June 27, 2008

Life is good...

Maybe I'll get a chance to post some pics of "the good, the bad and the ugly" from last weekend. 12 straight hours of trolling brought us 7 brown trout...and a few other stories along the way.

Hit the creek twice and the Kinderhook twice this week...water's been a bit high, not any signs of trout in the Kinderhook that I could see, but I know they're there. Most importantly, got a grab from a 14-16" trout on the creek with a simple fire-fly imitation I tied...basically just a brown foam beetle with a flo-yellow butt. Of course, he ran a few yards downstream through the boulders (masterfully handled by yours truly), and then tried to wrap himself under a downed tree. Now, the tree, being between myself and the pool, has always been a bit forbidding, but this was the first time it ever gave me any real trouble. With only 9' of reach (including my arm and some body-lean) I just couldn't get him to swim out from under the tree to where I could steer him to a landing area. Finally, he popped off, and amazingly, I didn't snag the tree. I didn't get to bring him to hand, but at least I know he's not tethered to the tree to die (another reason to go barbless).

Sunday it's off to Nags Head with a buttload of people.

"A buttload, how much is a buttload?"
"1000 dollars. I base that on the fact that one time, I fit 5 dollars up my butt, and well, not to brag or anything, but I figure I could fit way more up there. WAY more! Easy!"

Be down there for the week, the girl is flying in on the 3rd. Got competing charters going out this Monday, maybe some surf-casting as well. No fly though...unless...nah.

For now, I'm just loving life, much as xkcd does...


xkcd Loves the Discovery Channel

June 23, 2008

Petroleum Exploration in the Adirondack High Peaks

...a hypothetical.

A twist on the great oil debate. The Adirondacks are one of the greatest places on earth, and a true rarity in the amount of (regulatory) protection offered over such a vast area. What would you do if your favorite wilderness area were under attack?

Geologically speaking, rich petroleum deposits in the High Peaks are considerably less than likely (i.e., impossible), but I thought it was an interesting analog. What if garnet suddenly jumped in value?

June 19, 2008

The American Consumer...

...is an idiot. No offense intended, all consumers worldwide are idiots. We are all idiots. OK, maybe not idiots, but irrational decision makers. We make short term decisions based on current needs, wants, and especially, on personal hardships, often without (or with much less than prudent) concern for future repercussions. This is bad for long term stability, both economic and ecologic.

Kate Wing over at Blogfish puts it quite plainly, and quite well, why US oil exploration expansions won't help us fuel our SUVs.

Not to get political, but it's getting quite irritating hearing people repeatedly clamor for loosening the strings to allow more drilling in the US, as if it will solve all our problems and help us pay for our children's' college. It isn't regulation that's hurting your purse, "it's the economy, stupid."

And while we're at it, stop pushing for tax breaks and pricing subsidies on gasoline...that only exacerbates the situation. To artificially lower the price only serves to expedite the exhaustion of the resource. I don't have the answer, but we should be looking to curb our petroleum demand, not increase it.

June 17, 2008

"So what exactly did you come here for?"

If a casting instructor asks you this, it's probably for 1 of 2 reasons...

-your form is good and they can't really see anything to help you with, or

-you think your form is good and won't let them help you with anything because you are an ass

Imagine my surprise when, Sunday afternoon, when Mr. LL Bean casting instructor was having trouble finding an area to improve my (basic) casting. Thankfully, through mutual examination, we were able to diagnose and work towards a remedy for my tailing-loop. (Recognition of the problem was mostly mine...the solution was all his...now it's practice practice practice)

Joe and I headed over to Wolf Road to check out the fly-casting "Walk-On Adventure" (which included neither adventure or much walking...it was more about a short bus-ride to a park and some valuable basic instruction). A simple overview of the 4-Part Cast and a couple additional pointers, and Joe had it down. The material covered was rather limited (standard, false and roll cast), and the value was in the instruction. With only Joe and I there, it was very hands on, and while the lesson-plan was kept simple, any questions were welcomed and answered.

