Thursday, September 30, 2010

So you dont have a DSLR....

Neither do I....

Truthfully, I want one very mucho mas....extremely times 10 to the power of infinity.  It will come soon enough and so, I've learned a few tricks along the way to make my point and shoot Pentax Optio W80 go a lot farther than I thought I could get it to go

Comprised from tips from others and solidified from experience, here's a few key items that have really helped me along the way.  

1.  Change the angle

How many times have you seen a shot of a guy crouching down, holding out a fish for his hero shot.  Often times that shot fails because the photog is way up high, and the angle makes the person in the shot look like an ant.  Drop down and take the shot level at the level of the angler or take the shot from right on the water's perspective like the bonefish pic above

2.  Drool over fish porn

I spend a lot of time drooling at pictures from guys like Corey Kruitbosch or others who's work consistently ends up in The Drake.  Their work is beyond good, its next level stuff and I get a lot of ideas from theses guys.  Framing a shot, the use of macro, so on and so forth.  Keep em coming guys

3.  When in doubt, crop.

When i get back from a fishing trip, I am usually left with a lot of images that at first glance, dont work.  BUT...a simple crop of the extraneous scenery can yield a great shot and a whole new perspective on what's going on.   In the shot above, my buddy Bo looked pretty insignificant in the original frame.  Click click and bang...a more intimate shot of a guy hoping for a Steelhead to take a wild ride.

4.  Keep Pressing the Shutter Down

The beauty of digital can always hit delete and you're only bound by the size of your chip.  With the way our point and shoots work, the third shot out of a series of five might be the money one.  The others...throw away.  Also, take pictures of other things besides when your buddy scores a nice fish.  I find that candid shots of action or people engrossed in fishing produces some of the best shots out there.  Casting photos are always fun to capture

5. Use the power of your computer

The great equalizer for us point and shooters is editing software.  Until recently, my editing was limited to the very basic functions that accompany Windows Media Player.  Just adjusting saturation, contrast and other controls makes a drastic difference.  A few months ago I upgraded to Adobe's Lightroom program.  Holy Hell...the tricks that this program can do.

I have a long ways to go and I'm constantly trying to get better.  Hopefully these tips will help you get better shots and if you have more simple tips for point and them in the comments section and I will repost them later.   Good luck shooting!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fly Tiers are a Plagaristic Bunch...

How do I know this, well...I'm one of them.  Picking up a fly at a shop and then bringing it home, dissecting it and reproducing it sometimes gives me the feeling of a North Korean nuclear scientist.  The item of my desire is before me.  I have the plans, now time to reproduce.

I believe the term is reverse engineering.  Tonight had me saddled up to the tying bench, working to recreate this fly.

A little rabbit, some tinsel, some wire, two different types of dubbing and my favorite material..guinea hackle all around a traditional Alec Jackson style hook.  Shouldn't be too difficult eh?

Decoding the step by step process without a recipe is a bit like looking at a loaf of my wife's homemade banana bread and trying to figure out which ingredient went first, and then so on.  Errors do happen

After a few trial and error sessions, paydirt.

 I changed a few color combinations to fall in line with the most productive colors on my Steelhead rivers.

Blue always works on a Steelhead like a mini skirt works for a hot girl trying to attract a member of the opposite sex

So yes...I copied it.  I am a plagiarist

Now to tie a dozen  more

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Not Your Average Fishing Calendar

Everyone's got one.  Everyone gets you in the Christmas season, because everyone knows you fish.  The kiosk at the mall sells them by the hundreds.  

What am I talking about...the average fishing monthly calendar.   The 12 monthly pictures accompanied by the beautiful tailing loops, the grip and grins and the far off places you hope to fish someday.   The follow the same pattern, etc, etc and etc.   We've all seen it a gazillion times

Finally, we've found something way different, way cooler and with way more humor than the others. 

Local artist Deanna Camp has created here annual calendar showcasing some of the most unusual trout, like the "Troutalope" which is featured in this year's edition of Elusive Trout. 

Starting out as a gift for friends and family, these illustrations are now incorporated into an annual calendar

Last spring, my wife and I were out wasting time yard sale-ing (hey, the rivers were blown out) and I had the fortunate luck to run into Deanna and picked up a 2010 calendar at her yard sale.  It now graces my fly tying bench.  Here's one of my favorites from last year
 The best part about this calendar are the accompanying descriptions of the fish.  This year's calendar features a Jamaican Trout, Frequent Flyer Trout, and Biker Trout to name a few

If you're in Spokane, you can meet Deanna at Tinman Gallery October 2nd at 1pm and have your calendar signed.   

So if you are going to buy a fishing calendar, this is by far and away the most unique one you can possibly find.  

