A little R&R back in the Low Country
My first 2 months in Russia was absolutely incredible. Learning a totally new fishery and being able to guide anglers from all over the world was by far a huge step in my career as a fly fishing guide. I fished with anglers from Russia, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Italy, Brazil, Ireland, Argentina, Scotland, Czech Republic, South Africa, England, France, Germany, Canada, and so many other countries. Being able to learn from the team of guides was so great and really helpful in the process of learning the fishery. Targeting Atlantic Salmon on the fly has been one of the best experiences I’ve had not only learning the fishing, but literally living in it. Being able to put anglers on fish in a whole new environment, in a whole new country, has been life changing for me. I really can’t wait to see what will unfold in the next 2 months.
I never thought there would be a day when I would come home to the Low Country for a vacation, but I also never thought I’d be living somewhere else, let alone Russia! The reason for coming home was to relax during the Ponoi River break while the camp closed for 2 weeks. The idea of traveling europe came to mind but didn’t think it would be much fun alone after doing some research on countries I hadn’t seen yet, the tourist thing just wasn’t my kind of vacation. I’ve traveled around europe before and the idea of coming home seemed to just come natural for a vacation. Fishing, waterfestival, sandbar days, my family, friends, dog, redfish, American Food, my boat, house, and so many things that I decided was needed while on my break, and all things I missed dearly!
So I arrived back in the states on July 16th and man was it nice to be home in the Low Country of Beaufort, SC!!! The next morning was probably one of the best sunrises I’ve seen, especially when having 24 hours of day light for 2 months! I woke up at 6am and took my old land cruiser down to the boat landing to watch the sun come up. Everything looked different and I realized right then why we are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place. Sitting there drinking coffee with my Weimaraner Lilla was like a revelation. The spartina grass, oyster banks, pluff mud, fiddler crabs, and even the Broad River itself looked different to me. It was all truly beautiful and after being away for the longest period of time in my life, I could see for myself why people love coming to the place I have always called home.
Sitting there with Lilla that morning was one of those new pages in my life. Being able to look at things in a new way and realize how lucky I was to grow up, and make a career out of the painting laid in front of me that morning. There isn’t a word that can describe how it felt sitting there that morning, but I know thats a day I’ll never forget. The next day I went out with Tuck Scott who is a friend and fellow guide at Bay Street Outfitters. We fished the low tide and had a killer day! The funny thing was how weird it felt not only being on a flats boat again but casting a one handed rod! The 9ft 8wt felt like a 3wt compared to the 15ft 9wt spey rods I’d been throwing for 2 months. But it all came back naturally after seeing the first school of flashing, tailing, happy fish rolling around on the mud flat.
After fishing for Atlantic Salmon 6 days a week for 2 months, it was so nice to be back in my salt water element. As I was holding that first fish of the day I can’t even start to explain how weird it felt simply holding a redfish! With his big ole bull head, fat scales, and beautiful eat on the fly, it reminded me again why I love redfish so much. The difference in Russia compared to the Low Country is like black and white. Both are great fisheries and offer a completely different experience on the water. That morning we landed 3 nice fish on fly and was a great kick start to my vacation and can’t thank Tuck enough for such an awesome morning on the water.
Getting my redfish fix the first 48 hours of being home was perfect and allowed me to then focus on catching up with everyone. Waterfestival is a week long event here in Beaufort thats full of concerts, alcohol, and too many good times. The sandbar weekends were fun as hell and it all seemed to go by in a blur, literally! Got to take my dad and 2 brothers out for a day of fishing which was my favorite part of the break catching som nice fish. It was the first time we were all 3 fishing together since a day on Lake Mead in Las Vegas a few years ago, Strippers and Stripers! Getting to catch up with friends and family was great, and a perfect vacation back at home. I spent almost everyday on the water whether it was fishing, having fun, or just enjoying the freedom of vacation at home.
The time has come to head back for the famous Fall Run on the Ponoi River! I’m flying out today to head back to the camp until October 9th. Super excited for the fall run which is full of fat, chromed out, fresh fish from the ocean. Everybody at camp talks about the Fall Run and I can’t say enough how excited I’am to experience it as guide on the Ponoi River in Russia. Keep an eye out of my next few blogs talking about the Fall run and more stories of guiding on one of the best Atlantic Salmon rivers in world.
Capt. Owen Plair