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Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) Canada

I’ve always enjoyed and been excited by films that focus on the outdoors ever since I saw the epic looking and sounding movies produced by the likes of Brain Farm and Warren Miller.  The latter being the same producers who originally brought to us the Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) in the U.S. So when the opportunity to get involved with the F3T in Canada arose, I immediately took it and was looking forward to seeing how we could help it grow and get even more people to experience it.

Part of my travel lately has been organized around the various Fly Fishing Film Tour Canadian tour dates. I’ll be hosting the Chilliwack, British Columbia show this Saturday and then the Campbellville, Ontario show the following weekend.

Both the west and east coast are filled with enthusiastic anglers so I’m always happy to get to visit with a great group of these people. I also LOVE watching people’s reactions to the films because they never seem to fail to inspire anyone who sees them – from the avid hardcore fly fisher to the casual/beginner angler or weekend warrior. In fact, when we hosted a show back in June, I even witnessed a few of my girlfriends who don’t fish at all, want to get out on the water after taking in the films!

This was taken during our intimate June event we hosted to kick off the tour out east.  Blue skies, clear water - makes you want to get out just looking at this still!

This was taken during our intimate June event we hosted to kick off the tour out east. Blue skies, clear water – makes you want to get out just looking at this still!

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Vancouver: Where Urban Life and the Great Outdoors Intersect

I’ve spent a lot of time in this west coast city lately, and can now confidently say I have some favourites that I would highly recommend. If you’ve ever visited Vancouver, you know what I mean when I say that it truly offers the best of both worlds – city life surrounded by the great outdoors. This is the kind place where you can go snowboarding or skiing on some of the most epic mountains in the world, and take a dip in the ocean, or go fishing – all in the same day. Because there’s so much diversity and wonderful things to do, you’re sure to have fun no matter what you chose to explore, however, I’m a big believer in a curated, tried, true and tested guide….so here it is!

Where to stay – If you are in the position to splurge and enjoy the finer things in life, my new favourite hotel is Rosewood Hotel Georgia, by far. I recently stayed there for a couple of nights and every detail and want was tended to. I’ve spent my whole life staying in hotels around the world and only a few hold a candle to Hotel Georgia when it comes to the overall attention to details, customer satisfaction and overall ambiance (and none of those other few are in Canada).

The little one really liked the Junior Suite too.

The little one really liked the Junior Suite too.

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Michelin Star Extravaganza in Copenhagen

The evening BEFORE our big evening at the Michelin Star restaurant, Kiin Kiin, went like this:

Local Danish friend: Hey guys, where do you want to have dinner tomorrow?

Us: Somewhere delicious, you pick.

Local Danish friend: Ok, how about Thai food? I hear there’s a really good Thai place that I’ve been wanting to try out.

Us: Sounds good.

Cut to THE evening, just a handful of buds heading out for what we assume is a casual night out, sharing some south east asian comfort food…

hhhahaha….boy (girrrrrrrl), were we wrong.

We entered Kiin Kiin, what looked to be a trendy, calming but somewhat traditional Thai restaurant, sat down in a lounge area and waited for a waiter and some menus. However, what really ensued was four and half hours (4 and 1/2 hours!!) of a kind of mindf**k, being served dish after dish of unknown and never before tried ingredients. This description kind of sounds scary, but actually it was amazing!! And interesting, and hilarious at times (hilarious, often because we would be served one of the fanciest dishes we’ve ever laid our eyes on, only to remember that a couple of hours ago, we assumed we’d be eating simple Thai food in a dingy – but awesome – traditional Thai joint).
The evening consisted of 20 dishes in total, along with a wine pairing and took place in two main rooms. These restauranteurs surely deserve their Michelin Star, as it was a unique dining experience unlike any other we’d had, and was full of really delicious dishes. Herewith, a selection of what we ate that night (description in captions):

Oysters, mussels and really pretty seashells from the seashore.

Oysters, mussels and really pretty seashells from the seashore.

