Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Closing Bell Pull...
























Hope Springs Eternal.  

The last couple trips have been challenging in terms of conditions.  Cold snaps that make fish sulk and the eventual warmup that brings in chocolate milk throwing off visibility, consistent is not a word to describe the last month of swinging flies

Still, when you make the two hour drive, you give it hell through the closing bell

And the closing bell was met with a solid yank on the last two trips

Each time we came to the last run of the day with fading daylight and hopes for a fish.  Denver from North 40 Outfitters  scored a hatchery buck coming through through the last bucket of the day on the second to last trip

The next outing was coming to an end when I drew the lead swing in the last run of the day.  Nobody had touched a fish all day and the water was loosing visibility by the second as a river above it was throwing dirty water into the mix.  Couple that with a 3 trip skunk, I was resigned to going through the motions and finishing up the day.

I turned back to OMR and Denver to say something as my fly finished the swing and into the hang-down.

Halfway into what I wanted to say and the rod bucked with that familiar feeling.  Finally.

I'd like to say that I know what I am doing enough around these rivers to know when it's going to happen, but the truth is I don't know shit about shit.  Everything is changing...runs change, temps change, clarity changes, fish location changes.  It's all changing and finding the answer is what makes a great line ripping take so special

At the closing bell no less.   A good a time as any to make it happen.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Mis-Clip
























The take was great, ripping the running line out of my hands.  I was running a solid skunk and had begun to question just about everything I was doing.  Wrong fly, wrong tip, etc.  What was really going on was that I was steelhead fishing, and the mind bender that it is was taking a grip.

Everyone has been there, it was just my time to go through it.

One small jump followed by several nice runs and the fish was at hand.  Beautiful 8-10 lb fish with fire in her belly, but a question to her origin.  All the other fins were perfect, and the fight in cold water made me think she was born in river gravel

The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the adipose was a mis-clip.  The razor blades at the hatcheries dont all ways make a clean cut.
















But still when you're on the bank ready to make the bonk or no bonk decision, that doubt came creeping in and the last thing I needed was the grey area causing me to get a ticket.

More research after the release leads me to believe that I would have been fine to keep it, but it was a snap decision on the shore that had to be made that put the fish back into the river.

Hindsight is 20/20 and that fish should be in the smoker but I'd rather find myself on the right side of caution

Which leads me to another question.  What would have you done?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Prepare to Launch...
























Every once and a while my little point and shoot gets something worth sharing

Spey casting is mechanical.  You have to get from point A to B before going to C.  Screw up the sequence and cadance...your screwed.  Nothing more humbling than a cast that was supposed to go 100 feet but instead flops in a mess 20 feet out.

But done properly, it's a thing of beauty. Damn effective too.

Timing mixed with style, each caster has a difference look but the good ones all get to the same place

Line in the water, bug swimming, hunting away.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

#PassItOn with North 40 Outfitters




Here's a great program that The North 40 Fly Shop is starting that everyone should see if they can participate in

If you cant find you're way into a North 40 Fly Shop, my bet is that there's a young family member or a kid down the street that would love that 5 weight thats collecting dust and hasnt touched water in years.

Time to #passiton

Monday, December 8, 2014

An Ode To Dive Bars








































How amazing does a beer taste after a long day on the river in bars with names like Oasis Tavern, The Blue Anchor or Joes Bar to name a few

Coming home from a deer hunt we stopped into the Oasis and it reminded me how great these places are.  95% of what is spoken inside of them in pure 100% grade A bullshit.   The beer list is never fancy or full of microbrews and a mixologist, the bartender is not one.

American beer, Irish and Canadian Whiskey and some of that Mexican tequila if you want to get fancy.

There's a great dive bar in St John, Washington by the name of The Rialto where I remember sitting around having a beer with hunters and farmers alike, all sharing stories of the day's hunt, wheat prices, politics and women.  I think out of the 14 hunters in the bar, 12 had bucks hanging.   Many were tired, many were happy.  Many were drunk.

I remember on my first big guided trip with OMR where we had a brutal day on Missouri River with terrible weather.  Temps went from 85 at 10am to 40 with howling winds out of Canada and we were stuck on the river as the winds kept us from rolling downstream.   We screwed up and left our raincoats in the truck and to top if off our aloof and grizzly old guide pulled out his G3 coat as we froze our balls off.  I wanted to punch him in the nuts.   It's basically the only time I've ever wanted to throw the towel and walk to the damn road out

At the very end of the day, the storm passed and we were the only boat left on the water and I ended up catching the biggest brown of my life

OMR, the guide and I descended upon Joe's Bar in Craig and because of that brown at the end of the day and a high amount of fine American macro-brews, the perspective of the day changed dramatically.    Soon we were making plans to come out and fish again with the old cuss of a guide.

I bet there's a million stories like that out there about these great places.  Drop a comment here and let us know where your favorite dive bars are.  I mean, research is in order, right?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Fresh Bugs...
































The cold months mean bigger bugs.  Here's a few fresh off the vice.







































I never know what's going to pop off the vice in the beginning.  A general color pallet yes, a finished product, no.














































































Don't get into fly tying to save money.  Don't even try.  

What it comes down to for me at least,  is a focused art form that sometimes, god willing means a fish will like my offerings as much as I do as well.

Monday, December 1, 2014