Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Yuba River Jubilee 2017

In my opinion there isn't a better time than now to be out and about supporting the wild places we love and respect along with the organizations and folks who do the same.  As most of us know, we are now in a day where our country is extremely divided due to the ever so dark and fierce beast known as politics.  Big surprise.  No matter what side of the table we threw our cards on, today is here.  Whoever you chose to be the chief doesn't change the fact that right now at this very moment, conservation, renewable resources, clean water, sustainability and a healthier future for our children's children may not necessarily be the highest priority.  Policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. Rule otherwise known as The Clean Water Rule are out with the old.  Freezes ordered on grants and contracts while imposing new restrictions on EPA scientists is underway.  Times are changing rapidly and at first glance it looks as if the environment will suffer greatly for it.  Will the new changes benefit the health and well being of our families, communities and planet overall?  Will the new policies set into action help us and our surroundings beyond ways we're able to understand?  Only time (and real efforts) will tell.  I'm not claiming to know everything there is to know about the policies, projected outcomes or the grand scheme being set into place at this very moment.  I'm not coming down on anyone who voted for this person or that.  What's done is done.  It's a new day and we can either settle, believe everything we hear and trust others to do the right thing or we can stay informed, active and aggressive in our own lives to change our world in a positive way.  What does seem clear is that if we don't take responsibility for our environment and continue to live unapologetically on this rock, she will have no problem whatsoever crushing us in a heartbeat.  Taking part in conservation efforts, spreading the word of the good fights and focusing on our communities and our surroundings day by day with an eye on the big picture are a few ways to take responsibility for a better tomorrow.  

Feb 18th on the Yuba River, we'll see a gathering led by Jon Baiocchi and Lance Gray who love the river and all the joy she gives as much as the rest of us that live near, on or far away and they've founded this gathering to help give back.  

It will be held between 1-4pm at 5560 State Hwy 20, Browns Valley, CA 95918

The event will host a wide range of folks, organizations, demonstrations and presentations from guides to clubs, groups and shops.

I'm looking forward to being there in support of Jon and Lance and their gusto in putting this together.  I'll be there running the Cast Hope booth with Hogan Brown as well as being alongside The Reel Anglers Fly Shop tent with Tom Page, Clay Hash of Fly Fishing Traditions and Dave Barbieri.  

Read all about it below and come join us on the beautiful river we all love so much!   

Jon Baiocchi and Lance Gray would like to invite you to the first annual “Yuba River Jubilee” held on February 18, 2017 from 1pm-4pm at the Hammon Grove Park on the Yuba River. The Jubilee will showcase guides, clubs, fly shops, environmental groups, and state agencies that are all working hard to make the Yuba River and her watershed the best it can be. Jon and I want to give back to the river that has given so many wonderful memories to us. The river is a wonderful place to fish, drift, and hike. We are looking to protect it for future generations. Educating anglers is the key to the Yuba River's success. We are hoping to make this an annual event.

This event is free to all who would like to participate! We will have a great raffle with all proceeds going to a non-profit benefactor which will be announced at the Jubilee.

Celebrities - Lincoln Gray, Clay Hash, Hogan Brown, Chuck Ragan, Jon Baiocchi, Mac Noble, Lance & Kirsten Gray, Darin Elmore, Alex Ramirez, Tom Page, Jerry French, Doug Brutocao, Brian Clemens and more!

Exhibitors List for Jubilee- Sierra Stream & Mountain Fly Shop, Fly Fishing Traditions, Cast Hope, Hogan Brown Fly Fishing, South Yuba River Citizens League, Truckee Trout Unlimited Chapter 103, Gold Country Fly Fishers, Fish First Fly Shop, Reel Anglers Fly Shop, Aqua Flies, Nor Cal Fly Guides, Orvis - Roseville, and more!

Tailgate Presentations & Demonstrations - Clay Hash – Classes at Sierra College, Jon Baiocchi – The Yuba River, Tom Page – Building Indicator Rigs, Mac Noble – Switch Rod Demonstration on the Water and Jerry French Switch Rod Casting and more!

Raffles – Driftboat Trips, Full Day Guided Trips, 1 on 1 Schools, Hats, Flies and more!

You can find out more and follow Jon and Lance here:

See you on the river!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hot Water Music in the studio.

I landed in Gainesville, Fl. the morning of Jan. 11th after a red eye flight from home, got picked up by old friend George Rebelo before we walked straight into Black Bear Studios to begin recording the new Hot Water Music record.  It's been a little bit since we've headed to the box like this mainly due to timing and scheduling between four individuals constantly on the move in their own directions.  We've got a strong group of new tunes that have us all pretty pumped up and looking forward to our second release on Rise Records out of Portland. which will be engineered by our buddy and owner of the studio, Ryan Williams.  The fellas and I rendezvoused for writing sessions, sent countless tunes and ideas back and forth while Black, Wollard and Rebelo living close to each other have done a ton of groundwork together after those sessions.

From the first chords and beats ringing out this past week of pre-production, we all had the feeling we were on the right track.  It's never until we all get into the same room together that we can really tell if a song is worth it's salt.  Or if we can really tell what condition the surplus of songs are in and if they'll hold up.  Once we got the train moving, it all fell into place.  Rebelo is playing better than I've ever heard him play and building a solid foundation that these songs will live on.  Jason Black as always has his way of being so in the pocket with George that I find myself in their rhythm and forget about the fact that they will explode and put me on the floor at any given moment.  I feel damn lucky to have had the opportunities to play music for so many years with such an incredibly distinct and talented rhythm section.

