Whether it's the "sticks" on a drift boat or the sticks used in piloting a drone, flyfishing guide Andres Gonzales has it dialed.
In addition to being one heck of a fish-finder and outstanding fellow, Andres is a professional filmmaker and photographer, and his flyfishing videos have been featured at festivals throughout North- and South America. If you're fortunate enough to spend a day in his boat, one of the highlights will be seeing the drone in action. Look up and you just might find your mug in his latest project. Hook up and you'll be Superstar for the Day.
It all starts with the meticulous assembly. The rotors are attached. The GPS coordinates fixed. Andres snaps his iPhone into place on the control panel, which will act as his "eyes" from the drone's camera. He sees what it sees. With a price tag of $1,500 and a top speed of more than 30 kilometres per hour, it's a stunning piece of technology.
The rapt clients enjoy lunch as the drone begins its ascent above the Elk River. "Go buzz Dave," I suggest to Andres, referring to our esteemed Commander in Chief at Dave Brown Outfitters, who's pulled his boat over a few hundred yards upriver. "Okay," Andres says. "But I'm glad he doesn't have a shotgun."
A crow watches from a nearby tree, and swallows continue to swoop over the river. If they're feeling threatened by this new airborne emissary, it doesn't show. The drone buzzes like the biggest bee you've ever seen, times 10.
The fishing's been superb on the Elk River and surrounding streams this season - one of the best starts ever. Joining the drone in the sky are daily hatches of Green Drakes, Pale Morning Duns, and, most evenings, orange-bellied caddisflies. With hotter weather on the horizon, we should start seeing terrestrials any time now - hoppers and flying ants.
Once the drone has buzzed Dave and returned unscathed, Andres skillfully guides it in and reaches up to pluck it from the sky as if picking an apple from a tree. Mission accomplished. More footage for upcoming vidoes and more clients marvelling at this 21st-century wonder. Too see an example of Andres' award-winning video, visit his website.
Meanwhile, for the best that Western Canadian flyfishing has to offer, book your next trip with Orvis-endorsed Dave Brown Outfitters. We can't guarantee you a drone cameo, but we can guarantee the hardest-working guides in the business and a trip to remember.