Lisa Filigenzi-Brown fishes for bass in Pena Blanca Lake. Photo by Dave Brown

As a fly fishing guide and outfitter, and a former fly shop owner and manager, I look back and forward to my time spent in the industry and the people I have met and fished with along the way. There are my clients that I guide every year and, like them, look forward to our annual trips. There has been a string of industry pros that I have fished with, including well-known authors, photographers, and tackle manufacturers’ representatives, all of whom are very into the sport. When we are fishing, it’s very hardcore. The pressure is on, as they are there to catch fish. I enjoy the challenge of figuring what the fish are doing and what flies they want to eat. When it all comes together, a sense of accomplishment prevails.

In another few weeks, I will make my journey up to Montana and Alberta to kick off our fly fishing season, and of course I am looking forward to it.

In the meantime, I take advantage of my down time to do work around the house, train dogs, and tie flies. It’s also a good time to get out with Lisa and enjoy some time together. Yesterday after completing some “Honey Do’s,” I suggested to Lisa that we hook up the boat and trailer and check out Pena Blanca Lake. She was all in, so off we went. 

After stopping at Subway in Nogales, we arrived at the lake around 10a.m. I quickly launched the boat and rowed it over to a small bay south of the ramp. Lisa began casting a streamer towards the reeds along the bank. Compared to my northern fishing trips, things were very chilled out. We watched, and tried to identify, the numerous birds that live along the lake, ranging from red winged blackbirds to Mexican ducks. We startled a coues deer that had come down for a drink of water, and we eventually solved some of the world’s problems.

Lisa being Lisa, she always asks me to fish, which I decline as I want to get used to rowing a drift boat again. As this day unfolded, her casting steadily improved and she began to drop her streamer with pinpoint accuracy, then stripping it back to the boat only to repeat the process again. There were a few tugs which she did not connect with. Then it happened: a bass ate her fly. She set, fought, and landed it. We briefly admired the bass, then released it back into the lake.

It was a great moment for Lisa, and I think an even greater moment for me, as I had guided her into fish, a feeling that will become common as I head into my fly fishing season. What was not present that day was the pressure to “produce,” which I thoroughly enjoyed.

It was time to load up and go home to feed dogs, horses and the token cat. It was a perfect mini-escape. We both had a great day and, as always, look forward to doing it again.

Flies that worked :

Dark Semi Seal Leaches sizes #6-#8 

Kreelex Streamers (Silver &Gold) #4 

All were fished on a #7 wt. -12 Ft HD Sink Tip Line