Chris Wollard never ceases to amaze.  He's been my favorite guitar player for over a couple decades now and it's always uplifting to be reminded and witness the reasons first hand.  After we already had a good batch of songs we were dialing in this past year or two, Wollard flew out to my stomping grounds to continue the process.  We kept trucking on the existing material and came up with some new ones as well.   

Energy is high, vibes are good so to say the least, we're stoked to have this new record underway.  We owe everything to our loved ones for standing by us all these years of us continuing this path.  Without their support, we would've run out of fuel quite some time ago.  Our fans have been a constant inspiration as well.  A beautiful community of music lovers that share the same vision and ethics that this band was born into and continues to share through songs.  Thank you for all the years of support and always going above and beyond the call whenever it came to making it to our shows to sing your hearts out.  Our gratitude is much more than what I could ever put into words.  We'll be trucking along in the studio and looking forward to getting everyone some new music soon.  Until then, stay tuned and keep it together!

Our last record Exister was released May 15th, 2015 if anyone missed that boat or is interested in checking out where we left off.  Find out more news and updates at

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Midnight Mayhem.

I took my buddy Tom Page from Reel Anglers Fly Shop up the Yuba today to see if we could find some wild fish.  We actually did fairly well hooking or holding 14-16 healthy fish that were only willing to eat a rusty worm, prince of diamonds or pink micro spawn after very little success with our preferred method today of ripping streamers.  

We shot the breeze about whatever it was we had been tying and whether or not we thought it’d be worth a damn in the water.  In fact we laughed hard at one point at the fact that here was a fly shop owner and one of his local guides talking about all these fancy tying materials, intricate recipes, methods and secrets, all the while most every fish we stuck during those conversations were taken on a stinking strip of chenille or clump of cheap yarn.  But hey, fish gonna eat what fish gonna eat and you either observe, adapt and rope or just have a nice day casting and enjoying the scenery.  Flows were running around 641 cubes with slightly off color water. Fish had been eating streamers on the edges but not as much today. High of 52, low of 44.  At least that’s how part of last years log entry read.  

The day or two before and the days after were spent with my buddy Hogan Brown and a gentlemen by the name of John Lowman who I'm now proud to call a friend.  Similar flows, clarity, etc.  Fair to great fishing.  At least for January in a Northern California river.  Hogan and I had a great day in some super dirty water.  Found strong numbers.  Boated some and missing some laughing, talking bugs, fish, amps, guitars and recording music.  Lowman and I fished hard for a few days and found em throughout but worked pretty hard for them until we cracked the ever changing code and leading us to the epic but short lived battle with Mr. Grapefruit Head.  A diamond in the ruff, rogue steelhead that I believe may still keep Lowman gritting his teeth sometimes and certainly keeps my eyes and ears perked.         

Thumbing through a handful of days from early last year reminds me that it got pretty damn good before she went.    When I say went, I mean to 30K but that’s old news now.  She was off and on at times but for the most part at least fishable up until March.  Tough but fishable.  I find that these cold January days after the fall bank anglers are done beating it up and the fair weather crowds have dispersed, there can be some brilliant days to be had if she holds.  Some of my favorites are the solitude streamer days throwing or swinging meat.  I look through the entries and get taken back to some glorious days on the Yuba finding aggressive opportunistic hunger strikes, no people and avoiding frost bite.  Thankful for making it through another year, thankful for my family and toasting the river gods for the opportunities they give me while receiving funny looks from my dogs while they wonder who the hell it is that I’m actually speaking to.  That is, if the river lets us. 

Today a year later, January is a bit different.  About 80,000 times different.  At around midnight January 9th, 2017 she just peaked at 81,744 cubic feet per second from where I was standing and that’s just what the gauges read.  She may not be done either.  Big step up from fishing a handful of days ago at 1,956 cfs.  To understand the gravity and weight of a situation or natural event like this is to stand on the waters edge from a higher point a couple stories above where we normally launch our boats.  To say it’s powerful and immense is almost an understatement.  The massive volume pushed through the canyons and reservoirs and released into the wide open space of the river bed amongst the tailings of the Yuba Goldfields is hard to truly imagine without seeing it move first hand and photos barely do any justice.  

Two shots, same location, same time of day, month apart.
Above 1,237cfs, below trucking at 76,878.
The amount of rain or even the amount of snow it took to create that raging beast is almost beyond comprehension.  Snow that was melted off from a warm storm front at a high elevation only added a few more arms and legs to the monster.  At that point there isn’t much to do but take care of your own if you're living close to the rising water, spend more time with the family, maintain boats, trucks and trailers, tie up more bugs, house chores, write music and admire and respect the living things that will somehow survive such a torrent.  Imagine the process and how often it’s occurred in our short lifetime and how the fish and bugs are always able to comeback and survive in one way or the other.  May take a minute but they’ll be back.  It gives me a great sense of admiration to witness the undeniable force that mother nature can serve up.  What she can bounce back from and transform into.  How the thought of the different species that wake us up in the morning and keep us up at night find a safe haven in a hostile hell hole is always one worthy to ponder.  I find it significant and valuable, getting to know a stump a while to sit and soak all that up.  At least before I need to head back to the fly shop to spend more dough on that ever so valuable chenille and yarn.