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Ambassadors

Kai Echardt

We want to thank Kai Echardt for being a member of the William Joseph Pro Staff. For being part of the team, we wanted to post a little more information about him. Here is a short bio we asked Kai to fill out.

Website: http: //mountainguestranch.com
Number of days fished last year: 200+
Favorite fishing location: living in and on the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies, I have 600 miles of the best trout-streams imaginable in a 50 miles radius of our Resort, yes I know ,..poor me and life is hard and unfair,…but I do have favourites that I do not guide on, and the one where I get my Zen the most would have to be “Frenchmanns Creek” ( local speak for..”never you mind where I was fishing today”) think of a stream going for miles with nothing but 10 story high canyon walls, waterfalls, all encased in old growth forest complete with moss banks and a healthy cutthroat population averaging around 16’’ that simply do not see flies for weeks at a time..and yes, occasionally you get the feeling that there should be goblins and fairies.
Favorite fly and why: depending on the month and the water, Klinkhammers, high-top-emergers, Stuie’s, #16 -22,… being a self-admitted snob, I like things that float,….
What Willy J products do you wear: guiding throughout the year The “dry-namics” are my favorite wader out there, the quality is unsurpassed. Guiding, I can load everything we need for the full day with several clients from boxes to lunches to hammocks and their “odds and ends”  into my “ Exodus ” and enjoy the way the load simply disappears once it is on me, to the shock of many a client who didn’t believe me or in Willy J. I wouldn’t know what to do without the mitten clamps and nippers.
What one item would you never head to the river without: and open mind and eagerness to learn
Favorite music to take along: the sounds the waters make is all the tunes I need
Your most memorable day fishing: yesterday
Facts (fishing or non-fishing):  life is short, try and enjoy each day to the fullest extent
Catch you’re most proud of: the current girlfriend, as for fishing,…being teased by a 24+ wild rainbow for the better part of a season in 08’ by having him continuously nose my flies and move them out of the way of his naturals and then merrily continue to feed and ignore me , who finally fell to a # 22 Stuie in the fall.
Other hobbies: Is there time left when you take fishing out of the equation,..??

Brent Dawson

We want to thank Brent Dawson for being such an active member of our Willy J Pro staff. His energy and personality is a great addition to the Willy J team. Below is a bio and a list of questions he kindly answered for us. Enjoy.

Business Name: (Warpath Flys)
Website: Warpathflys.com
Number of days fished last year: I fish so damn many days I am shocked my sexy wife hasn’t booted my ass to the curb and cast divorce papers at me.
Favorite fishing location: My ultimate best location so far that is coolest for me is outer Mongolia by far. The culture and landscape will drop you to your knees and the fish are raptors on crack and the best organic high that can be imagined.
Favorite fly and why: My favorite fly is my own Patriot american flag fly as it represents my unique American pride, culture, and creativeness.
What Willy J products do you wear: I like to use the whole Willie J product line as it fits my fishing style and the performance is beyond my expectations. Hey it is not often that a man like myself can put months on a pair of waders and still have them NOT leak. I have slid down the nastiest rocks of Mongolia and caught the most brutal rusted barbed wire in my waders and packs by Willie J and nothing but surface scratches.
What is one item you never head to the river without?: I would never head to the river without my willie J pack as it holds my goodies that get me through very tough times when out on the water
Favorite music to take along: If I go anywhere fishing the best music for me is hard rock like the group “Distubed” as it reflects me and my ADHD personality. You could say Im like a rabid ferret on crack and it helps me chase and rip lips better for sure.
Your most memorable day of fishing: most memorable fishing day was with buddies Mikey Wier and Jeff Currier in Outer Mongolia when we all caught giant Taimen together in the most remote killer canyon system.
Facts Fishing is the next best thing next to sex for sure and getting that epic grab from a big trophy fish is the most killer rush for mind and body. Either way to each of these points is WOW!
Catch you are most proud of: My most proud catch is my wife Shonna and the second would be my Mako shark I landed with my buddy Capatain Conway Bowman.
Other hobbies: My other hobbies are fly tying, teaching fly tying and fishing, sky diving, and bowling with my wife.

