Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How cool is this?

Now that the season is waning and I'm sitting around waiting for the weather and the rivers to clear I was going to review some of the equipment I bought and used this year. I've got some keepers and a few duds.

One of the things I'll get around to reviewing in a week or so is Orvis' sling pack. I think it's a winner in most categories save one -- color. That blue is just ugly (IMHO).

Now I find out that the cool kids at Orvis have come out with a new version of the sling pack in Digital Camo. I must have one.

Look for a slightly used Sling Pack to go on sale shortly.
I thought this was a joke when I first saw it

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Rainbow Trout & The Green Drake: A Christmas Fable

There once was a Rainbow Trout who lived tight against an undercut stairwell. He lurked there for most of the year growing fat on the things that Rainbow Trout grow fat on and dreaming dreams that only a Rainbow Trout can dream. Mostly he finned in the currents that swirl beneath the stairs.

Not far from the lair of the Rainbow Trout lived the fabled Green Drake Hummingbird nymph. This large burrowing nymph scurried and munched and grew and dreamed of someday being a beautiful Green Drake Hummingbird.

Once a year, when the combination of temperature and light are just right, the Trout moves higher in the column to lurk near the stream-side shrubbery waiting for a morsel to eat.

The nymph also senses the changing of the season and rises quickly from the bottom emerging as a beautiful Green Drake Hummingbird.

Newly emerged, the Green Drake Hummingbird flutters on the surface. While she hopes to someday find a mate and raise a family, her immediate thoughts are on drying her wings and figuring out how to use the damn things to fly to the safety of the stream-side shrubbery.

Deep below the Rainbow Trout senses the distress of the newly emerged Green Drake Hummingbird and turns towards the movement. Moving swiftly past the glowing globes and blobs of red the Rainbow Trout closes on the Hummingbird who is full of the peace and love and hope that can only be found in the Christmas season.

Eat well this weekend. Be safe. Be Merry.

Fluttering helplessly the Green Drake Hummingbird attracts the attention of the Rainbow Trout

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's all downhill from here

Yeah, I don't understand
this shit either
At 05:30 UT this morning the Earth's axial tilt of the northern polar hemisphere was the farthest it's going to be from the sun this year. If I were a pagan, I'd be out doing my solstice dance celebrating the forthcoming lengthening of days and the hope for more warmth and rising trout. I'm not a pagan so I'll celebrate by wrapping up some work, heading to the UPS store and getting a few last minute presents.

The dream of rising trout is very premature unless you're willing to travel to the Southern Hemisphere where things are completely backwards opposite. But there's plenty of good winter fishing to be had as long as the stream flows remain relatively constant. Of course, it seems to consistently rain two days before any day off; the rivers have not accommodated my desire to fish for trout. Maybe the trout are complicit in this global warming thing. They seem to be winning; more water and less fishing.

My real hope for the post-solstice is that my psyche will begin to shift into a more positive place. The process of going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark certainly makes gloomy days gloomier. During the summer, when the hours are equally as long, I leave the office with at least the possibility of a fishing jaunt. I rarely get to wet a line but the possibility keeps hope alive. In the winter, hope sputters and fades in the long shadows cast upon the streams.

On a more positive note, I tattooed the new car last night. The old car had accumulated some personality over time including a collection of fishing related decals adorning the rear window. Most of those were irreplaceable. The new car just looked barren and I couldn't bear it any longer. Fortunately, the folks over at Boneyard Fly Gear and Bugslinger still have a nice selection to get me started.

I'm looking forward to the longer days. It won't be warmer anytime soon and the real snow is yet to come. But those winter shadows will shorten and additional sunlight will nurture the hope that in the not too distant future a Crocus will rise from the soil, peepers will sing, and Hendricksons will fly. It's all downhill from here.

I originally wanted the car in silver, but this color was all they had.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

ALERT: Special Christmas Present Opportunity (from you to me)

I'm sorry I didn't bring this special opportunity to your attention earlier, but I've been busy.

I know most of you haven't bought me a Christmas present yet. I'm sure it's just an oversight; I've got a few more to pick up myself.

To save you all the trouble and bother of the malls, I've found the ideal gift for you to leave under my tree.

Trout Run.

No, not that charming town in Pennsylvania but rather the faux Camp David located in Thurmond, Maryland. And it's only $9 million. If all my readers chip in and do their part, that's only $3 million each and if they tell a couple of friends, well, you could make me happy for a whole lot less on a per capita basis.

