Sunday, October 31, 2010

Of buckets and lists...

Bucket list.  Categories of achievement.  Future feathers in the cap of life.

We all have them.

The good folks at the Outdoor Blogger Network has thrown the prompt out there, "What's on your bucket list."

Alrighty then, I'll bite

A mixture of fish I'd like to catch and where I'd like to fish, I hope you enjoy my list and hopefully it inspires you to put your list down on paper.  Without goals and things to look forward, life can frankly get a little boring

1.  Land a Steelhead on Dry
Last September on the Clearwater, I had a fish come up and blow up my dry.  I sat there, mesmerized and couldn't believe that a fish that big, that displaced that much water, didn't hang up on the fly.  Then 3 casts later, it did it again with the same result.   Also, I wont go into detail about a fish that kept rising last November on the Grande Ronde that caused me to go stoooooopid and fall in the river in pursuit of it.  It happened right at this spot here

2.  Execute a Snake Roll Spey Cast 
I'm clumsy as hell.  This for me will be an accomplishment

3.  Swing a King

Ok, I've already done it, but this little 2lb jack doesn't count

4.  Fish the Bristol Bay Region of AK
I don't believe this one needs much explanation.  Big rivers, big bows, ummm...yes please

5.  Catch the Flats Grand Slam in one day

Belize gave me several days with a 2/3rds slam, but never the holy trinity. 

6.  Teach my son to fly fish
I think he needs a Winston B3MX 5 weight for his first birthday.  Just sayin....

7.  Fish Baja
Cause nothing's sexier in fishing than a Rooster from the beach

8.  Spend a week in Smithers, BC
Steelheaders have their Mecca, and it's Smithers.  It looks like its about 20 hours of driving from my house but I don't care.   Just give me the chance to cross a few of those rivers in the Skeena System off my list.  At least one time

9.  Help my wife land her first fly caught fish
It's going to happen soon.  I know it. 

10.  Fish the Palolo Worm Hatch.
Yeah, jumping and hooking big tarpon sounds crappy, I know.

So what's on your list.  I'd love to know about other quests that appear on other's lists..and maybe it will intrigue me enough to put it on my top ten.   Hit me up on the comments if you can 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Difference of One Year

At this time last year, we were locked into the greatest return of Steelhead we've ever seen.

This year, we're locked into receiving the greatest gift we could ever ask for.

What a difference a year can make.

Can't wait to meet you son, cant wait!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My wife sure knows me...

Because she keeps buying this rad clothing for our upcoming boy

T minus 4 days till liftoff...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Learning from almost tragedy...Bird Dog Edition

I learned a very long strong lesson in preparedness today.

Readers of this blog should recognize this little German Shorthair, Rex, owned by my bird chasing friend Marques.

With a few short days until my son is born, Marques and I got the dogs together to chase quail near our hometown which allowed me to get back just in case in under 20 minutes.

Nearing the end of a productive hunt which included a surprise rooster and 4 very nice covey's of quail, we had one more draw to hit up

No sooner than Murph Dog and Rex dove into the cut did the ground explode with the biggest covey of quail I have ever seen.  50-60 birds where spraying everywhere, interspersed with a big set of pheasants.  The dust settled and we set in to get the dogs on the downed birds.

Down at the bottom of the draw, I saw Rex and I knew instantly something was wrong from his body language.  Blood was covering his back leg, his head was down, and he wasnt coming to our calls.

Being the closest to him, I got to him as fast as I could.  Upon closer inspection it was plain as day, Rex was in a world of hurt.

The biggest gash I have ever seen on dog was wide open on his chest, from top of the breastbone to underneath  his front legs.  A solid 6-8 inches long and 2-3 inches wide and spewing blood.

Instantly I grabbed him up and sprinted up the draw back to Marquess and we then sprinted back to the truck.

Here's the lesson of the day that will effect what I bring with me bird hunting for the rest of my life.

We needed to tourniquet his wounds ASAP or he was going to bleed out there on the spot.  Marques busted out his triage first aid bag for Rex and as we bundled him with a t shirt and a towel, a simple roll of athletic saved the day.   Read that again... a simple roll of athletic tape saved the day

That tape allowed us to firmly affix the makeshift tourniquet well enough to stop the bleeding until I drove at mach 9 to Spokane's emergency pet hospital.  Lets just say a ride that normally takes 25 took us 10 minutes.

Only after we handed Rex over to the kind vet did the situation hit us.  It happened so fast that we just reacted in the best manner we could at the fastest rate of speed that we could.  Amazing what happens when you just have to do it and GO.

Two hours later, the vet emerged from surgery and informed us that Rex was on the mend.  The details of the situation became more hairier with information from the vet.  As to how Rex was cut, we're pretty certain now that he impaled himself somehow in that last draw and the cut was dramatically worse and more serious that we originally thought.  More like 10-12 inches long by 4 inches wide and he just missed puncturing his breastbone by about 1/8th of an inch.  If that would of happened, this story probably would have ended in a much different manner.

