Sage, Redington, & Rio’s “A Day for Bristol Bay”


Sage, Redington and Rio step up big for Bristol Bay.

Sage, Redington and Rio have committed a day of production from their Bainbridge factory to help support our film Red Gold (which is nearing completion by the way) and TU AK’s continued grassroot efforts to combat the proposed Pebble Mine. The triumvirate is not messing around either. We are talking a donation in upwards of $100,000 and you can be a part of it too.

Here is the deal. By designating “A day for Bristol Bay” Sage in setting aside one day of production of its 9 foot 8 weight Z-Axis paired with a Redington CD 7/8 Reel and Rio’s new Gold Fly line. It is the complete package and one that both Ben and I fished with all summer while shooting Red Gold. The crazy thing is that they are donating all the proceeds from the day of production to help in the fight against Pebble Mine, but supplies are limited and the response has already been amazing. Folks are also going beyond merely purchasing the rods and donating on top of the sales price.

Help support Trout Unlimited’s work to save Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed from proposed development of one of the largest open pit and underground mines in the world– purchase a limited edition Save Bristol Bay rod and reel set –there are less then 100 outfits left. Plus $200 of your purchase price will be donated by Sage, Redington & Rio to Trout Unlimited ‘s work in Alaska.


Remembering Ben’s cat

Yes, our Felt Soul T-Shirt model is single and she prefers guys who aren’t nice.

I have a crap load of Felt Soul news to report. First off, we made T-shirts. They’re inspired by and dedicated to my dead kitty “Mila.” She was gray, adorable and enjoyed eating mice slowly while they were still alive and spraying piss on down jackets and comforters. My roommates were not fond of her due to the overwhelming stench of urine on their beds. One roommate whom I won’t mention by name [Drew Ludwig] drop- kicked her out of his loft. She recovered, but continued to only use her litter box for going number two. Another roommate named Ryan Bonneau had planned on removing her tail for use as a Taimen stimulator pattern in Mongolia. Turns out she died of a severe kidney infection and couldn’t help peeing where she slept. The poor thing didn’t know what she was doing wrong. I had to give her an IV to hydrate her for the final days of her life and Ryan ended up burying her while I was out of town. One sec, I have to wipe the tears off my keyboard… ok, I’m good now. So that’s the story of Felt Soul’s first T-shirt. We made a small batch to see if anyone would actually buy one, and they’re on the website under “The Merch.”

This is Fly’s design is edgy, and makes us feel more important than we are.

“This is Fly” , a web site entirely too steezy for the sport of fly fishing has honored us with another article on what we’re up to. They asked me to write the intro [my first ever published writing I warn you] and Travis fielded their questions about our Red Gold project toward the end. You can find our story “Giving a Voice to the People of Bristol Bay” on page 63. I think This is Fly is the future of magazines. As wonderful as it is to have something tangible that you can flip through and then leave in the bathroom for six months, it just seems wasteful. Thisis the link to our previous story:

To our utter disbelief, The New York Times asked Travis and I to produce a short profile on the sport of Skier Cross for their website during ESPN’s Winter X-Games. After jumping up and down and high-fiving like a couple cheerleaders on Ritalin we said “yeah, sure… maybe we could squeeze that in if you’re lucky.” We’ve never filmed or edited on deadline before, so it was a brutal shock to our natural instinct to procrastinate. ESPN only allowed us to film during a couple hours of practice so getting all the shots we needed from a mile-long course was challenging. We finished filming on a Friday afternoon and didn’t wrap the editing until 9am on Saturday. With no sleep and enough Red Bull to implode a rhinoceros heart we had pulled it off. The short was supposed to be centered around Daron Rahlves, the most decorated alpine downhill skier in American history but he didn’t give us much to work with on camera. He still has a decent role thankfully because he went on to take the gold medal thus making our piece more newsworthy. Who knows if we’ll ever hear from the Times again, but either way it was a huge honor for Felt Soul. Here’s the link if you want to take a gander. It’s 4 minutes long and starts with an annoying commercial that you can’t skip.