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fay Clave Wrap Up

Fay Clave 2010, put it the books. 

Lots of work and planning went into this event.  The weather held, people came from across the west and the fish were willing participants.  In short, it was a hell of a weekend

Driving out of Spokane on Thursday, I couldnt get to the Clearwater fast enough.  Calls were coming in from people who were already on the water like Steelie Mike with quotes like this..

"I just rose 4 fish in a single run with a skater"

Really, a freaking skater....oh hell

Finally we made it to the base camp that was McKay's Bend campground at the tiny town of Myrtle, 15 miles upriver of Lewiston on Highway 12.

We had just enough time to fish one run that night, and both of us got really nice pulls, foreshadowing of our time ahead.

People began joining us from everywhere.  Zen Piscator from Missoula,, Taylor and Bo from Spokane, Panhandle from well, the Idaho Panhandle, Steelie Mike and Keith from Portland.  Uncles came from Portland to join the crew and we commenced telling tall tales that grew taller with the consumption of whatever we chose to consume

Friday through Sunday worked itself into a rhythm.  Early morning sessions were productive, followed by big breakfasts back at camp and then back at it all day

I had a great time

Friday morning OMR picked up a great little hatchery player on a comeback fly that Steelie Mike had given me almost a year and half earlier.  Dad was working a run when he kept having small plucks on the end of the line...obviously a fish was interested, just not committing.  Out came the fly box, and that little size 8 Spade came in handy as the second cast back into the run the loop was pulled out of his hand and the best present for my dad came to hand

We took a small road trip to the Ronde to show my uncles our favorite steelhead river . M uncle, after an hour total on the spey rod proceeds to raise a fish 4 times, the last two of which was on a skated Muddler.  Each time this fish hit the flush on the toilet bowl rise, only be part in either missing the fly or my uncle pulling it right out of its mouth.  We all sat mouth agape as the scene played out those 4 times.  Freaking unreal.

Friday night, Mike, Zen, Keith, Eric Speer and I were all part of one of the greatest evenings I have ever seen on the Clearwater.  I took my first ever dryline fish in fast water and then proceeded to watch as our crew hooked up 6 times and landed 4.  Right to the closing bell the fish kept taking

The weather held, the fish kept taking and about everyone over the course of those 4 days hooked up.  I had the line ripped out of my hand more than once only to lift to set and find nothing coming back on the end of the line.  It's mystifying how they can take hold with such savageness and then be gone in the blink of an eye. 

Hats off to Bo for the best gift at the birthday party  for OMR.


Custom OMR Whiskey

The party for dad was great.  My mom and sister came down from Spokane with custom Fay Clave cupcakes and great banter kept the party going late into the night.  I, on the other hand, passed out from fishing exhaustion way, way too early.  It guess that's what happens when you fish for 14 straight hours

The river went off color and the weather soured on Sunday just in time to have one more big camp meal and break the big tent town.  It was time to put a finishing stamp on the Fay Clave

When I look back at all that went into, and all that came out of this all comes down to this. 

It was all worth it.

New friends, fish caught, stories told, beer and whiskey consumed, 1000's of casts made, and one happy as hell father on his 70th birthday

 Mark your calendars, we'll be back at it again for the 2nd Edition of the OMR Fay Clave in 2011.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Waking up with a Steelhead River

When your cell phone rings your bell loudly at 5am and the fun of last night is pounding the hell out of your head, you begin to question why in the hell are you getting up

The bed in the camper is warm and the cold of approaching fall is the only thing waiting to meet you as you fling the door open, still half asleep as you greet the still pitch dark morning sky. 

You drag your tired butt into your smelly waders and boots and wait eagerly as the coffee perks and you throw down a few Advil to make last night go away.  Nobody ever says "I wish I would have had one more beer", do they?

Soul saving coffee washes down whatever granola bar/muffin/gas station hotcase gutbomb/doughnut you can find as you speed to the run that you feel asleep thinking about the night before.   The tinge of nervousness takes hold as  you're almost to the parking area and you peer ahead looking for anglers who may have drank less and woke up earlier and thus...beat you to the jump

So you win and get the honor of the first pass through the water you want to swing.  Geese are flying low to the deck and there's so many it's hard to see where they are coming from until they're on top of you. 

The river itself is low in correspondence with the season.  Fish have been pouring over the dams in high numbers as they drive themselves to the rivers of their birth.  Your headlamp illuminates your fly box and you settle in on a small traditional that says to's the one

Out of the East they first rays of sun are cresting over the hillside and you become a part player in the awesomeness that is waking up with a Steelhead river

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dryline Slumpbuster...and a Fay Clave write up preview

Finally, the Clearwater gave up the goods.  This little player ended a long cold streak, and it was as sweet as it could be on a dry line and a monster pull that ripped the loop out of my hand.

