. Over 20 guys showed up to cast bamboo, BS about steelhead fishing, and drink some beer. The day was a total success, and sounded to me like a ton of fun.

Ever since then, James has been fired up to try it again, and has graciously invited me to help him host his growing event.

So this year, James and I would like to invite anyone interested in bamboo rods (both spey and single-hand) and classic reels, and all things steelhead fly fishing related to attend the Grass Roots Gathering. The gathering will be held on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at the Howard Miller Steelhead Park on the Skagit River near Rockport, Washington.

On display will be a host of killer custom tackle from:
J.M. Reid Bamboo Fly Rods
Confluence Rod Company (that would be me)
Cadno Silk Lines (modern shooting head tapers made in traditional materials)
Tim Anderson Bamboo Rods
as well as others.

Howard Miller Steelhead Park is located at near the junction of state route 20 and state route 530 in Rockport. There are tent and RV sites available as well as roofed, 3 walled, 8 bunked "Adirondacks" available at the park for very reasonable costs with power outlets as well as a few cabins and a boat launch. For details/reservations please contact:

Howard Miller Steelhead Park
Park Manager: Rusty Regan

52804 Rockport Park Rd.
P.O. Box 127
Rockport, WA 98283
email -

Approx. drive times to the H.M.S. Park
Seattle, WA - 1.7-2 hours
Vancouver, BC - 2-2.5 hours (plus border wait times)
Portland, OR - 4.5-5 hours

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Saying Thanks!

How do you say thank you to the person who introduced you to the passion of your life? Well for my friend Shawn the answer was to go off the deep end. 

A few months ago I shared a sneak peak of one of the coolest, and most humbling projects I've ever been fortunate to work on, a project my close friend Shawn and I have been talking about for years. Shawn's dad is about to turn 65, and Shawn has been searching for a way to express a lifetime of gratitude to the man who introduced him to fly fishing, and with whom he has shared his lifelong passion.

For the last two or three years, Shawn and I have tossed around various ideas for making the perfect gift. And when we came across the work of master engraver David Riccardo, the pieces simply fell into place.

This reel is only half of what will be a truly remarkable gift. Equally remarkable is the collaboration of four different craftsmen that is taking place in order to bring this gift to life. Accompanying this reel will be a presentation bamboo rod, hand built by Shawn himself.
Once I finished machining the reel it was carefully packed and mailed to Michigan, where it would be transformed by master engraver David Riccardo. During the painstaking engraving process, David and Shawn would share photos and talk almost daily to ensure Shawn's vision was perfectly brought to life.
Paul Drake from Colorado Springs -- a traditional silversmith and leather craftsman -- fitted the reel with its handmade leather case. The reel case's Sterling Silver name plate was also engraved by Riccardo.


I am extremely proud to be involved with such an amazing project. I cant immagine a better way to say thanks!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Skeena Photo Essay

A lot has happened in the last several weeks, and I'll get to that soon. But for now, I just want to share some photos from my recent trip to BC.

I got to spend a week with friend and fellow bamboo rod maker James Reid fishing in Skeena Country. Our first stop was the Frontier Far West lodge on the Bulkley River early in the morning so James could deliver a rod and I could deliver a reel to a customer staying at the lodge. Once business was handled it was time to get down to fishing.