We casted Streamlight outfits (6 wt. if I remember...). Once back at the store, Joe made the decision to purchase one for himself. 9' 4pc 6 wt. Streamlight combo, spare tippet, flotant, some tools, and a box o' flies. Well equipped, we hit the creek, and he scored his first (and second) fish on the fly (ok, it was a foam beetle, but as I've said before, the method is what matters, not the imitation or materials). Considering it was tough fishing (lowest, slowest and clearest water I've seen this year...but still cool), first day on the fly, and an outfit a bit overweight for trout on such a small stream, couldn't ask for much more. In fact, he outfished me 2-1. Considering they were both on my beetle, and I got him rigged up, and he lost the fly on the overhead powerlines (hey, it happens there...I've done it), I'm considering those my fish...

...or at least, we can split them.

Heroin

Addicted with the first high, and from then on, every waking moment is focused on where, when and how you'll score your next one. The cravings consume you. Everything takes a back seat. Jobs, food, relationships, yard- and house-work, grooming...family and friends take note of a downward spiral and voice their concern. Your boss informs you that your livelihood is in jeopardy. Any and all cash is spent on feeding the thirst as soon, or sometimes long before, it comes in. The (domestic partner) threatens (or indeed, carries out with) severing the relationship, dumping you in the street. It matters not, there is only one thing that concerns you. The fly rod is your syringe.

I don't have time for a haircut or shave these days (often barely time for a shower). I temporarily return my line-clippers to their original duty of fingernail trimming for a few spare minutes while at the office. Dirty laundry heaps around my hamper. My car is littered with random fishing equipment, bits of trimmed tippet, and of course, plenty of trash. And with 1,600 miles separating myself from any potential nagging about how my time is spent or how I smell, life does not get much better than this. So I will enjoy it, until the January chill forces me into withdrawal.

On the phone last night she asked me, somewhat incredulously, "Do you fish every day?"

I wish the answer were yes. Unfortunately, life and weather both occasionally get in the way. A couple of biker-anglers (not cyclists) I met up at Default Pool Sunday afternoon asked a similar question.

"How often do you fish this stretch?"
"As much as I can."

Sure, I want to explore, but when the gettin's good at home, why roam?

In between thunder and pouring rain last night, I got 2 small stockies and broke off something larger (perhaps Gil?). That was after some sunfish on the float-and-fly (no fly rod in the car) during lunch yesterday. Do I fish every day? No. But I probably average at least a daily trip. If only I could make myself rise early enough...a morning trip would certainly bump that average a bit.

June 13, 2008

Feel My Ubiquity

Just a reminder, invasive species are...well...invasive. Let's not make the problem any worse. Do your part. Sanitize your gear, drain your bilges (not bulges), spray down the trailer...you know, the usual stuff. The last thing you want is to be responsible for spreading these guys to new waters...



And while we're on the topic of things that can ruin a trip, why not pick up some trash on your next outing. See that ball of mono the last guy left on the bank...that's not doing anyone any good. If need be, this "volunteer work" can be an excuse to go fishing.

"Honey, I'd love to mow the lawn, but I told Fred I'd help him clean up the neighborhood today."

June 12, 2008

Mama said there'd be days like this...

"Well, the positive side is that our trout and salmon population won't be hurt in the least. "


That was the story out of Oak Orchard last weekend for Part II of IV for the Lake Ontario Pro-Am series.


Over the two days, we boated only 3 keepers (if you're counting at home, that's one less than the 4 we got when, at the last minute, John abondoned us and promoted me to captain his boat). That's ok, there were more than a few teams that posted one zero...and even some that posted double-eggs.


Our big fish of the derby was this 12-lb laker that hit 6-10' down over 450' or so of water, right as I was placing the rod in the holder immediately after letting it out (first line out) at 6:01 am on Sunday. (edited per captain's comment below)



After Brian brought that guy in, we nabbed one little king, and after 6:30 we didn't boat another fish all day. Missed a couple steelies on the surface, but for the most part, Sunday was dead.

Long drive, much money spent, much sleep lost, not too many fish...still, who can complain about a weekend on a boat in some ridiculous June weather?

