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Our amazing fans have been insistent in asking for a second Bucknasty Browns film and we are here to deliver, but we need your help. This film project will be documenting a Do-It-Yourself trip to one of the greatest brown trout destinations in the world, the South Island of New Zealand. World-renowned for it’s clear backcountry waters, epic spring creeks, and large, trophy sized, AKA Bucknasty, brown trout. The plan is to roadtrip the island in search of adventure and large brown trout. We just launched a Kickstarter for Bucknasty Browns II and we would love if you showed us some support! In order for Bucknasty Browns II to become a reality, we need to reach our goal of $12,000. We are offering a ton of great rewards and you can also pre-order the film (see below). By pre-ordering the film you will be the first to get to download and watch the full film.

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Please click here to support Bucknasty Browns II and/or pre-order the film >>> BUCKNASTY BROWNS II Kickstarter

 

For more info on the film project, click here >>> BUCKNASTY INFO

Its often adventure that keeps my fly fishing engine fueled.  The exploration of wild locations drives me to wander areas where many rarely travel.  I am not a fan of overcrowded rivers and would rather sulk in solitude amongst the steep mountains (even if I don’t catch a single fish).

Mexico

I have found that generally speaking, less people equates to better fishing. In some cases this means getting far from any dirt road. Some anglers search for the reasoning behind their fishing addiction and I feel my answer lies somewhere between a passion for exploration and adventure. Most can’t wait to escape their office on Friday evening and forget their overpowering business life. The river is calling. So here are ten ways to finding your own fishing adventure:

1) Pick a location: The more specific the better. Use previous feedback you have heard from family, friends and the local loud mouths at the bar to help narrow down your options. A  little digging will get you a long way. Are you looking for a specific type of fish to catch or are searching for amazing landscapes? My most memorable adventures come from picking a somewhat well known river system and searching the surrounding areas. Study every possible stretch of water that could hold fish. Make a final decision on a location and dive deeper into the planning.

waterfall

2) Choose a timeframe: Are you fishing summer, fall, spring, or winter (yes, I said winter)? Take into account spawning periods, runoff, weather, and where the fish will be located in the local river systems. The worst is having to hike in 10 miles to explore a lake in the mountains only to discover it resembles the arctic circle, but hey thats still an adventure right?

Yeti Coolers hat

3) Research the area: Never been to the location you plan on exploring? No problem. The internet and mainstream fishing magazines are loaded with information. Search everything from online forums to Facebook to get insight on what to expect in the honey hole you will be targeting. You would be surprised how much info people give away through social media. The more prepared, the better your chances of catching fish in that area.

4) Scour a map: Do yourself a favor right now and download Goggle Earth onto your home computer if you haven’t already. Viewing overhead satellite imagery has changed exploring the backcountry. There is no longer the question, “I wonder what’s over the next ridge?” You can literally pinpoint pools, log jams, waterfalls, ponds, lakes, and camp sites all from your computer. Combine Google Earth with a good topo map and you have trailheads, roads, and access points all at your fingertips allowing yourself to make any knook and cranny a possible golden fishing spot.

Hunt GPS

5) Avoid the roads: Google Earth will give you a good idea of how accessible certain river systems are by road. Use this to your advantage. Take into account; river access sites, road access, trailheads, road closures, etc to determine where most fisherman will be. Does the river reconnect with a small trail 8 miles from the nearest road? Go there and explore. The added effort pays big dividends most of the time.

Mexico

6) Know the Flows: Most states have streamflows and water temps available online. Keep close tabs on the rivers you plan to explore year round. If the water has been rising, you might have to deal with water clarity issues and may want to push back your trip another week. The streamflows can tell you a lot about the water you will be fishing.

Simms Guide BOots

7) Create a Gear List: Know beforehand where you will be sleeping and what you will be eating. Make a list of essentials for a successful trip. I have been on trips where the people I am traveling with either A) borrow my food the last couple days of our trip or B) don’t have the supplies for a comforting stay in the mountains. Don’t run low on energy and bring enough food. If you are backpacking into your fishing spot, make sure you pick out appropriate campsites beforehand. On one of my recent adventures, we did not have a topo map before heading into our location. With no foreseeable flat ground close to the river, we had no choice but to camp above a 100ft cliff. In the end it was great, but not the safest camping location. Some other great questions to ask yourself are: Do I need a water filter? Is it grizzly country? Are there going to be sasquatch sized mosquitos? Think beforehand and bring the right gear to handle every possible scenario.

Rock Creek

8) Find a Fishing Buddy: Some adventures are just better when you know a friend is there to help in case something bad happens. Make sure this person is not a loud mouth and can be consistently trusted. You may find the fishing spot of your life, so keeping your adventures low key is a must. There is nothing worst than hearing half the town talking about your fishing spot because your buddy can’t keep his mouth shut when throwing back some cold ones at the local pub. Make a contract with your partner ahead of time, sometimes a pinkie promise is not enough.

Camp Life

9) Pack the Yeti: I’m a firm believer in making my adventure as comfortable as possible.  Car camping? Pack the Yeti with plenty of beer, condiments, snacks, and elk burgers. Floating a secret stretch of river? Bring the appropriate size Yeti to accomadate your needs. There is nothing better than having a cold beverage in the middle of a summer adventure.