Rex is now out of the game for the season, but he should recover well.  Thank god. 

So what's the lesson here?  I will never hunt again with dogs without bringing a first aid kit specifically designed for our 4 legged friends.  I've always thought I should have one, now my first trip of the week will probably be to a local sporting goods store to pick up the biggest kit I can find.

You better believe it will have athletic tape, that's for sure

If you're hunting with dogs too, go find a first aid kit and make it part of the required uniform. It's best to have it and pray you never have to use it.  Our dogs hunt so hard for us,  crossing barbed wire fences, running through bogs, swimming through nasty swamps that we owe it to them to protect them as best as we can.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Getting it Done....Salmon and Steelhead Recovery in N Central Washington

Chelan County Salmon Restoration from Howell at the Moon Productions on Vimeo.

While this is a re-post from another blog, it's a great piece of video.  Nice job with recovery efforts in North Central Washington and hopefully they are creating a blueprint in successful recovery and restoration efforts

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Staring at a bare hook....

The openness.  The possibilities.  Where to go from here?

So I stare into the stack of what my wife calls "Feathers and Frills" and dream up a concoction.    A concoction so amazing that steelhead will leap onto it with reckless abandon.  Or so I think..

A person who is unfamiliar with tying swinging bugs for steelhead might wonder why I have enough pink feathers and marabou of multiple colors to outfit a Mardi Gras float.

Fly tiers and steelheaders just call it normal

The bare hook is soon transformed into pattern of dubbing, dyed mallard flank, black marabou and soon, hot pink guinea.  Who doesnt like hot pink guinea, yeesh.   Nobody is the correct answer. 

This bug will shake in the current like a hula dancer.  She's purdy bug eh?

Add the stinger hook and she's done.  Hopefully she'll find her rightful home in a fish's mouth soon

Monday, October 18, 2010

Yet another confirmation to how cool my wife is....

Ummm, yep.  She found a onesy for our son on the way that says that.  Yes, she just did that

How cool!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fulfilling my birth rite...Deer Sherpa

Awaking on a lazy Saturday morning, my phone blares at 7am.  Slightly  jostled, I rush to answer to call.  It's Dad, "OMR" for the folks that read this blog.  The first words of the conversation tells me enough.


Saturday was the modern firearm opener for Deer in Eastern Washington.  

This sets in motion a funny couple of hours.  I, unable to join him for the day, had mentioned to him that if he downed a buck, I would come and help him ferry it out. 

Through poor cell phone connection, I doubly assured him that we'd be there.  I jostled my wife awake and give her the plan.  She lovingly looked it me like I had 100 snakes growing out of my head, but being the understanding lady she rushes in her best ability to get on the road with me.  We had a commitment with her family in Central Washington and according to my calculations, we could make this pit stop "near Sprague" to go help OMR get his deer out. 

We make it down to the land we have access on and met up with dad.  The barren channeled scablands of Eastern Washington look like the last place there should be good numbers of Mule Deer.  We've hunted this area for over years for upland birds, and more recently for deer.  These deer exist in a land devoid of standard cover, but give them a crease in the land, a cut, a ridge and they are amazing at making themselves disappear. 

I knew where this deer was laying.  I knew why I was there.  I was fulfilling on one of the reasons why my father had me so late in life...or so he says. 

"Why do you think we had you so late, I knew I'd need a game packer when I got older"

I've heard this line  for as long as I can remember. 

You have to hand it to OMR.  The dude has so much fishing and hunting karma it's ridiculous.  He jumped this big buck 10 minutes after shooting light and dropped it at over 200 yards on a moving shot.   He handles a rifle just as well as he handles a spey rod.   

The deer was down in the bottom of a gully, of which I was to drag this beast up to the top, across a flat on a fairly dramatic plateau and down a siginificant ridge, and back to the truck. 

Rope around the horns and around my waist....

I fulfilled on my birth rite.  I am your deer Sherpa  

Friday, October 15, 2010

Only the cool outdoor bloggers are doing it...

While the headline to this blog entry is a bit of a joke, you should take a peek at Outdoor Blogger Network.

The biggest problem I have with blogs is that there are so many of them, they become hard to keep track of.  The goal of this new site is to be an agregator of some of the best out there.

Thankfully Chucking Line and Chasing Tail has made the cut.  If your a dorky fishing blogger like me, submit your blog there too as well

Link: Outdoor Blogger Network

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

One Year Ago....

Exactly one year ago, this fish was the clincher for me.

First swung steelhead on a spey rod.

I'd like to personally thank this specific fish for sealing my fate as a steelhead nut.  Once hooked, I wanted to land this hen more than any other fish in my life.  It transferred the hook right into my mouth

3 new spey rods, multiple lines, hours and hours on the vice and thousands of casts later, it's been a great year learning my way through the swinging game.