Cougarville, Florida USA

Telluride Mountainfilm Festival’s signature prayer flags in WaterColor, Florida. Photo by Ben Knight

I walked up the stairs to the bar and there was Travis, literally surrounded by six young-man hungry Florida Cougars. They were touching him and making inappropriate comments about how adorable he was. I locked eyes with him, he looked like a dog in traffic. I quickly turned around to exit the awkwardness and before I could retreat I heard “this is my friend Ben.” It was too late, I flipped back around and let the old women play with my hair and giggle at us while slamming red wine as if it were their fountain of youth. Their pre-menopausal sexual predation instinct was on fire, and Travis and I had wandered into their $90 all-you-can-taste wine festival habitat. Just when we thought all hope was lost for a quick getaway, world champion fly fisher and Felt Soul movie star Frank Smethurst showed up. “This is our friend Frank, he has his own TV show.” We were saved. I’d like to recommend that Florida’s Division of Wildlife begin a wild cougar relocation program [WCRP]. Simply tranquilize the wild animals with a dart gun at the bar when they approach a male over 15 years younger, load them into a cage and humanely release them back into their homes with their third husbands.

I’ve been told by a tarpon junkie that a photo of migrating tarpon is somewhat rare. They must be leaving Location X, which turns out is just off the coast of Arkansas. Photo by Ben Knight

If anyone was curious as to why the three of us were in Florida: The Telluride Mountainfilm Festival has a tour show In WaterColor, a small ritzy beach community on Florida’s panhandle. They were kind enough to invite us for the two-day event so we could introduce Running Down the Man and show the Red Gold trailer. Someone was dumb enough to let us borrow cruiser bikes that we thrashed like mountain bikes all weekend. Although clunky and rusty, they handled quite well in the air. A local Tarpon and Red Fish junkie named Captain David Mangum filled our daily fishing needs while a nearby kickball league left Travis and I so sore we went home with limps. If you haven’t played kickball since elementary school recess, I highly recommend giving it another go. I’m tired of writing now, but if you’re interested in the subject of the drunk kick boxing Russian vs. the sushi chef, let me know. Long story short, drunk kick boxing Russian: [2 kicks and 3 punches landed on Sushi Chef’s temporal lobe] Sushi Chef: [no contact made with Russian]

Huge thanks to John, Peter, Justin, David, Jason, Andy, Tether, Hillary, Corey, Randy, Melissa, Jonathon, Paula, the kickball crew and the WaterColor community for such a fun weekend. I’d also like to thank Florida for the brilliant addition of crab cakes to eggs Benedict.

Felt Soul’s quest for a big-ass hole


Quest fulfilled-the Bingham Canyon mine as seen from 10,500 feet. Note: there used to be mountains there. Photo by Ben Knight

As a child growing up in a trailer park, I was fond of big holes and
ditches. You know, things to hide in so I could ambush Isaac the
unsuspecting kid from next door. It was all fun and games until he got
hit between the eyes with a roofing nail. Still makes me laugh,
thinking back, but at the moment it was terrifying. We had progressed
from bending tree limbs back and letting them go when Isaac was within
beheading range to bloodshed. Anyways, holes have many practical uses
besides booby traps and ambushes. They are especially useful for the
extraction of minerals such as copper, gold and molybdenum.

Travis and I traveled to a remote native Mormon village called Salt
Lake City on Tuesday to get some aerial footage of the only man-made
excavation claimed to be visible from space. This thing is deeper than
an episode of LOST. I know that seems impossible, but it’s true. The
Mormons are apparently trying to find China. Our theory is that
showing an existing open pit mine similar to the proposed size of Pebble would be an important thing for Alaska to consider when they vote on whether or not to kill half the World’s salmon. Oops, there I
go giving my opinion again. Sorry, forget that you just read that.

Huge thanks to Sama at Lighthawk ( for all the help
with arranging our flight over the mine site and “props” [get it?] to
Larry the pilot for being awesome and keeping the oily side down.

Bingham Canyon Mine Stats:

*Number of Mormons it would take to fill the open pit: almost all of them

*Amount of copper excavated so far: 17 million tons

*Depth: 3,960 feet

*Width: 2.5 miles

*The mine has nothing to do with Mormons, just to clarify.

Mountain Home Exit


God damn that’s one big hole – Travis shoots the Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah – Photo by Ben Knight

If you ever need to get in touch with Ben and need an immediate or timely response – start texting. Here is a dated exchange of ours from September as we tried to catch up somewhere in Idaho. Ben had just put the finishing touches on the final version of the trailer and I was headed back to CO after floating the Rogue River…

Ben Knight (9/9 6:51pm): Call me
Me (9/10 11:07am): Headed into boise now. About 1 hour out. you?
Ben Knight (9/10 11:07am): Haven’t left town yet
Ben Knight (9/10 11:50 am): Let’s meet at green river i-70 maybe
Me (9/11 11:50am): Headed to highway 84 now from riv
Message Failed
Status Information:
(256) Unknown Cause Code
Original Sent at
9/11/07 10:47am

