February 29, 2008

March Madness....

It's February 29th. That in itself is a bit of madness. But now we enter March...and things are getting just ridiculous.

To me March Madness has little to do with basketball...other than I generally go Mad durning the Month of March from being bombarded with basketball coverage and discussion. F basketball. I used to enjoy playing it...probably still could, despite my complete lack of skill...but watching it or even listening to commentary makes my face bleed.

No, for me, there much more important events that March signifies...all of which keep me even a little more unbalanced than usual.

-Spring is fast approaching. This means 2 things:

Fishing opportunities in general will vastly re-expand as seasons (trout) and bodies of water (ice and snow) both open; Good

Remaining winter fishing opportunities are quickly waning, which may result in this year's attempt at winter trout a complete failure; Bad

-St Patrick's Day. I'm not sure what else to say about this. Last year we had three weekends of celebrations (rather than the regular 2) due to incliment weather. I love the Irish (being less than 25%, I can't consider myself Irish); instead of canceling an even due to a blizzard, let's just hold it twice! Unfortunately, after 4 years of attending the Most Commercialized Ethnic-Holiday Celebration on the Face of the Earth, I just can't do it this year. It's a shame too, because it basically feels like an RPI multi-class reunion...not to mention everything else there is to do in NY (which is why we use this day to sit in a mall and drink our faces off?). Anyway, regardless of missin out on Manhattan this year, there will be much tomfoolery around here, of that I am sure. Guinness will flow like milk, whisky will flow like Guinness, and Irish Carbombs will abound as folk, punk and Gaelic stream from the speakers. Flogging Molly's "new" single has been on EQX nonstop it seems recently...a little pop-sounding compared to their better stuff, but it's impossible to hear Molly without getting at least a little pumped. I can't wait to forcefeed the juke with whatever bills are in my pocket over the next month.

No doubt, the month of March will be a severe test of my patience, perserverance, and certainly my liver. Really, FlyingTies' header pretty much sums it all up. I just wish all of the hard days were gone.

February 26, 2008

Kid Tested, Mother Approved...

I've heard of "cat"-fishing before, but dropping a spey in your own kid's cereal bowl seems like taking it a little far. Hell, the barb's still there, maybe he's fishing for keeps. At least I know who not to call if I ever need a babysitter.

Still, it's not as bad as it seems. I know the little buggers aren't that discerning, but there's no way that's being mistaken for a sweetened puffed ball of grain meal. If some poor sucker does fall for it, he's probably better of being eaten anyway. God that looks painful...I didn't realize cigarette smokers were such massochists.

Moral of the story...don't feed your children Kix...they are addicting and will result in DayTripper eating your babies, if not your cats.

February 20, 2008


Plans are finally being solidified. I will be spending my weekend enjoying wintertime versions of this.

Historically, I just don't deal with stress. Period. It helps that my life has always been fairly simple, but work and relationship pressures rarely, if ever, got to me. The past month, however, building from somewhat of a crescendo over the past year, completely dumped upon me in both personal and professional issues. What's made it even worse is a complete lack of outdoorstime(c), save to clean ice off my car and take the garbage down to the curb. Even field-time for work has been absent.
Thankfully, things at work have finally taken on a more evened out pace at least. A weekend spent walking nowhere inparticular, swilling sweet distillations, building fires in the snow to talk by, sleeping on frozen wood, should just about return my mental state to equilibrium. If the weather is kind (as we know it is unlikely to be), I may even be able to throw some loops at the nose or tail of my trip.

In case just such an opportunity presented itself, I took my first trip ever to the area last weekend for a couple hours to scout. As my sister used to say, "golly-gee-wilikers" (perhaps from Dennis the Menace?), what an impressive area. Now I see why people love the Berkshires. Sure, they're no 'dacks, but for the price of admission (takes me 2 hours to get to the ADK High-Peaks areas, less than one for Eastern Mass and Southern Vt), it's a hell of a bargain.

I brought my camera, but was too busy enjoying the scenery (and the driving...I'm just glad there are multiple routes to/from the upper Deerfield from SR-2...two-wheel drive wasn't making it back out the way I went in), and too dumb to stop and break it out. Aside from just the terrain, there is some very fishy water back there, and a lot of choices in close proximity to one another. I may very well spend more time fishing MA than NY this summer. I even found a couple potential options, weather (and/or hangover) permitting, to test the new waders in this weekend. If those mountain spring creeks are as warm as I hope, who knows, I might even get some adorable little creature to acknowledge me this weekend.

did i just use adorable to describe.......well, anything......hmmm, yes, i did.......maybe i need this weekend more than i originally thought

Market Saturation

Where are these coming from? Before I had the idea to start this up last fall, I could only find a handful of fishing-related blogs, and less than five that were both interesting an applicable to me. How is it that I now have over 20 blogs in my "Outdoors" feed in Google Reader? All but 2 of those relate to fishing (generally fly); I'd like to read more general outdoor rec publication too, there just isn't enough time.

