Friday, December 18, 2009

Offseason Entry III: A Hero Dressed in Black

Looking ahead: in approximately two weeks, these become swingable. Lord knows the day can't come soon enough.

Various approximates of John Montana's Wilted Spinach. Catches anything, most anywhere. This iteration in particular though is designed to imitate the small midges (20-22) that will be around this winter. Soft hackle is a nice jumble of legs, in front of the soon-to-be-lost shuck. And as Dave Hughes said in Fishing the Four Seasons: [para-phrased] When you're swinging a soft hackle down and across, don't set the hook. The fish takes care of that for you. Looking forward to that taking-care-of. Yes indeed.
Offseason Entry II: The Bane of the Woods...

...made good. Or at least useful and marginally pretty.
I won't insult the craft by calling myself a carver, but I've been goofing around with a few local woods - started after we had a carving clinic in the BWCA. Products have not been professional, but somewhat interesting nonetheless. My angle on this is that it's waste to use. A two for one: a guy cuts a buckthorn, and thus frees the heretofore occupied understory of his local woods... and also extracts some useful raw material to be added to his own good.

Find European Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
Cut down with sierra saw or maybe a bow saw
Dissect into usable/storable bolts
Freeze usable/storable bolts
Take one out at night
Start fire outside or maybe open beer at kitchen table
Shuck off big chunks of wood with old knife
Set aside for a few months
Pick up again later on and shape further
Set on top of fridge or other appliance
Keep knives away from kids
Pick up some night and shape a little more
Maybe sand with rough paper now
Set aside
Final shaping with smaller knife
Sand with rough paper
Then sand with ultra fine paper
Sit down a minute to admire orange grain and beauty
Rub in some oil - maybe walnut
Watch grain jump out even more
Set aside
Sand and oil several more times as beer or other situations allow
When baby's butt is apparent, add to kitchen utensils
An onion-pusher
Or maybe a crepe-flipper
Dirge of the woods thus becomes sweet melody

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Offseason Entry I: Scrimshaw

Terminology courtesy of darklake.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Another favorite:


O generation of the thoroughly smug
and thoroughly uncomfortable,
I have seen fishermen picnicking in the sun,
I have seen them with untidy families,
I have seen their smiles full of teeth
and heard ungainly laughter.
And I am happier than you are,
And they were happier than I am;
And the fish swim in the lake
and do not even own clothing.

Ezra Pound
Been mourning the coming deep freeze and wallowing in the non-trout-season that is now. To support this self-woe and further prop it up, I've been reading over and over the following poem, and looking forward to the day that will allow a person to put boot on a stream.

Song of the Brook

I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorpes, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges.

Till last by Philip's farm I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I chatter over stony ways,
In little sharps and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,
I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my banks I fret
By many a field and fallow,
And many a fairy foreland set
With willow-weed and mallow.

I chatter, chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I wind about, and in and out,
With here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,
And here and there a grayling,

And here and there a foamy flake
Upon me, as I travel
With many a silvery waterbreak
Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along, and flow
To join the brimming river
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,
I slide by hazel covers;
I move the sweet forget-me-nots
That grow for happy lovers.

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeam dance
Against my sandy shallows.

I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars;
I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

by Alfred Lord Tennyson