Thursday, November 29, 2012

Take A Kid Hunting--4 Generation's of Cooks

Austin Cook's first pheasant...

Take a kid Hunting.  It's said all the time and it's beautiful to see happen and or in this case, in word and picture form.

My youth afield with OMR was foundational in the way I view the world, my family and my father.  My guess is that if more sons and daughters got the experience of young Mr Cook recently had, we wouldnt have the volume of problem our society has

Enjoy this guest blog post from friend Gerald Cook as 4 generations of Cooks converge an epic moment in a father and son's lives.


Family Tradition
If I’ve read it once I’ve heard it a thousand times: “Take a youth hunting… Share our tradition… Introduce a child to the outdoors.” Thanks, Field & Stream. I appreciate it, DU. That’s a good idea. It’s a great idea – admirable, even.
If my dad hadn’t taken me into an alfalfa field when I was 12 years old I wouldn’t be a Hunter today. I also wouldn’t have stood awe-struck with a 20-guage at my hip and my mouth gaped open as a Northern Illinois cock pheasant flushed at my feet and my dad laughed, either, but that’s a story for another time. With 27 years of hindsight and almost as many hunting seasons under my belt, I now think the sage advice “take a youth hunting” might rank up there with “just say no.” Outdoor companies may need to partner with Nike so they can legally follow “Take a youth hunting” with “Just Do It.” Now we’re getting the picture.
In 2011 I finally heeded the advice and took a youth hunting: my son. At 12 years old it was “time” to introduce The Boy to the fields. He had already shouldered a shotgun and fired on clays dozens of times. He was responsible, smart, excited, and above all, safe. He was also stepping into a priceless new tradition. His first hunt would take place in Kansas with me and my dad. For the first time, three generations of Cooks would be astride in the field chasing roosters and hoping for another first: The Boy’s first pheasant.
Did I say three generations? I’m sorry, I meant four. You see, my late grandfather’s Belgium-made Browning A5 20-guage shotgun was also in the field that day. Purchased through the mail in the 1950s, Grandpa finally got his dream gun. He carried it for years and was the only hunter in his family hunting group to consistently shoot doubles. Handed down to my father and now to me, that old A5 had dropped birds for three generations and I couldn’t help but think we were carrying a piece of Grandpa with us that day. We later learned that the gun was actually manufactured in 1930, so its unknown and untold stories of familial hunting may even predate our experiences.
Regardless of the gun’s age, one thing is sure: Grandpa’s gun rarely missed. Dad is money with the old humpback. I’m dangerous with the heirloom and have to pause writing this to remember if I’ve ever missed with it on my shoulder… maybe. You’ll never know. Like Grandpa, the gun is easy to carry with you, dependable, and willing to provide a memory. Anyway, back to The Boy’s introduction.
We walked the first field and I almost doubled over with laughter when The Boy stood in half-panic as his first rooster exploded before him. I caught myself though  and remembered my own experience as I caught Dad’s glance and suddenly understood: Yes, it’s funny, but it’s more than that. It’s why you take a youth hunting – instant addiction. The Boy didn’t even shoot during that first walk, but he was all in.
We walked the second field where Dad and I shot a few birds before magic struck. Late in the walk I heard the rooster flush. I watched The Boy fire. I saw the ringneck fall. Suddenly I was that 12-year-old boy in the alfalfa field again. I stood awestruck with a gun at my hip and my mouth gaped open. As I watched The Boy collect his first pheasant I saw my dad on the other side of him and the pride started to swell. He had done it. We had done it. In one beautiful frame on the Kansas prairie I saw my dad, my son with his first bird… and Grandpa’s A5 in his hand. Count it four generations who have bagged birds with Grandpa’s dream gun.
I’ll spare you my flush of emotion and the thousands of times I’ve replayed that scene in my mind. I’ll simply leave you with this, and I mean it: Take your youth hunting.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Casting a Voice--Skeena Watershed Protection

Listen to the voices in this video.

They're on the ground, they're in the water, they know what they're talking about

I made my first trip to this glorious land and the unrelenting beauty of the land and the people who live there just doesn't stop.   We should all do a little bit to ensure that it's there for our children to experience.

Just knowing it's there, nature in it's raw form is a wonderful thing to this humble little blogger.

Dont you feel the same way?

Get more info by visiting the Skeena Watershed web site.