What a great year it's been

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Uncasing the Guns of Fall

It's that time year.  Time to uncase the guns of fall.

A slight rain the night before cut the dust of late summer to a minimum and gave the dogs perfect scent conditions.  Up the draw with the wind to their nose, they quivered with excitement, barking here and there in the inability to contain their anticipation.  For them, it's go time.

Like reading a stream, each draw we ran through on our brief morning hunt had its sweet spot.  From experience and intuition, we knew there would be action.  

Scatterguns loaded with 7 and 8's were all we needed.  Rex the German Shorthair and the crazy Lab Murphy cleaned up what we brought down. 

What a glorious fall morning. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Mouth Agape....Eastern Rises

Eastern Rises: Trailer from Mountainfilm in Telluride on Vimeo.

Sorry for the profanity, but HOLY SHIT....

A few years ago, I came across for the trailer to this film and stared at the computer screen and was amazed.

Alaska of 150 years ago stared back at me from across the screen, the great adventure, the great unknown.

and...and Russian bigfoot...

Combine this with the guys who brought us "Running Down the Man" and "Red Gold", this film without a doubt is the best fly fishing film I have ever seen.  And I have seen a lot

10 minutes ago I just finished watching this film, and I am about to go find the nearest flight to Moscow

All things that go into a good film....Great footage, amazing cinematography, fish porn the likes you've never seen.  Holy Shit..its legit.

And the music is rocking alive!

Pick up this film, watch it......over and over again and dream of the time when the stars align to when you can too go to Kamchatka and find rodent eating Bows and super Kundzha the likes that will make your heart soar

Pick up the film from the guys at Felt Soul Media and they'll donate 1% For the Planet.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I hate Sean Visintainer....

Well, not really at all.  He's one of my best friends. 

If I was to hate him, I do have cause though....

Besides owning the Silver Bow Fly Shop and making all the ladies heart's flutter with his beautiful smile
(so they say)

He casts too freaking well, he catches too many fish.

He's gone to Alaska before me, and

He's crossed off leopard Alaskan Rainbows off his list.

Off to fish the rivers of the Bristol Bay Region, he reported that he's found fishing nirvana. 

Fishing with K8 and Justin Crump's crew...many fish fell to their flies in a week's worth of filming and exploration

Again, he's a bastard..

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tale of Good Customer Service, VOL.2, Korkers Edition

I freaking destroy gear.  Yes, I said it.  I destroy gear

Just try being 6'8 270 and clumsy as hell and you get a mix that doesn't go well with normal fishing and hunting paraphernalia

So it's great to share my current experience with another company that gets it...

Based out of Portland, OR...Korkers seems to be on the leading edge of new footwear for the rest of the fly fishing family.  I picked up a pair of their guide models with the boa system about a year and a half ago and loved the hell out of them.  That boa system is freaking money.  No more dealing with busted laces, click, snap and're ready to fish.

With some crazy stroke of luck, about 8 months ago I won a pair of "Predator" model boots through their Hardkor Fans contest on their facey space page, and stored them away for the day I needed them.  Turns out I lost sole out the "Guide" model boots and I busted out the Predators.

(if you look closely, I have the those boots on...they attract steelhead on the dryline)

Well, back to my abuse of gear.  I wore the predators for about 3 trips and low and behold, the felt started to de-laminate  from the rest of the boot.  Not good, not good at all. 

A quick call to Sam at Korkers and everything was handled.  All I paid was the return shipping back to Portland and a grand total of 5 business days later, guess what landed on my doorstep, free of charge.

A brand new in the box pair of these bad boys, size HUGE.  I fully expected a repaired pair and would have been completely happy with that. 

After battling with a couple of different companies in the industry over their lack of honoring their warranty, Korkers comes through shining brightly as a company who gets it. 

So thank you Korkers.....much, much, much appreciated.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Looking down the Shotgun

Good buddy Mark with a little early season Grande Ronde Steel love. 

Mark's got the shotgun pose down pat, but who's to blame him.  It just means he knows his way around a steelhead river, ties lights out bugs, drops bombs with the spray pole and catches more than his share of steelhead

Dont ask what his day job is.....lets just say it leaves the winter open to do nothing but chase steel.

I hate him

Foto courtesy of of degenerate fishing council member Bjorn..

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Unexpected Fishing Partner...

I have this tendency to get so engrossed in fishing that I block things out.  I literally have to break my concentration to look at what's going on around me.

Yesterday, a thousand pound animal and of few of its friends were 50 feet from me and I didn't even notice.

What a unique moment to have this band of horses join us as we swung down my favorite steelhead run in the world.  They pretty much hung out on the gravel bar and watched us.  Thank goodness we didn't accidentally hook one like we've accidentally done before with Murph Dog.