I'm going to need to cut back on my work hours just to keep up with all this stuff.

(At some point, I'll post them all, not right now...supposedly, "it is not the proper use of company time.")

February 19, 2008

Don't Fret the Weather...

...when planning your next destination trip. Germany seems to have cracked the code, now claiming the ability to predict weather patterns six months into the future.

That's amazing seeing how we have so much trouble predicting temperature from day-to-day.

"...the conscientious browser would need to mentally append "with an accuracy of 3°±2°" to the temperature prediction and realize this results in a two degree span at best and a ten degree span at worst." (OmniNerd)

CustomWeather's (which owns weather prediction service www.MyForcast.com) own data shows the best you can hope for, with a +/-3 degree margin of error, is about 60% accuracy (between 1, 2 and 3 day forcasts). Which fits with the level of accuracy for this new, incredible technology:

"The forecast for this June in Germany: a 60 per cent likelihood it will be hotter than in an average year."

60% chance it will be hotter than average? Really? In the era of global warming? Vegas oddsmakers can do better than that. I guess I'll just keep that raincoat handy whenever I head out.

February 15, 2008

Serves You Right

I've always had a bit of a penchant (unfounded?) for hating the southwest "boom," going back to the founding of Las Vegas (no, I wasn't around to despise it then, but throughout my life, it's never impressed me).

One thing that we use to distinguish ourselves from non-humans is the ability to alter our environment (sometimes drastically) to make it more hospitable. We often seem to take pride in how effeciently we do so. In this case, we made the desert bloom throughout the American Southwest. Quite an achievement, really. LA, LV, Reno, Scottsdale, Phoenix, etc., etc., the list goes on; none of these places would be able to flourish as budding and massive metropoli over the years on their own merits. They lacked the molecule of life. No, not Scotch (they didn't have that either), water. But we fixed it.

Of course, anyone with half a brain can tell you we are not nearly as effective in land transformation as we try to convince ourselves. Watering the desert has been problematic for decades, and it looks like it may actually catch up with us in the near future (via GoBLOG). [I say "us"...but you know who I'm talking about.]

There's a reason inhospitable areas don't sustain large populations (hint: it's because they can't). Certainly, if you were to go through all the trouble of altering the hydrologic regime of an entire region, and taking on all of the implications that go with it, planning future sustainability through curbing development seems prudent. Maybe that's just me.

Sometimes regulators do need to take responsibility. It's a strange concept, I know, but it would be tragic if their constituents suffered because they lost sight of the long-term. I suppose that's the same old story. Of course, it's easy to preach from this soap box living in the (relative) northeast, where water and infrastructure are both plentiful.

Perhaps it's just another scare, but let's hope somebody important at least takes note. Sustainability isn't just about looking out for our great-great-great-grandchildren. And as much fun as it is to hear people who don't belong there fighting over a resource that shouldn't be there either, I sure hope they make it work. I can't imagine the prospect of redistributing Hollywood across the rest of the country being a good thing for anyone.

On another note, Taylor & Vadney's perpetually decreasing materials stocks contained no hair or fur whatsoever. Did manage to improvise a fluffy white fur pattern out of the deteriorating scraps I still have...that's good enough for me, and kinda what it's all about anyway. I won't embarass myself by posting any pictures, but I will reccommend trying your own wire dubbing (slash-improvised hair hackle) loop I've been reading so much about. Excellent solution for making use of falling-apart-pelts.

February 14, 2008

Fly-Fishing for Humans?

Saw this guy on Colbert last night. And I thought I was alone in my ruminations on making "bugs" a larger part of our diet.

Ecologically it makes sense. Physiologically it makes sense. It's already done around the world. I mean, come on.

Just be careful while foraging. You might end up with more than you bargained for.

Talk about a reason to go barbless...


I originally lumped this in with the previous post, as it seemed a fitting subject for how I truly got started fly fishing. But I think this subject deserves it's own post...it was kind of getting lost before.

I owe somebody a large sum of gratitude, and here seems a reasonable place to put it.

Growing up I was lucky enough to be surrounded by genuinely kind elders. One person in particular, a long-time family friend, is responsible for fostering my interest in fly fishing and tying. Although it took about a decade to take hold in a major way, this man provided me with a lot. Himself an avid outdoosman (fly-fisher and bow-hunter), he knew of my interest of fishing Lake George and the surrounding area with my father, who would often brag to him about our weekend exploits. One day he simply left me stunned, with the gift of an essentially complete, self-contained, fly-tying kit consisting of one (old and clunky, but useful) vise, all the requisite tools, fur, feathers, hair, thread, chenille, hooks...you name it, it would have taken hundreds of dollars to re-create what is in that box (which itself was a custom creation...a ~2'x2', sectioned wood panel carrying case). The materials and tools were old, warn, and a bit chewed, but the gift was priceless.