This property has everything I'd need to make me happy:

  • Gates to keep out folks who read my blog riffraff and poaching scum
  • A tired, old rustic looking house for me and my family and a limited number of you whom I actually like as long as you keep your visits short and ply me with extravagant gifts.
  • A bell which I'd ring in the early morning as a way to encourage hangers-on, dead beat relatives and riffraff who got past the gates to move to quieter places that aren't owned by me.
  • A shuffleboard court (or whatever you call the place shuffleboard is played). I've never been on a cruise and now I wouldn't have to go on one just to play shuffleboard. My kids could practice and get shuffleboard scholarships to elite universities.
  • "a two-mile trout stream running through the property" upon whose banks I could start a private club force feeding rainbow trout with trout chow and charging my personal friends upwards of $80,000 to catch them.... wait a minute, I think that's already been done.
  • Several small streams at which I'd hold small stream conclaves and invite all the small stream blogger brethren and sistren to so that we could fish and dance and sing and play other reindeer games.
Hold on, I just clicked on the realtor link and it says the property is no longer for sale.

One of you must have bought it!

For me!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I can't wait until Christmas morning!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!*

*Regardless of whether you contributed to this wondrous and generous gift or not.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The loons, Henry, the loons.

A couple of months ago I posted an article on tin shot. It was a critically acclaimed piece that explored the nuances of various tin shot and while the follow-up "on stream" article was never published (and may never be) I'm hopeful that it'll get Pulitzer consideration this year.

Who knew?
Some thought I was crazy to stop using lead and if so it was in a "crazy like a fox three-toed orangutan trying to open pistachios" kind of way as opposed to, say, in a simply psychotic manner. It turns out I was way ahead of the mad rush for tin split shot. I got in early while the price was low.

The sovereign (yeah, it took me three attempts to spell that correctly) Commonwealth (just what the heck is a Commonwealth anyway (and, no, it's not a bunch of investment bankers grouped together to avoid taxes)?) of Massachusetts has banned lead sinkers and jigs (of less than one ounce, in freshwater) effective January 1.

Apparently it's cause the loons are dying from lead poisoning (and oil spills) and while I'm no fan of the trout eating vermin that are Loons I wish them no ill will either. So, Massachusetts is taking the lead (Or, the lead. Get it? The lead....t h e  l e a d. Oh, forget it.) on this subject.

I know that the alternatives to lead are not as effective but it would seem a small thing to have to add one or two additional split shot to your line to get the flies down and not have the loons or any other wildlife that might ingest it be harmed. I used tin shot up in Pulaski in November and seemed to do okay though I'll have to visit at least once more to declare tin shot expertise.

Anyhow, this is one more thing to noodle this winter as we dream of spring fishing. Swap out that lead for tin. The loons will appreciate it.

The Loons

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Quick Sips: Musky Man's Son Speaks & Steelhead Lore

A busy two weeks as winter begins to settle in here in the Northeast. The nightly temps have been well below freezing. I hope to tempt a few trout this weekend but am sure the water temps are stating to make the trout sluggish. Of course, the air temps are making me start to feel sluggish. A couple of quick items whilst you wait for more writing and adventures from yours truly.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Quick Sips: Friday Late Musky Edition

  • T.J. shares a wonderful story of early fishing with his Grandpa. Jonny called it a "bobby dazzler". I suppose that means "real good" in some language, just not necessarily ours. I agree with Jonny.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In the morning

Last evening ended with that swirling, misty rain that does little more than fog your glasses and blow up under your umbrella making everything damp and nothing wet. This morning the rain was a little more earnest and I know the gauges on various rivers will start their climb putting the rivers in a condition that makes them less than inviting. With all the rain and gloom I'm replaying a couple of photos I took last week.

I got up early on Sunday morning, though not as early as most weekdays, and caught the sun just starting to do the things that it does most days when I'm otherwise distracted.

Sam and I spent some time fishing a local Brook Trout stream two weeks ago. I submitted an article to one of the online fishing magazines. If it doesn't get published I'll post the full story here. Below is one of the photos of the Brookies we caught. They're spunky little critters.

All around our area are little oases of ruraldom. They're generally old farms that have been given to conservation organizations. These are then turned into hiking trails and the like. One farm we visit a couple of times a year is surrounded by a bountiful harvest of housing developments. Marking the border between rural and suburban habitats is a lovely sampling of invasive plants.

