Growing up on South Africa’s coastline with a fishing addicted father meant I was basically born with a fishing rod in my hand. From chasing tiger fish in the freshwater to shark hunting in the deep blue, my childhood solidified my passion for the search of a tight line. Moving to Toronto, ON in the early 90’s introduced me to salmon fishing and moving to Vancouver, BC in 2006 for graduate studies introduced me to real salmon fishing! However, it wasn’t until 2013 that I started to take fishing seriously again (higher education/career taken care of) and that’s when I picked up my first fly rod… I now spend my entire year chasing salmonids across the PNW along their migratory journey. When I am not fishing, tying flies, or dreaming of salmon, I am helping transform our healthcare system through digital health innovation.
How long have you been fly fishing?
What’s your favorite type of fly fishing?
Spey fishing tops the list.
Below are just a few reasons:
The Type & Target: Living in the PNW allows skagit spey to dominate. This means I get to tie big flies and swing them in search of big anadromous predators.
The Feeling: There is something about whipping that fly back, peeling it off the water, and then letting the laws of physics take it to the far bank of the river that makes me feel like a fly ninja every cast.
The Learnings: As with any type of fly fishing, the educational opportunities are endless. Whether it be trying to perfect the multitude of casting techniques, the diversity of fly patterns, or the many permutations of line set ups, spey fishing provides endless opportunities to learn and grow as a fly fisherman.
Favorite holiday destination and why?
Maui and the surrounding islands… Only a few hours from Vancouver by plane with endless opportunities to be in a series of diverse, beautiful, and natural habitats while being exposed to a deeply rooted fishing and surfing culture. Shaka Brah.
However, any destination that brings me close to nature and allows me to fish is rad. For me, one of the best parts about going on vacation is having the opportunity to fish a new body of water. This means doing research, tying new flies, meeting new local people, and targeting new fish. I have a signed agreement with my wife that includes the search for a tight line on any and all vacations.
Your favorite outdoor adventure story of all time?
A 5 day 67 km canoe trip in Northern Ontario with 7 of my brethren has a certain memory forged into the circuits of my neocortex. After hitting handfuls of gorgeous, historic, and very manageable 300-900m portages, we finally reached the 2900m portage we had all been waiting for. Carrying a 45lb front pack, 60lb backpack, paddle and rod in hand, and a canoe on my shoulders, it officially turned into game time. As much as I like a leisurely stroll chatting with the gents on shorter portages, in my humble opinion, long portages packing weight need to be taken seriously and end quickly.
After helping the lads strap in, load up, and conduct a safety meeting, I was off. In the wake of 13 minutes of the best torture a young man could ask for, I had lost the pack. Just 3 minutes later I dropped my gear, sat on top of my canoe, and took a moment to stare into the untouched wilderness and let the pain in my shoulders dissipate.
A few seconds later the calm had settled in, and my focus on the deeply forested terrain increased. There she was… a beautiful, young, white-tailed deer, absolutely frozen in her tracks. I stayed still attempting to let her soften up to me; however, she remained rock solid with the most endearing look in her eyes. Being curious, I stood up to gently approach the deer. Still no movement! At this point, I had a suspicion that we weren’t the only two mammals in the vicinity.
With my senses heightened, I scanned 45 degrees to the left and there it was, a memory to last a lifetime – direct eye contact with a wolf on the hunt just feet away from me.
No deer were harmed in the making of this memory.
Favorite fishing memory?
When I was a youngster, my family would spend a few weeks and many weekends a year at our place in Fish Hoek, South Africa. Living on the ocean with a fishing addict as a father meant tons of fishing growing up. One of my favorite memories as a child was the day we hooked into a shark that gave us a run for our money. All I remember was intense excitement quickly turning into chaos, radical yelling, drag screaming and a ride out into the deep blue that was uncontrollable by our Zodiak. What felt like hours later, we finally had this prehistoric beast of a fish next to the boat. Seeing a fish drastically outsize our Zodiak up close was magical! My dad and I looked at each other in awe as we luckily managed to release that majestic predator back into the ocean without any repercussions.
As an adult, one of my favorite fishing memories was being in the heart of the Olympic Peninsula and ending up with a rare doubleheader of untouched wild steelhead; a memory that will last a lifetime for certain.
Why do you love living where you live?
Oceans, Rivers, Mountains…The Quintessential Outdoor Playground.
Japanese tapas. A feast at Guu Original in Vancity is hard to beat.
I can’t choose just one… Not possible. A few honorable mentions would be: The entire Bourne series, The Transporter, Bad Boys 2, Finding Nemo, X-Men series, and yes… Fat Amy is F*&ckin Hilarious.
Favorite band or music style?
I am quite diverse when it comes to music… My Satellite radio station favorites are a good guide and they range from Ozzy’s Boneyard (Hard Rock/Metal), to Old School Hip Hop, to The Joint (Reggae) to Classical & Jazz. As much as I want to love country for all you trout bums out there I just can’t do it.. I don’t know what it is.
Must have accessory when in the wild?
If it’s not a fishing rod… it’s my survival knife.
Favorite camping food?
Nando’s peri peri fish sandwiches. Nothing more rewarding than spending a morning fly fishing, filleting your catch, breading it, frying it, then tossing it in Nando’s Hot Peri Peri sauce and smashing it in between a soft kaiser bun for the win… Big shout out to my man Chef Gavin for bringing these to life every trip.
Where I call home?
Move Your Body, Move Your Life! … if you think it’s cheesy… jog/hike 5 km 2-3x per week and do 200 push ups a day for 6 weeks and dare to tell me you ain’t feeling amazing.
Principles I live by?
Cast until the lights go out!
You miss 100% of the casts you don’t take.
Every step counts.
What’s on your bucket list?
My bucket list is basically a fishing destination list that lives and grows in Evernote. Without publicising the entire list, here are a few things I will need to do before I die:
Land a Taimen on a massive fly in Mongolia
Fly fish for monster rainbow trout where Argentina’s Rio Barrancoso flows into Lago Strobel AKA: Jurassic Lake
Swing for big Atlantic Salmon on the Panoi River in Russia
Strip monster streamers for Golden Dorado in Argentina
Land a 30+ pound GT on the fly rod
Take a fly I tied out of a 10+ pound bone fish’s mouth (only <10 pounders landed to date)
Favorite Hook And Vice cap?
The Trucker Hook Pro Model.