Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Do the Right Thing Umpqua Feather Merchants

If you follow me on social media you may have seen a post I put up this week calling out Umpqua Feather Merchants for tying a dozen of my patterns now for nearly 4-5 years without my permission or paying me royalties on my patterns aka my “intellectual property”. In the end this is not new news…it has been going on like I said for nearly 4 to 5 years sense the take over of Idylwilde (my former fly company) by Umpqua. At the time I turned down a contract offered to me by Umpqua, I personally asked Umpqua to not tie my flies as the did not have my permission nor did I accept their contract offer. In the end I helped my good friend and the owner of Idylwilde, Zach Mertens, in a law suit against Umpqua, that was settled in Zachs favor out of court and Umpqua has continued for nearly 5 years to tie my flies without my permission. Calling them the same thing as I do/did and only removing my name.

In the mean time I signed a contract with Montana Fly Company (www.montanaflyco.com) vowed to continue to innovate, ties flies that catch fish, and support the sport and industry that I love. Not being jaded or scarred by the actions of a few or the fall out of corporate dealings which I am sure I do not have all the information about or am privy to. I vowed to not let the fact that another company was tying my flies bother me and just use it to fuel my innovation. All the flies they tie are over 10-15 years old, and I have come up with, I think, much more successful patterns sense that are now tied by Montana Fly Co. I even a year ago emailed and talked with, then fly manager at Umpqua, Brian Schmidt trying to mend fences and apologize for maybe things I said or did that were un-professional or just plain mean in the heat of dealings during the fall out. I hoped that by my extension of an Olive branch that maybe Umpqua would do the right thing….they didn’t.

That said to continue to stand by why a company continues to tie my flies and people profit off my ideas without my permission or blessing is not OK. I guess I feel like I have to at least speak up and speak out. I have a quote in my classroom that says “He Who Does Not Have the Courage to Speak Up for his Rights Can Not Earn the Respect of Others.” I read it earlier this week and thought about my kids, Oliver 8 and Beckett 6, and the values I am trying to teach them on a daily basis and that it is time to live what I have been trying to teach them.

I understand that in the fly business companies rip off or tie other companies tiers patterns, but only if the customer demand is great enough and even then it is usually only a pattern or two. There has always been somewhat of an honor among thieves. For example everyone ties the copper john, the stimulator, or the Clouser Minnow…but not all of John Barrs Flies or Bob Clousers flies.

I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt and that people will eventually do the right thing. Call me naïve, but I have to believe this or my whole belief structure would crumble. I have spent most of my adult life in an effort to give back, or in some way pay for the blessing I have received myself. I quite guiding full time to teach high school as it has so much potential for making positive impacts on lives of young people, I coached high school baseball for 8 years because I saw that I could further my impact on youth through athletics, I helped my friend Ryan Johnston grow our non profit Cast Hope (www.casthope.org) from a budget of $20,000 to over a quarter million allowing us to share the outdoors through the sport of fly fishing with kids and their mentors throughout Northern California and Western Nevada and soon, very soon, even further. I have continued to guide because I love fly fishing and I love guiding. I take new guides under my wing every year, share what I have learned without hesitation with anyone that asks, and work hard to grow and preserve the sport and the places I love. I operate on the principal that what I do for myself will die with me and what I do for the world and others will live on long after I am gone.

In the end I am asking Umpqua to stop tying my flies. I am not concerned about the money, while it would be nice if they paid me back royalties on all the money they have made off my flies I think that may be asking to much from corporate America. What I am asking is that they stop selling and tying my flies. I have no “do this” or else in my back pocket, I just think that it is the right thing to do and I am entitled to ask. I am sure that pulling 12 patterns from their catalog of thousands will not hurt their bottom line and in the end it is the right thing to do.

If you would like to help me in this crusade you can

-       share my post on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/hgbflyfishing) , Instagram (@htothegtotheb), or twitter (@htothegtotheb) with #dotherighthingumpqua
-       message @umpquafeathermerchants on Facebook, Instagram, or twitter using the hash tag #dotherightthingumpqua
-       email Umpqua@umpqua.com asking them to stop tying my flies for the 2018 season as it is the right thing to do.
-       When buying my flies ask your local fly shop if they purchased them from Umpqua or Montana Fly Co. If they are purchased from Umpqua don’t buy them…call or email me and I will tell you where to find Montana Fly Co. “Hogan” Flies or send you what you need.
-       DO NOT boycott all Umpqua flies. As that may hurt Umpqua, but it also hurts the tiers and there are a lot of great tiers and people that tie for Umpqua. Mike Mercer, Morgan Thalken, and many others I don’t know personally but have no desire to hurt as I know what it is like to rely on royalty checks to pay the bills.
-       Share with others this blog post and story.

You may say lawyer up and go after Umpqua…Ya I guess I could, but I don’t think there is any win there. I am a high school teacher, fly fishing guide, fly tier, author…I don’t have the money to take on a corporate giant. I also believe people will eventually do the right thing. I believe in the power of people and putting pressure on a company like Umpqua in such a small industry and world like our own who does wrong I hope will not be tolerated. So, even if you don’t feel obliged to do anything – I understand completely and don’t think any less of you my friendly reader if you don’t – We are all inundated with ills and wrongs in our world daily and asked to act, help, or support financially, I hope that you all help in your own way the causes that are important to you. In the end though now you know what Umpqua is doing and you can share this with others…oh and Knowing is Half the Battle!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Not much fishing but stuff to fill a bit of down time while staring at your computer or phone.

