Friday, March 29, 2013

Between Basketball Games

March 29, 2013

“And I suppose thou can’st smoothe almost any seams and dents; never mind how hard the metal, blacksmith?”
“Aye, sir, I think I can; all seams and dents but one.”
“Look ye here then,” cried Ahab, passionately advancing, and leaning with both hands on Perth’s shoulders; “look ye here—here—can ye smoothe out a seam like this, blacksmith,” sweeping one hand across his ribbed brow; “if thou could’st, blacksmith, glad enough would I lay my head upon thy anvil, and feel thy heaviest hammer between my eyes. Answer! Can’st thou smoothe this seam?”
“Oh! that is the one, sir! Said I not all seams and dents but one?”
“Aye, blacksmith, it is the one; aye, man, it is unsmoothable; for though thou only see’st it here in my flesh, it has worked down into the bone of my skull—that is all wrinkles! But, away with child’s play; no more gaffs and pikes to-day. Look ye here!” jingling the leathern bag, as if it were full of gold coins. “I, too, want a harpoon made; one that a thousand yoke of fiends could not part, Perth; something that will stick in a whale like his own fin-bone. There’s the stuff,” flinging the pouch upon the anvil. “Look ye, blacksmith, these are the gathered nail-stubbs of the steel shoes of racing horses.”

At the anvil:
2x heavy scud hook #14
2x large bead
Mohair thread, both for working thread and body
Leave the tag end of the thread for tail
New rubber legs
Build up thread for thorax
Two half-hitches

Strong.  Fast.  Good.  Lead fly in two-nymph tandem.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Tom Helgeson's Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo

Starts today...    runs all day tomorrow and most of Sunday.  Blaine, MN.  Attend as you are able.  The program is overflowing with presenters, addressing all facets of fishing, tying, etc.  It's worth a look.  Bring a little cash and maybe support some of the shops that'll be there peddling goods too.  Information here.
There will be a carp faction in play: The Roughfisher, for one.  WB will be partnering with a notable and salty carp fisherman/writer/teacher from the Straight River watershed to cover some cyprinid material too.  Throw in the Goat and you've got it all worked out.
This is about where we are sitting right now, with respect to discussion topics.  But it's a dynamic deal.  We may just show up with a cooler and throw a 22 lber out into the crowd, alive and kicking.  See where that takes us.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lest we forget what is under our noses…

March 3, 2013 Fishing Notes

After various and good campaigns with my boys on Friday/Saturday, I carved out a little time to look at some trout water on Sunday; day of rest is what some call it. First stop was closest to the house; HI work; hand of man is very present there. And in another way, in that there was inexplicable turbidity in this reach. I puzzled over it and investigated within the bounds of the law. I was able to bookend it to a particular reach. But no explanation was forthcoming. Water was not moving across land on this day; 0-1% chance that runoff had anything to do with it. No, the snow was still content, setting and yawning all over the fields even in the face of the sun. And it was too much water to be an isolated runoff situation. The entire river was ~8-10 inches clarity. The fish were there, in their deep geometric pools; those created by hand of man. I know that because I ass-hooked two nice BNT. So this told me that the fish were there, and I was getting down to them. But they were not active. Due to either/both visibility or water temperature.

After examining that situation I had to sit with my maps a bit and look at ratios of miles, time, quality, etc. Finally I just said hell with it and went into the park. No big secrets here. It’s the water that everyone fishes; water that everyone knows about. Big polygons of land that by the grace of sound planning has been largely set aside to provide challenge, relaxation, inspiration and some damn good times to the common man. One tenet to keep in mind, IMO: heavily-fished water does not necessarily translate to water to avoid. And further: water perceived as heavily-fished is not always so. And finally: water perceived as heavily-fished probably isn’t in the middle of the winter. So it came to be that I was fishing the water commonly thought of as the backyard of sorts.


(1) Nymphing with standard #14 models. Trailing scuds behind other patterns.  2x heavy scud hooks with pretty big beads.  Designed to get down.  Orange, gray, green.  2 wt sage formerly of Reel John Montana, formerly of John Montana.

(2) First run produced around three fish in rapid succession. In the shadow of the cliff...  and thus the first image below is darkened.

(3) A lot of the good water that often holds fish in other seasons was dead empty. No fish hooked and none spooked. I suppose this is often the case in winter.

(4) Second good piece of water produced 2-3 fish, right by that sweet rock at river left in the picture.

(5) The final piece of water made the day: see red dot. There was one drift that would work; one drift only. Nymphs had to be cast at or beyond that red dot, tumble over the submerged rock down into the head of that pool. If this was done successfully, a fish was hooked. Plain and simple. Walking up to this hole, I blew ~94 trout out of a shallow belly. The key difference there being that shallow belly was in flat water. No place for an angler to hide, no hydro camoflauge to muffle your foot, your silhouette or the plop of your nymphs. Setting being of utmost importance. Some of the big pods of fish will be only approachable only with the most ridiculous scrutiny and care. Others, if you can be tipped off in time, can allow a person to stand in one place and land a solid dozen fish. Which is what happened here. When you find that hole, do not catch a couple and leave it because “you like to move along.” Maybe do that if you are truly just out for a walk. But if you are aiming to catch a fair number of fish in the winter, you ought to linger at water that feels like it’s full of fish; pound on that water until you go ten minutes without a take. Then move on to the 1-2 other such opportunities you will be afforded. The place to not dwell, IMO, in winter is at all the middle water (the water between the holes) that will be a joy to fish in the coming months but is empty now (one exception here would be if you are fortunate enough to find fish coming to midges; a situation that might provide opportunity to fish varying/many pieces of water; see subsequent note).

(6) Some midges in the snow, but no risers.

(7) No HI work in play. Bedrock controls; good riffles and pools.

Really can’t bitch about spending an afternoon in the sun, stopping for coffee here and there, looking things over. Boot tracks went on for a while but worth noting: even in the park they dropped off pretty quickly. Brought me back a few years; water I used to fish quite often. A nice reunion; a nice rejuvenation. No electric outlets in sight. Just cliff faces and moving water.

…exile from Christendom and civilization inevitably restores a man to that condition in which God placed him, i.e. what is called savagery.         – H. Melville, page 279

[...and in the absence of opportunity for prolonged exiles, due to the "age perfecting its clinch," iterative sojourns, regularly kept and accumulated, can provide a close second-best option...]