Spring Fling: Secrets, Tricks and Tactics for Largemouth Bass – Jake McKittrick

Let’s get excited spring is here! Many die hard trout guys get all poopy during run-off season but the truth is this is the time to hammer the warm and cool water fisheries. One of my personal favorite game fish and the topic of this article is the largemouth bass.  Largemouth bass are Americas number one freshwater game fish species and is responsible for the all-star status that conventional fisherman enjoy.  With all the money that can be made from largemouth bass it is no wonder why fly fisherman know very little about catching these amazing fish and conventional guys know everything about them.  Pure Fishing (Berkley Conglomerate) annually spends more money studying largemouth bass than our industry spends studying every game fish known to man. I have paid close attention to all the information and tactics coming out of the conventional industry as part of my research for a comprehensive fly fishing book about largemouth bass and wanted to share some tactics to help the Willy j fans catch more giant largemouth bass this spring.

The most important needs of largemouth bass are temperature, food, cover, oxygen and spawning.  The spring officially starts for me in the Rocky Mountains when the water temperatures start to hit 50 degrees in the shallow lakes (Mid April in the Rockies but may be as early as February in the South). This is known as the pre-spawn period.  Largemouth cannot digest food efficiently below 50 degrees but once the temp starts to hit 50 the bass will come out of the deeper water and first appear in shallow areas on the sunniest side of the lake with the best cover. This is were the Willy J infrared thermometer is indispensable but take care as it is not water proof and should be treated with care. I usually start scouting the smaller, shallower lakes first or the areas were the weather has been the most stable.  On the front range of Colorado, for example, many of the lakes along the mountains have completely different weather patterns than lakes on the plains and it changes every year. I keep a diary of lake temps throughout the eastern Slope of Colorado to help develop my tactics and to see variances annually. Also keep an eye on prevailing winds as they will cause lake temps to differ on different sides of the lake.   As the temperatures climb up into the upper 50s bass will become more veracious and their metabolism climbs sharply. There are still only a few bait fish around in the shallows this time of year so look for bass cruising the shallows.  When the temperature reaches 61-63 degrees, the bass will start spawning so always be mindful of temperature throughout the lake.

Largemouth bass are known as generalist because they will pretty much eat anything that moves that can fit in there mouth.  The most important forage for largemouth in the Rocky Mountains are crawdads, shad, other bass, sunfish, and various minnows. Out of the black bass family, largemouth’s have the highest concentration of fish diets. It should be especially noted from my experience that largemouth love to eat other smaller largemouth. Always keep an eye out for baitfish and crawdads to give you an idea of what to entice them with taking special attention to forage size and color.  I always carry markers with me so I can color my flies to match the baitfish as precisely as possible. Another great tip is rub your fly and your hands in the mud as soon as you arrive at the lake to neutralize any unnatural odors (like gas, deet and nicotine) as bass have great sense of smell but contrary to popular belief they cannot taste oil soluble matter (only water soluble). For example it is not the gas on your hands that is making the bass run away from your fly it is the detergent additives in the gas mix. Also, the retrieve is directly correlated to the water temps. So the colder the water the slower the retrieve.

Cover and structure are paramount to a largemouth’s happiness but there is a difference.  Structure is any change in elevation and cover is anything that offers shade.  In one study from Berkley/Pure Fishing a single bass was put in a tank and was super nervous and would not eat.  The scientist put a penny in the tank and the bass immediately settled down and started to eat. The lesson here is to target the biggest bass in the lake find an area in the shallows that has great cover (like a tree) that has close access to deeper water (structure). Last week, for example, I was fishing a small pond and there are about 8 largemouth that are over 4 pounds and one in the seven pound class (Note:  if you talk in inches bass fisherman will look at you funny so memorize this formula: length x length x girth/1200 = weight).  All these bass were hiding under one submerged tree and would not move more that 6 feet away from the cover because it was the best cover in the shallows. If you remember that bass are only living in 5 percent of the lake than it is pretty easy to find them if you know what they need.

The oxygen level in lakes is more important in the summer Continue reading