I am not going to dress it up…there isn’t a lot going on fishing wise. The Sac, Feather, and Yuba are ripping and flooding in some areas with the latest rain and there is more rain to come…. Personally, I haven’t been out on the water in over a month. Some of my buddies and fellow guides have been getting some days in on the Coast steelhead fishing between storms, some have gotten a few days here and there on the Trinity, and there has been some windows to get out spotted bass fishing on Lake Oroville but I haven’t done any of those…….So what have I been doing well…tying flies, playing music, hanging out with family, working on cast hope stuff, making sour dough bread from scratch…indoor activities.

Nice Oroville spot caught with Ryan Williams

Nice Oroville spot with Guide Ryan Williams out on a Cast Hope Trip

So, I have been tying a TON of flies…my boxes are bulging at the seams to the degree I am going to be selling some flies at upcoming events (see events below) and via my blog here shortly. I have been mainly tying striper flies and spring steelhead/trout nymphs and swinging flies. PMD’s, march browns, and yuba/feather swinging flies mainly for trout and steelhead with piles of striper flies to stick in stumps all summer…With striper flies I am working on various styles of Ryan Williams bait fish adding rattles and working on making rattle flies track right with adding weight and such…super nerdy stuff that I only have time for cause I am not guiding or fishing. Good fun though…

Filling Striper boxes...I'll have some left over to sell I am sure.

Couple Spring "Swing" flies

Lots of PMD's, March Browns, and Caddis .... and some streamers

Royal Oaks (my rock and roll outfit) has been working on our first full length and have 10 songs about 90% finished…need to re-do some vocals, add some over dubs, and then see where we are at. It has been really fun working with Chris Keene at Cutter Cathedral in Chico and putting our songs down on tape so to say. In the end music is a total hobby and we jokingly refer to ourselves as the “dad band” or “dad rock” but we do take it seriously and write music about mostly serious topics…mostly.
spread of the session 1 and 2 laying down drums and bass at Oragami studio

The multi instrumentalist Brett Renlund tickling the Ivory

I have pedal addiction...

It is a busy time of year for my boys as Beckett is starting spring soccer and both Oliver and Beckett are starting baseball…Beckett had his first soccer practice this last week in-between storms and his team is pretty legit this year. He really likes soccer and is “left footed” which I guess in the soccer world is a big deal. His coach this year is a “legit” soccer coach and not just a dad helping out which I think is going to be really good for him sense I know NOTHING about soccer except the goal is to kick the ball in the other teams goal. On the baseball front we have been playing catch in the colde’sac and trying not to break any of the windows of our neighbors cars or create large enough dents in them that dad has to “leave a note” or go knock on the door.

My kids have also gotten into riding their bikes at the local City of Chico “pump track”…It is a really cool facility that the City of Chico with AMain Hobbies built. There is a smaller track and a bigger track for all ages.  I took the boys out there a few times and stood around in the freezing cold and watched but there was a bunch of guys my age out there with bikes riding around with their kids so….I bought a “pump track bike”… I grew up racing BMX so it is not a huge step outside the box but I haven’t raced sense I was 15 or 16 years old and lets be honest at 37 I may of lost some of my BMX skills…that said my goal is to not have my tires leave the ground and just cruise around following my kids, not freezing sitting watching.

Death Trap...

Cast Hope wise I have been rounding up auction items for the Fly Fishing Show After Party and working on planning that event and a few other Big Events we have coming up this year…as these events grow they really require year round work, preparing, planning, and organizing. The After Party on Feb 25th is ounce again after the Fly Fishing Show in Pleasanton at Handles Gastron Pub in Old Town Pleasanton. 855 Main St. Pleasanton from 5-8:30pm. Tickets are $20 and include all the beer you can drink and Sliders and Wings. We will have a FULL Raffle (usually our best of the year) and a silent auction that is as good as any we host. Many of the auction items are already up on our website to bid on - http://www.casthope.org/events/auctions - There are trips to AK, Guided Trips, Rods, and Warrior Tickets up NOW to bid on.
come one come all!!!!

My other new “hobby” is making sour dough bread from scratch…My buddy and drummer in Royal Oaks got me into by bringing fresh baked sourdough to Christmas dinner this year. So he gave me a mason jar of his “starter” and I am all in…Make the dough letting it rise then needing it and letting rise more and baking it. I have been starting 2 loafs most afternoons/early evenings and then needing them when I get home from school the next day then letting them rise until about 6pm and then putting them in the dutch oven and having fresh bread for a late dinner snack or giving them away to friends. So far I have just white sourdough loafs down, I tried a whole wheat sour dough and a white cinnamon raisin loaf…all amazing. I am taking a break though for a week or so to work off some of the carbs and clean the flour from all the nooks and crannies in my kitchen…

my first loaf...little burned but nothing a bit of butter can't solve
This weekends batch...getting better.

Upcoming Events

The Yuba Jubilee is coming up February 18th, 2017 from 1-4pm at Hammon Grove on the Yuba River. The Jubilee will showcase guides, clubs, fly shops, environmental groups, and state agencies that all working hard to protect the wild populations of salmon, steelhead, and trout making the Lower Yuba River the best it can be. I will be there with my good buddy and fellow guide Chuck Ragan (http://crflyfishing.com.com) working the “Hogan Brown Fly Fishing” and “Cast Hope” booths. I will have free stickers and some schwag at both booths as well as some hand tied flies at my guide both for sale. I can’t think of the last time I have tied flies for sale so this is a special opportunity to get some of my patterns that are not in production as well as some that are. All reasonably priced…normal fly prices.

The Fly Fishing Show Feb 25th – I will be at the Cast Hope booth and if I have any flies left over I will have a few to sell or trade for various cool stuff…bobble heads, baked good, burned CDS of moderate passed rock music, Americana, aka music I may like as…I will also be helping with the After Part mentioned above.