Ben Knight (9/11 9:17am): What up?
Ben Knight (9/11 9:32am): Left a dvd for you inside newspaper box @ jack in the box@mountainhome exit.
Ben Knight (9/11 9:34am):Undernearth-not inside actually…
Me (9/11 12:15pm): No u turn for us. Super bummed we missed each other. Can you overnight some dvds on the fsm amex?
Me (9/12 10:06am): Holy shit dude you have me all teared up. You killed it.
Ben Knight (9/11 10:10am): Glad you liked it buddy

The original DVD trailer still lies dormant underneath the newspaper box next to the Jack in Box at the Mountain Home, ID exit off of I-84. She is all yours for the taking.

Raw Lobe…

Felt Soul Post Production Studios, AKA Ben’s bedroom. Telluride, Colorado.

The Red Gold trailer is here folks, check this bitch out:
[may take a minute or 12 to load]

I know, I know, it’s like we abandoned the blog as if it were that cute baby rabbit you begged for as child and then left it in the cage in the backyard when you realized it smelled like mold and had a taste for blood.

What you’ve missed: [in the last month and a half… sorry.]

Our final task before leaving Alaska was to interview Bruce Jenkins, the COO of Northern Dynasty. He is the 5 time undisputed Canadian freestyle condescending champion. He spoke down to us through the entire interview as if we were reporters for the high school newspaper. His favorite hobby is to question your question, which I’m guessing is a well honed corporate skill. In the end, Bruce served his purpose, and after 2 months Travis and I were on our way home.

On the flight home I got a rubber ear bud from my headphones lodged in my right ear. All I wanted was to go home in peace, but no, I was digging in my ear canal at 30,000 feet with the male end of my headphones while Travis slept like a baby. I’m pretty sure the Mother across the aisle told her two children to stay away from the obsessed ear probing freak when the plane landed. After 3 hours of fucking with my now raw lobe, the plane landed in Denver. I put Travis on my left side [so I could hear what he was saying] and asked if the tweezers were still in the med kit.

To bring you up to date, we waded through all 43 hours of footage, labeled and logged every clip using Final Cut Pro and edited the trailer for Red Gold in two weeks, just in time for Drake Magazine’s five minutes of flyfishing film festival. We didn’t even expect to be entered into the competition due to the fact that it was a trailer, but to our absolute disbelief, we were honored with the “Best Overall Film” title for the second year in a row. [Last year was for Running Down the Man] Needless to say, Red Gold is for real, and we’re both proud as hell to be a part of this thing. Many thanks to Drake editor Tom Bie for hosting another rad event. If you’re looking for us this winter, we’ll be pretty easy to find: Either in Ben’s room to the left of his bed editing or walking to the store to get more Red Bull and those new Boulder brand balsamic rosemary potato chips. Our longest film to date was 17 minutes I think, so wish us luck. We’re thinking 45 minutes maybe? Who knows.

Dear Steve Jobs, may your expensive Mac and Final Cut Pro bless us with blazing fast ram and dependable hard drives. Amen.

Keep the oily side down…

sockeye_funnel.jpgExhibit A: This is a photo that I’ve had in my head for months, and wasn’t sure if I’d ever get. I got it today. This is, without a doubt, the single most incredible thing I have ever seen in Mother Nature’s bag of tricks. Mind blowing. Tens of thousands of sockeye stacked three-deep in a river most people would call a creek. This is something worth protecting. Photo by Ben Knight

Quote of the Day: “It’s another good day of flying as long as you keep the oily side down.” —Not-so-funny bush pilot humor.

bear1.jpgSpent about an hour with this lovely family. Photo by Ben Knight

Close enough to piss your waders. That is how close we were. 18 grizzly bears in 3 river miles. They were chasing salmon, eating salmon brains, napping in the bushes, rolling playfully in the tundra and doing belly flops into the river. There were wet ones, smelly ones, cute fluffy blond ones, old grumpy ones, cubs and a mom that was in no mood to breast feed. The moments that got to me were when they looked into your eyes [before you had a chance to look away] and when you strolled past a bush and there they were, 20 feet away. It doesn’t take long to get your heart up to warp speed. Needless to say, we’re finally getting the “intimate” wildlife footage we hoped for. Many thanks to our guide Todd at the Alaskan Sportsman’s Lodge.

This is when you want to quickly row your little raft in a less menacing direction. No rapids to speak of, but I’d call this a class IV wouldn’t you? Photo by Ben Knight