Mel & Neil’s Big Trout, Exotic Location and Low Cost Adventure with Mel and Neil Light
Most fly fishers dream of an exciting and fulfilling fishing trip that they can design themselves, prepare for and then spend a month or so experiencing. It’d be like a dream of the ultimate fly fishing adventure totally under their control. What fun, right?
But how many people do this? Well, at this month’s meeting you’re going to meet two who have done this, and more than once. Mel and Neil Light are true fly fishing fanatics. In fact Mel, a member and past-president of Wilderness Fly Fishers, even writes a column that appears in his club’s newsletter, Mending the Line, called just that, “The Fishing Fanatic.” And Mel’s older brother, Neil, is considered by many to be even more of a fanatic about our sport than Mel.
Last year, they researched, planned, then conducted even more research, constantly adjusting their plans, and then they took off for the bottom of Argentina and South America. They packed all their own gear and camping equipment, bought their own plane tickets, hoped to get into a campsite they learned about, also hoped they would be able to find transportation once they got there and boarded their flights, each brother leaving from a different city, which was an adventure in itself. (Mel lives in L.A. and flew from LAX, Neil lives in Santa Rosa and flew from San Francisco.) Their trip lasted a month! And, luckily for us, they shot a good amount of video and lots of pictures.
They had funny experiences, joyous fishing, and some unforeseen problems that were overcome. They have not only great stories to tell, but also enjoyable, humorous and illuminating video to show us. (After Neil’s return home he bought editing software, contracted with a high school student to tutor him on editing, and, through his young tutor and trial and error, became a good editor.) During their adventure, they learned a lot, and luckily for us, we will as well, but without having to live through the difficulties they did. And if you want to see what it is like to catch huge sea-run brown trout, along with big resident brown trout in an amazing river and spring creek at the bottom of Patagonia, all the while traveling around on their own, camping out, going to local grocery stores, cooking most of their own meals, meeting locals, learning the customs and drinking the Argentinian ubiquitous drink that is as popular there as coffee is here (in Argentina it is known to all as “Mate”), don’t miss this presentation.
Mel, Neil and their sister were born in Minnesota, but when they were all toddlers, the family moved to California, settling in Santa Rosa. It was there that the Light brothers became enraptured with fishing. Their parents weren’t fishers, but Neil believes a genetic “bug” must have been passed to them from their grandfather who was a fisherman in Minnesota. In their teens, they both became absolute fishing fanatics.
Mel attended Santa Rosa Junior College before entering the Army, where he served as a 1st Lieutenant in Special Forces in Vietnam. After the Army, Mel settled in SoCal, attended Santa Monica Junior College and started his own landscape contracting company. He backpacked and explored many of the streams in the Sierra and has since fished most of the rivers all around the western states in the U.S. . . . and that means almost all the rivers. For example, last year Mel fished more than 90 days, with his specialty being dry fly fishing using tiny flies. In fact, of the most recent 25 fish Mel caught this year, he got them all on flies size 24 or smaller. He is a creative fly tier, creating many new patterns.
Neil is a woodworking artisan specializing in cabinetry and custom furniture who spends three to six months every year fishing around the globe. He loves to chase trout and steelhead in the U.S. northwest, Canada and Russia, along with saltwater species (tarpon, bonefish and snook) in Florida, South America and Christmas Island in the Pacific. Neil also attended Santa Rosa Junior College and later earned a B.A. degree from Chico State University. He, as well as Mel, is an innovative fly tier and has invented new patterns, including what has become known as “The California Neil.”
These two siblings will be giving a presentation you will enjoy and learn from.