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Food, shopping and travel tips from Denmark

The Scandinavian countries had been on my list of places to see and explore for quite some time, and lucky for me I found some enthusiastic participants to come along. My cousins and I managed to coordinate our somewhat opposing schedules so that we had 10 days to skip out on work (i.e. actually still working, but from laptops and iPhones at various coffee shops and apartments). We decided two countries was in our cards and chose Denmark and Sweden, and as soon as we left the airport (we started out in Copenhagen), the stereotypes were in full force: clean architectural lines mixed with old european details, a bunch of lookalikes – light coloured hair, tall, lean build and fashionable without taking too many risks, and pastry shops and furniture design houses in every direction.

A typical street in Copenhagen.

A typical street in Copenhagen…and we just finished scarfing down a bunch of pastries.

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Fishing the Atlantic with Miss Judy Charters

My career has afforded me quite a few encounters with some really special women who are also enthusiastic about the outdoors, and whom I consider friends. However, I don’t think anyone has made me so in awe of their attitude and capabilities as a female charter guide I recently met in Savannah, Georgia.

Her name is Miss Judy and along with her best friend of 30 years, Kathy the mate of the boat, she runs a charter business called Miss Judy Charters. When my producer originally told me who we were fishing with in Savannah, his first comment was “you’re really going to like her”. I took it with a grain of salt, knowing I was going to like her (there are very few fishing guides that I’ve come across that I don’t like), but not thinking it was going to leave a strong impression on me, or that I was going to have one of the best days of my life on the water.

A few ladies, having a time on the water, with our amberjack.

A few ladies, having a time on the water, with our amberjack.

Miss Judy has lived an incredible and unique life. In a nutshell, she was born to her father’s second wife. By the time she was born, her father was in his fifties and had lived an adventurous and mysterious life (he allegedly worked for Al Capone). Judy never knew how he made money and life was full of surprises (he married eight times), but the one thing that was constant was his boat, and the fact that he was always taking family and friends out on the water. When Judy was only five years old, her mother passed away and ever since then, she’d been by her father’s side. As a result of this unusual upbringing, and because fishing runs her in her blood, she’s basically been chartering since she was a pre-teen. Think about that for a minute – most of us are just trying to make sure we make it to school on time or that we finish our homework at that age, meanwhile little Judy was learning how to build relationships with customers and how to man an entire boat from driving it, to setting up fishing gear, all in the unpredictable world of the big vast ocean! I could go on and on about her stories and her life, but needless to say, she’s built a foundation for being a successful charter guide and for living a fulfilling and independent life.

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Women and the Outdoors

I spent the greater part of a week at the Canadian National Sportsmen’s Show in Edmonton a couple of weeks ago. As with all outdoors trade shows, I met with industry people, chatted with fans, and made some new friends, however, what really stood out to me in Edmonton was the female presence.

For a couple of years now I’ve been talking about how year after year it seems more and more women are getting into the sport of fishing. I’ve seen this in my travels and online and it’s one of the main driving forces for me in my career. So, when all of these ladies showed up to the show – and not to simply stand by their man’s side – but to actually experience it for themselves, I was so happy and encouraged. I met with all sorts of female outdoor enthusiasts including young professionals, fishing and hunting guides, product reps, and weekend warriors. They were moms, sisters, friends, and ranged in age from late teens to their 60’s. It really was impressive, inspiring and a lot of fun!

Sabrina from the Fishin' Hole - the ultimate weekend warrior.

Sabrina from the Fishin’ Hole – the ultimate weekend warrior.

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Bass Fishing in Japan

This month marks two years since I fulfilled a life long dream of visiting Japan. We visited a bunch of super rad iconic places like Jiro sushi (if you haven’t heard of Jiro, watch the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi) and the Shibuya ward in Tokyo and the intricate and historical temples in Kyoto. This was a family trip and we didn’t have the cameras with us, but dad and I knew we had to take advantage of our proximity to the famous Lake Biwa in the Shiba prefecture where the world record largemouth bass was caught. A few weeks before leaving for our trip, I booked a few hours with Naoya Hiramura, a Lake Biwa guide who’s site “Truth Fishing Guide Service” seemed legit enough. You never know who you’re going to end up with when you seek someone simply by googling, without any word of mouth referral, but we got lucky and Naoya was awesome.

