Ryan Bonneau & Brock Munson, The Fly Fishermen
Location: Telluride, CO & Haiku, HI
- Models paddled: AdvancedFrame Kayak.
- Water that they paddle: Mountain and desert lakes/rivers, inshore ocean bays and estuaries.
- What they use their yaks for: Fly Fishing Adventure Travel (film, photography, and writing).
Ryan Bonneau: Ryan has had the San Juan Mountains of SW Colorado to call his backyard for the last 16 years and it’s in their jagged peaks and meadows where he is most at home. Growing up in rural Vermont, Ryan developed a deep love for wild places at a very early age. While living in Telluride, CO his photography turned into an obsession and then a career. Even though adventure traveling and exploration of the wildest corners of the earth has dominated most of his adult life, Ryan still treasures each day spent in the mountains and rivers around Telluride.
Brock Munson: Ever the nomad, Brock just can’t seem to sit still. He grew up spending his childhood days on the beaches of San Clemente in sunny Southern California. As an adult he has covered just about every nook and cranny of the Southwestern US as well as the Pacific Northwest. From oceans to mountains his love for wild places has taken him to a myriad of environments. A jack of all trades, Brock’s extensive list of careers includes Alaska expedition leader, Hawaii boat captain and Colorado science instructor. His current graphic design career may seem low key but it allows him the great benefit of traveling with his work while fulfilling dreams of adventure. His home base is Maui, Hawaii where the warm, salt air and laid back lifestyle beckons him back time and again after adventures abroad.
Ryan’s photography has been featured in National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Sierra Club, Backpacker, Kayak Fish Magazine, the Arizona Tourism Department and a variety of other publications. Ryan’s and Brock’s fly fishing adventures were finally manifested recently in an online hub called Chasing Scale where they document their trips with creative essays and short films. They also share travel tips and offer unique merchandise designs. Their adventures would not be possible without their Advanced Elements kayaks. The inflatables truly are integral components that help to foster their exploration. After all, the water exploration is what fuels their spirit. They much prefer to zigzag their way to feisty fish instead of taking the easy path. Keep tabs on their adventures through their Instagram account @chasingscale
Favorite AE Story…so far:
We were in Chile’s Tierra del Fuego in the Fall of 2018. It was the end of the road and the farthest south either of us had ever been. It felt like the end of the world. We were staring at the Darwin Mountains named for the famous naturalist that conducted studies in the region many moons ago. Our month long, 3500km journey through Patagonia, a trip of a lifetime, was nearing its end. The four weeks prior was a cornucopia of formidable roads, craggy mountains, massive glaciers, charming little towns, cutting rivers, gin clear lakes, big fish, wind, rain and snow. In that moment, we found ourselves parked next to a beautiful river. After referencing the map, we learned that the river drained a big lake to the east, eventually working its way west and ultimately emptying into an inland system of fjords not far from the open ocean. A recent dusting of snow on the surrounding mountains added quite the backdrop to what looked like a very “fishy” river. It was one final chance to land a mythical sea run brown trout. Accessing the fishable water, however, would be a challenge. The section by the car ran fast and heavy. We didn’t dare to risk putting the kayaks in at that spot for fear of catastrophe in such a remote place. Instead, we loaded the kayaks in the carrying duffel bags and packed them on our backs through rough terrain and finally reached safe, fishable water. After inflating the boats, we put-in and worked the river casting big streamers to promising runs and pools. The sun was low on the horizon as the day and our time fishing in this magical place was in the twilight hours. The setting was truly ethereal. We decided to park the kayaks and enjoy the fleeting moment, launch a few more casts and take a few photos. Was it divine intervention? Who knows. But just then, time seemed to stand still. With golden light casting deep shadows on a terrain of unimaginable beauty and the river reflecting the unforgettable scene above, what seemed perfect got even better. Something big took Ryan’s fly and a fight followed suit. The beast moved into the weeds and after a lengthy struggle, the fish was free not a foot from Ryan’s waiting net. So close! The excitement was palpable. After few casts of my own, I had one on! Minutes later, I hoisted the biggest brown trout of my life. Ryan’s next cast landed him a beauty of equal size. It might have simply been the timing of that moment, but those fish were the most beautiful I’ve ever had the pleasure of holding. With their safe return to their life in that river so too did we return to our lives back home.
Checkout the chronicles of their trip Patagonia trip here: Chasing Scale-Patagonia