The inaugural edition of the Clearwater River Fay Clave went off without a hitch.  A full write up coming soon, but here are some of the highlights

1.  Skaters

2.  Teaching an uncle how to spey cast

3.  Same uncle raising a fish on a skater 4 times

4.  Stormin-Norman, the roost ruling camp host

5.  Great post fishing camaraderie. 

6.  Uncles from Portland getting lost for an hour and half in BFE Idaho

7.  The artform that is the comback fly

8.  Custom OMR Wiskey

9.  One epic night at the Mill Run

10.  A very, very happy OMR

Monday, September 13, 2010

Steps to put yourself into a Steelhead funk...

There are certain steps to putting yourself into steelhead jinx

1.  Rock the bajesus out of last year's record season.  Pick up the spey it altogether too much

2.  Spend the time between the end of the summer run, the brief interlude you had with the winter run and the upcoming summer run, thinking of only one thing.  Steelhead

3.  Buy new gear, drool over using new gear for Steel.

4.  Buy a small spey set up to practice on troots on the local rivers

5.  Align the stars, moon, tides and a swung fly to catch the first known swung Steelhead on the Clearwater in July.   Repeat...Ju-freaking-ly

So most important in this whole deal is this.  Dont fish for summer runs in the Clearwater in July.  It will only stoke the hot embers of the desire to fish for steelhead to a ranging inferno. 

Trouts...what's that.  All focus is laser pointed towards their ocean run cousins.

5 days in a row on the Clearwater with nary a bump.   OMR is 4 days deep since his first steelhead this season, and he's resorted to breaking out his Robert Duval impression (check out the hat)

I tried the hat, it didnt work.  Time to sacrifice a chicken or something. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Damn it feels good to be a Gansta..

We're probably the 459th blog to repost this, but who cares, it still rules.

RA Beattie and Joey Mac have again killed it, winning the best humor award from the Drake Film Awards. 

Yeeeeeee booyeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Saddle up on the fishing world's deadest horse...

Oh. Bloody. Hell. 

It's that time again, the swinging vs nymphing debate

A couple of the fly fishing boards that I frequent are alive with multiple page threads about swinging vs nymphing for steelhead.   This horse is so freaking tenderized, you could pass it off as filet.

In a nutshell, to get it right out there, here's my stance on the issue.


As long as you are a good steward of the river, play well with others, work to minimize stress and impact on the wild stock, teach others good river habits, work on conservation issues ...then you're good to me.

The super sanctimonious rhetoric just sucks.  It makes us as a whole group look really, really dumb.  The funny thing is, it seems like the people who rock a stonefly and an egg trailer are the most open minded while the guys who stick to their dry lines only are the ones who are the most close minded.  

To be the best fisherman possible, I  think it prudent to be able to master both methods.

Last year  OMR and I picked up Spey Rods for the first time and fell in love.  Given the chance, it's the method we prefer. 

But if conditions dictate that nymphing is better, both of us will not hesitate to rock a bobber set up. 

So little boys and girls, when someone argues with you over what is best, you know what the right answer is?

Whatever you choose it to be!

Now go fish!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Lucky Shot...

Sometimees, it just falls into place.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Life Seems Like It's on Mute Right now

A weekend to the trout holy land of Twin Bridges, Montana can do that to you.

There are certain times in life were everything just pulls together, and this last weekend was like an arrow hitting the dead center of a bullseye

From Missouri, Hawaii, Ellensburg, Portland, Seattle and all places in between, members of the fly fishing degenerate council and their better half's descended into Southwest Montana for a little wedding for our buddy Joe Willauer of Evolution Anglers

Planned or not, it also coincided with some pretty nice hopper fishing on the rivers surrounding town.  If you don't know what they are, then you probably need to go find out...cause it's a trout fisherman's version of mecca

Fishing was a nestled in the region between great and unreal.  When you can toss big foam pillows down a current line and have toad browns tip their noses up to accept, it's a pretty rad deal

I hopped in an extra seat on Friday and Kevin Samuelson of the Evening Hatch and his lovely girlfriend Liz. 
She did an excellent job showing s that girls often out fish the boys

And Kevin showed me that there are Steelhead east of the continental divide

The day of the wedding was the culminating day of the trip.  It's a special day when you can do a bit of fishing, hop up the bank, get ready and walk to the most beautiful little church I've ever seen. 

A little golden love right before.....

The ultimate expression of love was stated between Joe and Ke'lah Willauer.  Cheers to you too!

So the stars aligned, the sun shined on our backs, fish ate big dries, a few too many Moscow Mules were consumed, a 4 wheeler ran around the reception hall and I danced like a fool at the reception of the best wedding weekend I've ever been to.