Donate some bones, share the video, get to know what they're facing up there and you will soon realize that beyond the Pebble Mine, there's no other greater place we need to take a stand against interests that hope to extract from some of the most sensitive ecological zones left in the planet.  This is not to mention the plans that Enbridge wants to run a pipeline from the interior out to the coast directly over and along the Morice/Bulkley/Skeena system.

Makes a lot of sense, doesnt it????

Get on it folks, get on it!

Stuffed Into a Burrito...A Lesson in Remembering Your Gear

Before every day out, I methodically check my gear the night before, and recheck it about 10 times before I go to bed

Waders...check.  Rods...check.  Gearbag...check.  So on and so forth

So when I opened up the back of OMR's truck and as we sorted out the equipment to fish the first run of the day, my jaw hit the ground.

No boots, no gear bag.

Oh shit.  oh sheeeeeeeet.

The F bombs rattled off the canyon walls as i moved into triage mode to find out if I was going to be able to fish or relegated to the shore to drink beer and take pictures.

Nobody had another reel with a skagit head to fit my Thomas and Thomas 1307, but one item would save the day.

The night before, I told my dad to throw in his old neoprene waders because my breathables were leaking.  How prophetic that I then got to experience the joy of feeling like a stuffed burrito

My god how awkward are those things are.  I'm thankful that wader technology has advanced but on this day, I would have worn anything that let me fish....and that they did

Second stop on the triage tour was assembling a line combination on a spare reel that would work enough to get the line in the water.

You know how they say that scandi heads aren't fun to cast with sink tips?  Well, that is very true.  10ft of T-14 on the head wasn't fun.  Truly it was a miracle that we had a spare head at all so I could fish.

Beyond being stuffed into a burrito sack and fishing the wrong gear.....

It was a hell of a day and somewhere, some deity took pity on me and gave me a gift

Moral of the story?  You're going to forget key items of gear.  It will happen.

But find a way to just keep fishing and good things will  happen.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Return To The Biomass...

Ocean protein delivered inland and now returning to the biomass.  Now the cycle goes on as this life ends and is the base for so many in the future.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pheasant Macros....

The beauty of the bird is in the small intricate detail in each feather and feather pattern.  Every pheasant is a little bit different in their coloration and each one gives off different hues of color.

So sit back and enjoy the detail and beauty of some recent shots afield.

Orange to red to pink all in one set.

Each fiber radiates color.

After years in the field, this old boy finally is outwitted by a dog that knows how to root them out. 

More to come!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Farmland Relics...

The stories these machines could tell.

Coming from a bygone era, they're left to rot in the spot they died.   Weeds hide the hard work and toil that families poured into the land in their fight to push forward with progress.  Some won, some lost, some got new equipment.

We're constantly finding these machines tucked away on our pheasant grounds that we walk each fall.  Bailers, combines, tillers and other assorted machinery dot the land and provide habitat for the quarry of our chase.  Ever flushed a rooster in the remnants of an old combine?  It's an experience to say the least.

If you think about it, the pheasants are relic's themselves.  Product of another era itself, they struggle to maintain their foothold in the face of farm practices that become more and more efficient each year.  

Thank goodness for the glacial floods that created the channeled scablands of of Eastern and Central Washington that created the nooks and crannies that the relics of farmlands past and future cannot touch.

They both make Fall so very, very interesting.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Walking On a Dream--New Video from Evolution Anglers

Great piece of moving pictures from Joe at Evolution Anglers.

There's a reason why Montana kicks ass in the fall.   This film show's it well

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Man and His Beast....

The ducks played hop scotch with us, darting to ponds where we weren't.  Occasionally, one would buzz the tower and flare just outside of shooting range.

With waterfowling, it's either on, or very off.  There's not much in between.

Thousands of geese trumpeted around us bound for cut grain fields and it seemed that the big duck squadrons were truck and trailer with them.

Not to worry, a few quakers fell into the game bag but more than anything, it was great to watch my buddy Doc K worth with his hunting pup, Chloe.

The relationship between a man and his beast is a special thing to see.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gear Review--Sage ONE Spey Rod 8126-4


First things first....let's call out the 800 pound gorilla.

The number one thing I heard about this stick was the name.  The One.

Oh good gawd, seriously.  Is it thing used by cast members of the Matrix Trilogy?  Come on!

After casting it for a solid week, I could give a rip.  Call it monkey poo, call it whatever, this is one hell of a fly rod.

On my trip to the holy land of the Skeena system this past September, I put this rod to the test.  Hour after hour after hour I changed lines, changed sink tips, rigged up different flies of different weights and it didnt matter, it handled everything.

