LF Sturgeon Fishing Charity Event, 3rd Annual

Every year NHL players and fishing and hockey enthusiasts descend into the Fraser Valley in gorgeous British Columbia, Canada to immerse themselves in the magical world of the White Sturgeon. These prehistoric fish live in the Fraser River, which is also home to the leaders in conservation of this rare species. 

Participants Tyler and Grant with NY Islanders Nick Leddy. PC: Mark L Johnson.

Together with the Ladd Foundation, Sturgeon Slayers and team put on an epic weeklong event to help promote sustainable practices on the river, and to raise money for a worthy cause. This years efforts went towards the Kelowna chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association and to the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society.

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Ice, Ice, Baby! Iceland Top Travel Recommendations

Like many people these days, the small island country of Iceland had been on my list of places to visit for quite some time. Actually, I remember distinctly the first time it made its way on to my radar – I was in my first year of university in England and we were taking advantage of the fact that we were living in Europe to travel to a new country a few times a month. My little group of friends didn’t make it that year, but it was forever marked on my list of “must-see” locations ever since. And a must-see country it is! It is equally barren and alive, and just as magical as everyone makes it out to be.

I eventually made it to Iceland on a work trip, traveling with the Nobis team to model for their Fall/Winter 2017 campaign, in September. The weather was as you’d expect it to be – cool, wet, with sun and rainbows shining through multiple times throughout the day. As I understand it, the key to packing, basically at any time of the year, is layers. Nobis is a high quality outerwear company with the most gorgeous designs and fit, so I was well equipped. Something else to prepare you for is, it is an expensive place to be. Items both big (accommodations, guided tours) and small (groceries and transportation) are significantly and consistently more expensive than most countries. I tend to have expensive taste, but this is one of those places where even the more frugal traveler will find it hard to cut down totally on costs (we literally bought a bag of peanuts, some apples, some crackers, bottles of water and granola bars at a grocery store and it cost the equivalent of almost $150 US.) That said – it’s all worth it. If you visit, it is almost guaranteed to be a memorable trip, with some of the stunning landscapes seared in your memory for life.

One of the dozens of waterfalls we came across in our short four day trip in Iceland.

One of the dozens of waterfalls we came across in our short four day trip in Iceland.

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TORONTO

Writing a travel blog about the place you grew up in, is somewhat more difficult than writing about a place you just experienced because of course, you must narrow down a lifetime of living, to your top recommendations.

I don’t live in the city anymore so every time I’m back in the city, I try to get in as much food, drink and play as I can.  I’ve rounded up a good mix of long standing establishments as well as newer hots spots that are sure to add to your time in The 6 (in case you live under a rock – “the six” is the latest nickname for the city, coined by Drake.)

Taking in the sun, and the Toronto skyline.

Taking in the sun, and the Toronto skyline.

To start off, although the city is now pulsing 24/7, all year round, I still recommend coming between April and December. Basically, I’m telling you to avoid the first two to three months of the year when it can be quite cold and “brown” (like the whole eastern part of North America during this time, the trees are without leaves and the ground is grimy). That said, literally all of the things I’m recommending below are still available to you all year round so if your family reunion or work conference or vacation time is January to March, you’ll still have a great time.

 

 

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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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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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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

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