Sitka Gear puffy

10) Plan for a Great Adventure: Get your mind right heading into the trip. Be positive and plan for success. Your first day might not be the best fishing, but the next day could uncover an unknown section of river that is stocked full of monster trout eating mice. Who knows, you might even find the next Kamchatka. Pack your fly box accordingly, do one final checklist, and hit the road!  Adventure awaits!

Underwater Grayling

 

-Travis

We drove into the sunset after enjoying a day of elk hunting with our friend Ryan.  Our roadtrip east had begun.  Images of big muley bucks clouded my thoughts, navigating through small towns, until finally reaching our destination at nightfall.  We had seen small groups of mule deer off the road on the way in, giving us a small glimpse of what was to come.  I was excited for my first chance to shoulder a rifle of the fall season.

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That night I could hear the large snow flakes beating the  outside of the truck. The temperatures dropped as I  hunkered in my 15F sleeping bag. I jolted awake to the sound of my alarm, setting my eyes on a blanket of fresh snow.  Zack and I gathered our gear and ate breakfast in our truck, attempting to gain any warmth we could before heading into the frozen landscape.  As I sank my teeth into a muffin, I pulled up my binos and glassed through the foggy windshield.  Instantly I located the outline of a deer which resembled the characteristics of a muley buck.   Zack and I quickly finished our breakfast and began to close the distance on the deer.

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The buck was a nice 4×4 with a 3in kicker off his left beam.  The deer was still young and we decided to pass and look for a mature buck. That day we found plenty of deer and passed multiple bucks, ending the day with a close encounter with a decent 3×3.  This 3×3 wanted to do nothing else, but chase does.  It looked as if the rut was in full swing.

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At last light we decided to bust out the predator call.   After 15 minutes of calling Zack spotted a coyote 600 yards away along the fence line.  I dialed in my scope to 20x and got setup to take a shot if the coyote presented myself with an opportunity.  I lost sight of the coyote and continued to scan the long grass for the small furry figure.  Quickly I looked left and saw a coyote at 150yds staring at me!  I motioned Zack to get the camera on him, and instantly the yote took off running, with another coyote close by.  I guessed my yardage as Zack stopped the coyote with a bark.  Missed high.  Coyote ran another 300yards before stopping again.  Another miss high and the coyote was gone.  It was an awesome coyote stand, and a spark was ignited inside me.  Calling in coyotes is truly an adrenaline rush and anyone who hasn’t tried calling coyotes needs to buy a distress call and do their best Les Johnson impression!

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The next day was spent weeding through more mule deer, once again running into the kicker buck 4×4.  Plans were made and we headed north, looking for new country.  Our afternoon we found an endless amount of smaller bucks and a young 4×4 with great potential in the coming years.  All of the bucks were tied up with does, oblivious most of the time to our presence.  We camped for the night, grilling elk steaks to cap off the day.

 

The next morning we continued further into the breaks.  Finally we found a pocket of land that the landowner had blocked access to trucks or ATVs.  We headed in and instantly saw a couple small bucks chasing does.  We kept our eyes glued to the glass before spotting a large mule deer body in the distance.  It was a buck, and needed a better look.  We closed the distance from 1 mile to 1000yds.  The deer was a tall framed, crazy 3×3, with forks in the back.  The deer’s headgear resembled a small elk rack and  I decided this deer was definitely deserved of a closer look.

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Our only option was to sneak through the coulees in front of us, which put us to within 350yds of the herd.  I finally located the buck bedded in some sage.  He stood, chased some smaller bucks away from his does and then bedded back down, directly behind another sage bush.  I knew this was a deer I wanted to take if given the opportunity.  If the deer stood, he would have to clear the brush in order for me to have a shot.  Zack and I setup, waiting for the deer to make a move.

bedded, buck, mule, muley, deer, montana, rifle, season, wild

I dialed in my Vortex turret to just over 300yds and settled into a sturdy rest on my MR pack.  After 45min of waiting, the buck stood, chasing his does with his nose in the air.  It was awesome watching it all take place through my rifle scope.  This buck was doe crazy and his interaction with the other deer was very entertaining.  The deer finally stopped broadside, I squeezed off, hitting the deer slightly high.  I racked in another HSM round as the deer stopped after a couple steps.  I put one more round into the deer’s vitals, dropping the deer within seconds.  The Snowy Mountain Rifle had done its job, buck down!

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I walked up on the downed deer, checking out his unique looking rack, complete with thick cactus looking bases.  The buck was a cool looking deer, with a ton of character.  Zack said it best at the beginning of our trip, “I don’t hold out looking to shoot a deer that meets someone’s scoring standards, when I see a buck, I just know whether its a deer I want to take or not”.

cactus, bases, montana, mule, deer, muley, crazy, wild, buck

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We deboned the deer and loaded the fresh meat into our Longbows.  We made the hike back through the numerous coulees and breaks back to the truck.

mystery, ranch, montana, wild, longbow, packout, mule, deer, muley, sitka, gearZack and I cracked open some beers and situated the fresh meat into the cooler, watching the light fade fast in the distance.

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The Yeti 160 was starting to fill up, and ready for one more deer.  The road trip was off to a great start!  It was now Zack’s chance to search for a mule deer.

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-Travis