I am of the opinion that if you're going to fork out the cheddar for one of these sticks, it better be able to do a little bit more than one adaptation of the spey game. 

This "one" does.

Here are my top 6 reasons why I dug this fly rod.

1.  As stated before, it threw everything with ease.  The 12'6 8wt that I had the chance to play with threw drylines and skagit style lines pretty damn well.  Scandi with a polyleader or a skagit head with 12ft of matter it just goes.

2.  It's lite and crisp.  Load it up and let it rip and watch what it does to the running line in your hands.  It goes bye bye.

3.  Sage's warranty is great.  You drop the dough, know that they back up their product

4.  Fast but progressive action.  Casting just the head or a pile of line, the stick loads it up. 

5.   It's offered in 3 different handle styles.  If you spey cast, you have your favorite.  At least there's options here

6.  After 5 straight days of spey casting,  I wasnt worn out.  I have a few other rods that I love, but can feel it after a single day out.  This "one", naaaa so much.

What would I change if I was Sage----?

I thought a long time about this.  The technology is well beyond my knowledge base, so I cant attest to that.   

The one thing that I believe Sage has to be careful is with it's price.  The march of the industry continues to push the price points up.  At some point, there will be a tipping point where customer base will say no and move on to other options.

With that said, I have zero hesitation saying that if you have the means, then get this rod in your hands and make it an option when you're buying your next spey rod.   If I had a stamp of approval, this double handed rod would certainly have it.

Check out Sage's complete lineup of One Double Handed spey rods by clicking HERE

Happy casting and catching!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Free Fly Apparel Review and Scavenger Hunt

Most. Comfortable. Shirt. Ever.  

I am not joking, at all.

Recently I was given the opportunity to test and review the Bamboo Tech Long Sleeve  t shirt from
Free Fly Apparel and all I have to say

I met the Free Fly Apparel crew at the IFTD showcase in Reno this past summer and was very, very impressed with the look and feel of their offerings. 

Simple and understated imbedded with real functionality. Made of a bamboo and polyester blend, it's next level comfortable and most impressive is the odor resistant property of the fabric.   As a smelly dude, I find that a high value entity.

To help you out there on the interwebz get to know Free Fly ,we've set up a little scavenger hunt with PRIZES that you all will like.

Before you start, want to know the prizes?

3rd Place--Free Fly Trucker Hat

2nd Place--Free Fly Buff

3rd Place--so you can be just like me, the Bamboo Tech Long Sleeve T Shirt.

So here's the game.  Here's five questions you to answer about Free Fly Apparel and all the info you need is on their web site.  Send your emails to jmills81 at hotmail dot com by this coming Friday the 16th.  All correct responses will be put in a hat and winners will be randomly drawn.  Good luck!

1.  What percentage of the t shirts are bamboo?

2.  Where is Free Fly based out of?

3.  What is their charity of choice?

4.  What social media buttons do they feature on their web site?

5.  How many color options are available for the bamboo tech long sleeve?

Good luck, remember to send me an email by Friday the 16th at midnight.  Winners to be posted as soon as I have time after!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ladies, Bonefish Are Better Than Diamonds...

The first time I saw a tail like that peeking up in a mangrove flat....I went to mush

The Andros South lodge run by the great folks at Deneki Outdoors and Kara Armano of  Backbone Media   are coming together for something very, very unique.

A Ladies Bonefishing School

As Angler's Tonic states, Kara's "the real deal" when it comes to fly fishing.  Having met her at this last summer in person, you cant find a nicer, more genuine lady who loves her place in the outdoors.

Here's what Kara has to say about helping ladies learn what it's all about

“A passion of mine is getting more female anglers involved in the sport. From beginners to advanced anglers, I love watching their eyes light up when it all comes together. Women are great learners and pick up fly fishing quickly. Sharing that passion is very fulfilling"

With Kara as your host and legendary saltwater guide Bruce Chard as your lead instructor, being a member of this "school" will give you years worth of experience  in one week's time.

Get all the info by visiting the Deneki Outdoors site HERE.

Ladies, when you hook into your first bonefish, lets just say you'll fall in love with another type of bling really, really fast.    

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Bend Giveth...

Nothing sweeter than a spey rod resembling a taco...

Because at the end of the line, there's some bidness to attend to....

And oh yeah, OMR cleaned up with the best looking hatchery fish that he or I have ever seen.

What a perfect day out with the person I most love sharing a river with.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Fumblerooooskeee

Not every hero shot goes according to plan.