To top it off, finally made it back to the creek last night. Ended up with 5 brownies 6-9", and a few chubs. The bigger (anything over 10") fish are becoming ridiculously selective, and the low-and-slow water isn't helping things any. Neither is the fact that knotless tapered leaders just do not drift as nicely as the furled leader that I have yet to replace.

Got a couple fish before the sun went over the hill...one on a little black foam beetle (sz 14), one on an ugly orange parachute (sz 12). The action didn't start to really heat up until after 8, and I got 3 more stockies on a sz 16 yellow sally by guessing when I had a hit or lifting for the next cast and getting lucky.

I did miss one real good rise...it may have been a refusal but it was quite splashy...looked like a good fish. Guess I should head back up to try and break the code today...maybe try some buggers and nymphs to help hide my drift problem. The hendricksons seem to be gone, but there was plenty of bug action, with big light-colored mayflies (cahill?), tiny yellow-green ones (?), more little yellow stones, black flies, mosquitos, gnats and other biting and non-biting midges (hooray), and a plethora of caddis in various sizes and colors. Oh, and of course some dragonflies buzzing around, doing some damage on the midges (much appreciated guys).

Oh yeah, grabbed a few sunnies at lunch today...weeds and algae have left me with about half-an-acre of fishable water near the office...still enough to fill out the noon-hour.

June 6, 2008

FULL DISCLOSURE

I have never been affiliated with, received gifts from, or otherwise maintained an inappropriate relationship with, L.L. Bean, Inc. (I did not have sexual relations with that man, Mr. Leonwood.) I have been, however, very satisfied so far with their offers and service on fly-gear and instruction...

Two things to mention; first a follow-up to the Walk-On Adventures program:

"I can't vouch for the instruction..."

While I still cannot personally vouch for the level of instruction, I have been thoroughly assured that it is Top Notch. In fact, the Albany store has at least one FFF Certified Casting Instructor. In general (and as one might expect), L.L. Bean has a pretty strong legacy in the fly fishing instruction arena. Their head instructor is Macauley Lord, who's got some good literature out as well, including some stuff up on Midcurrent.

I've also been told that it's quite possible to end up being the lone participant on occasion, in which case you essentially have 1:1 instruction for the $15 session. Also, participation gets you vouchers/coupons both for discounted gear and additional courses. Finally, when I was in the store yesterday, I noticed that in-store purchase of a complete outfit entitles you to a complimentary instructional session...and it is not necessarily limited to the Walk-On program. Half-day courses ($95 value, available in Maine, Maryland, and Virginia) were also listed on the tag I saw.

Which brings me to the next topic; I have a brand new rod sitting at home now:

As I had mentioned previously, my 3 wt had gotten damaged (in my absence). The break was a result of carelessness. Quite frankly, it was an obvious result of carelessness (I can't imagine any other reason it would snap exactly at the end of the tip-guide). So I walked into the store with the (now) 3-piece rod, anticipating one of the following outcomes;
1) I would receive a free or small-fee repair or a replacement rod section.
2) They would tell me there was nothing they could do and I would be required to make Brian pony up the $100 to replace the rod.

I honestly did not consider a third option (complete in-kind free replacement) a viable possibility due to the obvious wear on the rod, the nature of the damage, and fact that the LL Bean guarantee is a "Satisfaction Guarantee," and in no way could I say with a straight face that I was returning the rod because I was unsatisfied with it. Of course, as usual, I was wrong. After checking first checking the fishing department, the conversation at the checkout counter went something like this:

Clerk: Can I help you?
Me: I have a broken rod and was just wondering what we could do about that.
Clerk (looking at the rod, then the computer): I believe we have these in-stock; if you're looking to replace it with the same model, we can do that right now.
Me (a little surprised): Uhhh, yeah, that'd be great.

And that's essentially how easy it was. O.K., so I had to show I.D. to prove that I actually purchased the rod from them (I might add that it was an internet purchase, which doesn't matter, because any store will take back merchandise purchased at any other store or the website), and when the gentleman from the fishing department did bring the replacement, he asked that I assemble and check the rod before I left to make sure it was satisfactory. Oh, and I was asked how long I had owned the rod...after the replacement was already in my hands. That's it. No questions about what exactly happened to the rod. No trying to down-sell me to a repair, or up-sell me to a better rod. From a customer's perspective, exactly the way customer service should be done.

