I've gotten a few emails and phone calls over the last couple weeks - most of them wanting to book dates in Montana, which is a good thing. Others, a surprising amount actually, ask the dreaded question. "Hey Rooster, why in the heck haven't you updated the blog lately? I mean really, a month? What the heck have you been doing?"
Well, the answer is Fishing. A lot. In some pretty damned cool spots. Web access has been a bit scarce, and my cell phone is searching for service more often than not. I personally prefer it that way.

This year we have been fortunate enough to fish in Mexico for 3 weeks prior to our annual migration to the coast in search of Wild Steelhead. Pretty safe to say I have the best tan of the bunch out here in Forks. At least I did a couple weeks ago. The rainforest has drained a bit of the color - but when I peel off the waders, layers and silk liner socks - I still have brown feet, which reminds me of that last Permit. The one that didn't eat. OK maybe he ate - lets call it the one I couldn't hook. What a memory. Moments later my wife got a hook in a 20 pounder with Brian Grossenbacher in the boat with her. I am guessing that she would not have caught that fish had I stuck the first one. Everything happens for a reason they say. I agree. I call it a good trip when the last cast produces the fish of a lifetime for your wife. On Valentines Day. Every now and then old Rooster gets it right.

Sure there are plenty of other memories - like putting a snake in Grossenbachers Toilet. That ranks up there with the top pranks I have pulled off on an unsuspecting friend. Maybe I spend a few minutes a day thinking of that 4 permit day with my attorney - Joel Silverman.

Then I start drifting off to those two permit that Tyler and I cast at in the wayyyyyy back of the bay. The kind of Permit you really want your buddy to stick - nope we didn't catch either of them, but when Carlos says "Nice Cast" - you have done your part. He is a man of few words, and one of the best Permit Guides I have ever been on a boat with. Oh, and then there was the Snook fishing, and the spiders, and the sunsets, and the Superbowl on the beach. There was the Barracuda that stole my crab from a Permit, who I promptly caught and retrieved said crab fly. How about those belt buckles that KT brought for everyone? I guess that's why we go on trips. They go by in a whirlwind, but you can spend days recalling some of the moments, the fish, the laughs and the stranger you met in the airport in Dallas that is going to book a week in Montana with us. This year was the first year I spent longer than one week in Mexico - and it wont be the last. Two hosted trips to Playa Blanca Lodge and a week with the family in Sayulita. Life is good.

It looks like next February we are going to shoot for three weeks at Playa Blanca. I am waiting on dates from the lodge, and will have a better idea in the near future of the exact dates. It'll go something like this - week one over Valentines day, for a couples trip. Week two, we are going to incorporate a "School" atmosphere and try and bring some of our returning guests to the next level of flats fishing. Evening presentations on everything from knots to double hauls. The last week will be a bit more fishing focused - with some sort of tournament being the theme. Prizes from Scott Rods, Hatch Reels and Simms will be on the table the last night. Oh, and we may drink a bit more during that week. Here are a few of the photos from the trip -

Week one - "Getting the Band back together" with Tyler, Nick, Biker, Miracle man, Van Dyke, KT and your truly. The guys that look like they know what they are doing are Jose, Jorge, Antonio and Andres. Fishy dudes.


Joel's first Permit. His second one he broke off on the hookset! Way to go fool!


I even got in on a bit of action that day. Lesson learned - when you think your tired of standing on the pointy end of the boat - give it a few more minutes. Thanks Joel!


That turned out to be a pretty good bite for a couple hours - after Joel broke one off, I found another hungry one.


With less than perfect weather for most of the week, we had to make the most of our chances. Some worked out, some didn't. As always the day I spent with Tyler was relatively quiet, two good shots at not hungry Permit, and one cooperative Baby Tarpon.


And on Saturday we had a whole new batch of pale white faces..... some considerably better looking than others! Dayna, Jimmy, Marney, Charlie, Kim, Shanny, Bubba, Chris and Brian. Needless to say, some of Brians shots from the week will be seen in media over the next year. I left my camera in the Pelican case for most of this week - but got a handful of shots.


Overall it was a great week - spending time with my wife on the flats. Sometimes you just have to leave the camera alone and take it all in. It IS as big as it seems.


And now it's on to Steelhead. Another month and a half here in Forks, where, if this weather ever straightens out we may see a few more of these.


With expected future rain delays, I will keep the photos coming. For now, its worth mentioning that most of these storms are making their way to Montana, where we are having a "real" winter for a change. Looks like we will have some water to fish this summer!

Thanks for reading - keep casting!


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Stonefly Inn & Outfitters, Dan "Rooster" Leavens

409 N Main Street,

PO Box 428,

Twin Bridges, MT 59754

Phone. 406-684-5648