On the day we planned to go fishing, we also planned to meet up with the others in Kyoto, which, looking back was pretty ambitious, but you have to make the most out of your travels! Dad and I took the 4am on the bullet train (and it was actually pretty full, proving that Tokyo never sleeps). By the time the sun was coming up, we were being greeted by Naoya who picked us up from the station.

The thing that struck both my dad and I the most about Naoya, was his attention to detail – and I think this is emblematic of the Japanese culture. He made sure we had everything we needed from beginning to end, and was a true pro. He even presented us with fully packaged Naoya designed lures and Naoya instructional DVD’s!

Like I said, this was a quick fishing stop so although we didn’t have time on our side, we managed to get into a few nice sized largemouth, which we caught with Naoya’s “multi stick slide”.

Dad and I with our largemouth on Lake Biwa.

Dad and I with our largemouth on Lake Biwa.

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Jamaâ El Fna

Our trip to Morocco was filled with novelty, excitement, pleasure and intrigue, however one particularly unique experience was our time spent in the market, Jamaâ El Fna ( also spelled Djemma El Fna). We witnessed both the daytime and nighttime vibe, and although it’s safe to say both displayed a tremendous amount of energy, the latter especially so.

Knowing this had the possibility of being an overwhelming experience, I had booked us a tour guide beforehand. The taxi dropped us off at the main entrance of the market, where we did the usual Moroccan thing – crossed the street while dodging taxis, a few SUV’s and a whole lotta motorbikes…like hundreds of them, some carrying full grown men and women, others with entire family’s wrapped around each surface of the bike, and I’m not talking large Harley bikes, I’m talking what look like regular bicycles with small motors on them. I digress…

After sorting through the sea of people and cats, we find our tour guide wearing the traditional Muslim tunic and an Urban Adventures baseball cap.  We’re about ten minutes late and he explains that he was about to leave but the company told him to stick around for a couple more minutes. This is an important anecdote because a) I think it’s pretty telling of the locals here in Marrakech as they seem to be very punctual people and b) I am certain we would not have had the same rich experience in the market had we not been taken through the nooks and crannies of what is essentially a very large maze, by a local.

The narrow and mysterious alleyways of Jamma el Fna.

The narrow and mysterious alleyways of Jamma el Fna.

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Calgary: Canadian National Sportsmen’s Show

It’s gonna be cold, but it’s gonna be fun!

Next weekend, I’m heading to the Canadian National Sportsmen’s Show. I get really nostalgic when I think of sportsmen’s shows because they were a big part of my childhood. I have a ton of memories of slipping past the seminar curtain to hang out “behind the scenes” while dad or uncle Bob gave  a talk. I’d sit there listening to everyone laugh and engage and didn’t understand half of what was said, but loved hearing it all. Almost every show, mom would spoil my brother and I with cotton candy, roasted nuts and candy and we’d spend the time in between dad and Bob’s seminars touring the houseboats (they seemed huge when I was a kid!) and visiting with animals.

Canadian National Sportsmen's Show
Uncle Bob on the left, and dad (Wayne) on the right…a LONG time ago!

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Fly Fishing Film Tour 2015: Beattie Outdoor Productions, Brunch with Tom Bie and more…

This weekend was a whirlwind, full of fishing work and play…

I flew into Denver on Friday to attend my very first F3T: Fly Fishing Film Tour event and now that it’s happened, I’m happy I did!  For those who aren’t familiar with the tour, it’s a traveling film festival featuring the best outdoors/fly fishing films in the world. In any one given afternoon or evening, about a dozen films are shown, along with whatever the host decides to include in the event like prizes, drinks and entertainment.  Saturday night was the U.S. premiere for the year and it was one rad evening. Held at the City Hall Theatre (a cross between bar and theatre), it consisted of live music, industry booths and a few bars to choose from.

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Tom Bie of the Drake magazine, and I, talking about fishing, the tour and everything in between. Read more