Autumn or Russian Olive (or one of the Olives). Hardy opportunist.

Multiflora Rose. The blossoms are aromatic and lovely. Snuffs out natives.

Oriental Bittersweet. Pretty. It hangs on everything and chokes it to death.

Most of these came into the country as specimen plants for gardens. With few natural predators and lots of disturbed landscapes that provide fertile ground they've out competed native flora and now run rampant. Give some thought before you buy that pretty Asian plant at the nursery. It could be the next Bittersweet.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Heard on the River (by the pipeline)

"We don't know the source of this material. We don't know what it is," Gallagher said Monday night. "Our priorities are to protect the environment — whether it is our material or not — and to protect our workers. --- John Gallagher, Vice President for Refining, Suncor

Jerry scrapes the company logo in the the sand with a toe of his penny loafer . "He's a jerk.", he says to no one in particular.

Paul looks downstream to the bobbing white booms and the small army of wadered, life jacket wearing, workers. "You gotta admit it plays well on the news.", he takes a drag on a stub of a cigarette before flicking it into the river, "He's wrapped himself in the flag and has apple pie cooling on the window sill. It's good. Friggin' Suncor."

"Jerry didn't clear any of that crap he said this summer," Charlotte added defensively, "And if he had asked me we could have avoided a lot of the backlash from the press, from the tree huggers and ..."

Jerry cut her off mid sentence, "Bullshit, you'd of just come out with more of that 'We're monitoring the situation closely' crap! That's what you always push out the door. I'm on the tip of spear, it's my ass, and I can't help it if the fucking fishermen twist every word I say!"

Paul gave Charlotte a sharp look ending the debate. He turned back to the river bed, the coffer dam and the large hole being scraped in the cobble exposing a length of dark pipe.

"Listen, I want you guys on this thing like stink on shit. No one talks to the press unless it's cleared by Charlotte. Nobody. Jerry, if you see a television camera I want you to run in the other direction. Screw this up and they'll never find your bodies"

Charlotte and Jerry share a nervous glance.

"Pipelines are the life blood of this business. We've pissed off a lot of people in the past with our spills but we've managed to keep most of the crap out of the rivers. Post BP people are real sensitive about seeing oil on water. And the anglers are particularly vocal."

"There's a lot of money to be made scraping the tundra for oil sands. If folks start questioning the pipelines they'll start looking upstream and see the mess we're making in Canada. Then the house of cards begins to fall apart. And people will get crushed when that house falls. We've got to keep our house strong."

"Jerry", Paul said turning to the portly pipeline manager, "You've gotta get those propeller heads on top of pipeline maintenance. They get no extra budget but it's their asses if another drop of my oil fails to reach the refinery."

"Charlotte, reach out to HR. Let's get some sort of volunteer initiative going; start encouraging our employees to get involved with some of these angling and environmental groups. The next time this happens I want to see some of our guys on the other side of the story."

"I'll contact the PAC and Super PAC guys and see where we can apply some leverage. The last thing we need is additional regulation just cause we've had a few accidents in the past quarter."

He pauses and looks to the horizon.

"Oil keeps this country strong; keeps it independent. There's a whole way of life that depends on us getting this right. Sure we'll make mistakes but we've gotta rebound from those quickly and minimize the negatives." He turns back to his employees, "Keep pushing forward aggressively so our children can sleep safe at night but do it right. Protect our interests."

He gives Charlotte and Jerry that paternalistic look that is his hallmark; stern, yet gentle.

With a nod, Paul walks back to the waiting black Suburban. As he passes Jerry he gives him a reassuring pat on the shoulder.

Jerry looks down sheepishly and sees that the logo has filled with seeping water; a light rainbow sheen shimmers on its surface. He scrapes the sand smooth restoring it to its original state.

Note: This is a work of fiction and is not intended to portray any real situation or real company or real conversation that may or may not have taken place and any real or imagined oil spill. All the characters in this fiction are fictitious as is their dialogue and the clothes they are wearing. The Chevy Suburban is real and is a fine vehicle for transporting your fishing gear though this should not be construed as an endorsement of the Suburban or Chevrolets in general. Doesn't "Chevrolet" sound French? Perhaps it is. Also real is the quote that started this whole thing. Another real thing is the debacle that is oil sand mining. You should check out that National Geographic link.