As if the kit weren't enough, he continued to enlighten me with literature (which I consistently forget to grab when I visit my parents) on all aspects of angling. Without me realizing it, he kicked off a passion in me that will (hopefully) continue with me throughout my life.

Although I have not seen him in a very long time, a chance to fish with him (health permitting) would be a true joy and honor, something I have never had the chance to do. Perhaps this season....

From the very bottom of my heart, I thank you Dick.

Heeding One's Own Advice

It's never easy.

For example; finishing projects before moving on to new ones, not putting the cart before the horse and, especially, not overextending yourself for something you dont need.

I found myself pouring over tying vises this morning (not like I have the spare time to do that as it is). The DanVise is pretty tempting, especially at under $80.

See, I consider tying more or less an essential part of the fly-fishing passtime (for me it's a hobby, not a sport, art, etc.). I tied my first flies years before I learned to cast them. Everyone in my generation (of tyers) must be familiar with the yellow wooley bugger. I'm pretty sure it's the only pattern they let you tie at the 1-hour introduction to tying course. I still have 4 or 5 left from that first foray (about 12 years ago) that haven't yet rusted out. Following that, I continued with some streamers and bucktails. If memory serves me correctly, my first (and still only) LLS came trolling one of my own paltry black-nosed-dace-like creations on Lake George. [Speaking of land-locks, Happy Valentines Day Lake Champlain Salmonids]

Well, over the years, I have fallen (waaaayyyy) out of practice. Those early compilations of fur and feather far exceed anything I can put together right now. And seeing as I have been failing misereabley at getting some streamtime, getting back to tying would be the next logical step.

Unfortunately, there are always too many unfinished projects and time commitments, and I just spent a nice hunk of change on replacing my (ungainly) waders with something a little more practical and comfortable. And the truth is, I just don't need a new vice. The two I have, rough though they are, are still in working condition. Besides, it would be nice to brush up on some skills before making another investment (who knows, maybe I'll never develop a steady hand).

So what is a boy to do? Well, I can find/make time for tying (as Joe says, it isn't that you don't have enough time, you just haven't made it a priority). But for now, my aging, dilapidated, low quality vices will have to do. I can live with that. I think, though, this calls for a trip to Taylor & Vadney to see if they have any rabbit (if anyone has suggestions on additional Albany-area fly shops, I'm all ears). If I do make it to the river any time soon, it would be nice to have some custom bunny-strips with me. I hear white is the color for winter browns, but I'll take what I can get.

February 13, 2008

Of Rats and Men

"I’m not naive enough to think other people haven’t figured [their own mortality] out. But to me, it seems like most of the world is in denial about this fact.... So many more people out here are in such a hurry to make a bunch of money, have a big house, drive over rated cars, etc. They hate the rat race, but they are don’t know how to carry on from the sidelines."

I can't match Daytripper's way with words or clarity of vision, but I do echo his sentiments.

I think we all struggle at some point(s) in choosing what is truly important, and what are just distracting us from life. The past 14 months have put me through the wringer on this one...sometimes, even when you have a handle on it, the inability to convince someone else of the same can be what gets to you.

XKCD's comic for today didn't make pondering life any easier either.

Good luck. Get on some water. Got any good last-minute excuses that can get me out of work and on the stream Friday?

February 8, 2008

Spey Nation's "The Experience 2008"

is receiving some local press. As it should. I need something more to waste my meager income on, so I hope to attend. As for company, Pat, I'm looking at you.

Now, if we can just schedule some Lake Ontario trolling for that week, it will likely be the event of my summer.

February 7, 2008

Trout Pout-ing

I'm in a bit of a funk myself...I don't really see the resemblance though, beyond the scaly skin of course.

Been months since I've seen a trout or so much as cast a fly, weeks since the green wave-splitter even took me for a float. May not be the worst of my problems at the moment, but some QT with my rod and some rubber pants would certainly brighten the mood a bit. So far work and weather have both conspired against me. So this weekend there are several simple solutions to these mid-winter doldrums (none exclusive of any of the others):

-Get serious about tying (HA!)
-Replace my rubber pants with something shiny and new
-Sit, alone, swearing at some Tullmore Dew, as the level in the bottle slowly gets lower...and lower
-Break out the big-shoes and get some snow under me
-Head up to the VT border to feed some nymphs and buggers to Battenkill boulders
-"Sort life out"
-Rando trip to CT or scenic Hamilton, NY

Over/Under for number of above goals achieved? 0.1, now taking bets. No matter which way it goes though, There Will Be Blood (I hope).

"I'm sorry Shaun"

(Well, it's 4:45 on Friday and it looks like the most likely weekend activity is none of the above. Let's replace -Rando trip... with -Work from home.)

February 5, 2008

Reason #12...

...why I'll never be able to live in Oklahoma.

Browse around...check out the stocking schedule. Yup, OK's got their their act together. Don't ask me why I looked it up.