So I'm a happy boy. I'm going to make sure Joe and Nate take advantage of the Walk-On instruction (and will do so myself), and may very well purchase a new rod from Bean before the season is out. And after work today, Brian, Joe and I are headed west to meet up with "Capt." Menjik and troll Ontario for salmon. Who knows, we might actually place in the money. Whatever the outcome, it will be a welcome change of pace.

Afterthought--perhaps they were just being nice to me because the knew I reach a very extensive, savy, out-doors rec. audience with mounds of disposable cash...whaddya think Margaret?

June 4, 2008

Want to try casting a fly?

Live near an LL Bean?

I can't vouch for the instruction, but at $15 for a couple hours of instruction, seems like a great alternative if you don't have someone to show you the ropes, or at least way to introduce yourself to fly-fishing (at least the casting part...doubtful that there is any actual fishing involve...but I could be wrong) without the need to spend money on gear and beginner's casting lessons.

I wish this was around when I was getting going the last 2 seasons. So far, the only "instruction" I've had was at an informal TU event at Hovey Pond in Glens Falls some (10? 15?) years ago. Granted it was free, and I'm sure the instruction was valuable, but I can't say I took anything with me from it. With LL Bean now literally around the corner from the office (OK, 2 corners), it would have been a great way to re-introduce myself and actually learn how to cast. Oh well, I may check it some time anyway just to see what it's all about...we can all still learn after all. And any "pride" in my casting is certainly not going to prevent me from letting someone else lead me.

Of course, they also have kayaking and "GPS Techno Treasure Hunt" (geocaching?) trips. Once again, for a couple hours "instruction" (at the very least, entertainment), $15 isn't bad...cheaper than a pair of movie tickets (say, if you weren't able to get that date).

June 3, 2008

As usual, not so great to be home...

Everyone knows that feeling of returning home after a long trip. No matter how great the place (ummm...OK just okay) you just visited, there's always that great sense of welcome relief walking through that door. Of course, that welcome relief has a way of turning to blind rage when, 8 steps past the door, you find the tip of your prized 3 wt (hey, I can prize what I want to) decapitated and sitting on the kitchen table next to the fly that, before you left for parts unknown, had been tied to your leader.

Seriously guys, WTF. Now I know what Nate must feel like when he comes home to find the shoes are not all forcibly stacked in the fireplace. Only this time, someone may actually incur an expense. Thankfully, it's an LL Bean...but, if they don't give me a complete tip section, somebody is buying me one...you just don't mess with a man's rod. I mean, destroying a coffee table with an ice axe is one thing (don't ask), but circumcising my graphite is completely unacceptable behavior.

And that folk(s?) is post #50. I'd like to thank the academy....

Seriously though, surprised I've made it this far. I think this is good for my sanity. Shoulda started a diary years ago.

June 2, 2008

There are no cats in America...

Oh Fievel, you were so naive. Unfortunately, there really are no trout in Central Oklahoma.

I'm sitting in Tulsa Int. Airport, tres early for my flight, avoiding my "weekend takehome work" at Chili's. Naturally, interweb is a good diversion.

You might check out the DayTripper's updated site, complete with forum. I did. It's more enjoyable than AutoCad.

Apparently, he and Mr. Shaq will be attending the Clearwater Junction 2008 Fly Tying Show this weekend. Not that I'll be missed, but I can't make it this weekend. Prior commitments can be so burdensome...but if the salmon are calling, I'll be there. Hopefully I'll be able to swing by Spey Nation in a few weeks...also on my way to Lake Ontario. It won't just be an experience, it is The Experience.

Until then, someone's going to have to start buckling down at work. Just not today. Why are there cartoon mice still singing in my head? Surely it's not the strictly regulated 3.2% alcohol beer they have here in the Bible Belt.

Flying...the only way to travel. Thank providence for low rent and minuscule car payments. Still makes it hard to save up for a new 6 wt. though.