Saturday, August 28, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
And may your dreams
If the thunder cloud
So let it rain
Rain down on him
So let it be
So let it be
And may your dreams
If the thundercloud
So let it rain
Let it rain
Rain on him
Friday, April 23, 2010
This seed of communication may also germinate from learning and practicing a time honored craft within beautiful environments, which in turn evokes the Henry David Thoreau or John Muir buried deep inside us all. With this awakening, we notice things when we look, our thoughts about nature become more focused and a general satiation for life is achieved through the natural environments we spend time fishing in.
What should a fly fisherman do upon the realization he is approaching this general state of contentment?
Friday, April 16, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
And then, while I smoked a pipe and sipped my whisky, he read me the bright narrative which became one of the best chapters in his fascinating autobiography, Those Were the Days. I can hear his voice yet and see the tackle-littered common room in the lamplight, and I cherish this memory, for the camp is gone now and all the lovely stretch of river we fished is underneath the Neversink Reservoir in sixty feet of water, and Ed long ago crossed that other River to fish from the far bank. That evening was a fragment of the Golden Age, both of the Neversink and of me."
The above is the last page in Sparse Grey Hackle's, Fishless Days, Angling Nights. The book is a classic piece of fly fishing literature, and I was happy to stumble upon it while hunting for bamboo fly rods in an antique store.
Fishless Days, Angling Nights is filled with stories and memories from Hackle's (Alfred Miller) fly fishing adventures in the early 20th century, primarily the 1920s-50s. The last chapter, entitled “The Golden Age,” relates the last time Hackle went fishing with his good friend Ed Hewitt in 1940.
As I finished reading those last words, I thought to myself; when was my golden age of fly fishing and adventure? Or is it yet to come?
I guess I will continue to wade my favorite streams and cast my little flies, while I consider that question. I’ll let you know when I have an answer.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
I can recall one snowy adventure on stream that made me re-think the need to winter fish. I had just attended a Trout Unlimited meeting where the speaker mentioned fly fishing in a snow storm is great experience.
What? Seriously? Well maybe he knows something I don’t? Ok. I’ll go fly fishing in a snow storm…and I did.
A few days later it started to snow, I piled my gear into truck and told my wife I was off to fish in a snow storm. The higher I went in elevation, the harder it snowed, the harder it snowed, the more worried I became. Snow storms in the Colorado Rockies are not to be messed around with. These storms can be killers and I was going fly fishing in one of these potential killers.
When I pulled into the trailhead leading to the stream, I thought I saw another vehicle parked. I wasn’t sure if it was a truck. The snow was blowing so damn hard I couldn’t tell if it was truck or cattle that had gathered together for warmth and protection from the blizzard. Wait a second, it’s a truck, and there’s two guys getting ready to fish in this snow storm. Well, they must know something too. OK. If they are here maybe this is a good thing?
The storm continued to build as I rigged up. And I was ready to pack it in and go home when the two other adventures came over to my truck.
“Wow! This is one hell of storm!” one of them shouted over the wind and fury of the blizzard.
“Sure is!” I shouted back.
“You think this is worth our time?” he asked.
I shrugged and yelled; “I hope so. I heard fishing in a snow storm can be pretty good.”
He smiled and nodded to his friend, as if I had confirmed his advice and their conversations, “Yep, I’ve heard that too. The other day I attended a Trout Unlimited meeting and the guest speaker said it can be some of the best fishing.”
I laughed and told them I was at the same meeting. They both had a look of fear and mistake written across their faces.
After a few seconds of discussion, we all decided to tough it out and fish. As we walked down to the stream, one of them turned to me and shouted; “For the interest of safety, we should all stick together, within sight of each other.”
I gave him the thumbs up and we marched on. We didn’t catch a damn thing. Fly fishing in a snow storm, a blizzard. That was stupid.
I like using the winter months for fly tying. This year I pulled together a list of flies, common western flies, needed to fill my fly boxes. Basic flies one should not be on stream without, here’s a few I’ve tied up this winter; Elk Hair Caddis, Adams, Blue Wing Olives, Pale Morning Duns, Red Quills, Stimulators, Trico Spinners, Mosquitoes, Ants, Grasshoppers, Hares Ear Nymphs, Midges, Copper Johns, Pheasant Tail Emerges, Griffith Nats and Streamers. Sorry, that reads like quite the laundry list.
Like anyone else who ties, I’ve created a few of my own patterns. Mainly, these creations are variations of existing patterns, tweaked to my liking. I’ve had great success with my Moose Tail. The “Moose” is a simple pattern using moose mane for tail, cream dun for body and grizzly hackle. Size 14-18.
I sent a few Moose Tails out to a friend in Maine. He emailed me a few days after receiving them and told me he needed more or the recipe to make them himself. Seems Maine Brook Trout love the pattern. That was a nice feeling knowing my pattern is effective in a few regions of the United States. Truth is; the pattern just looks buggy and trout love buggy things. I think the pattern would work anywhere.
Tying flies, warm and happy versus fishing in a blizzard cold and worried. I think I’ll stay home.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
The book’s dust cover illustration is a pencil sketch of mayflies laying eggs in a stream. Pencil sketches have their own beauty if done correctly and by accomplished artists, the minimal medium of pencil, I liked the idea. Further interesting me was the nice dark coffee cup stain, a sure sign someone had enjoyed the book enough to read it in the morning, which is the best time to read. I purchased the book, which turned out to be another 1st edition. Lucky me.
Published in 1973, when Lamb was 73 years old, the stories are all 2-3 pages long, not stories really, but, observations, memories and thoughts. As I began to read I could not help but think the author was writing; “good bad Hemingway." I was mistaken and decided the writing stood on its own. Similar to Hemingway, the writing is clearly distinctive and pleasant to read.
Many of the brief chapters have Lamb retelling adventures, thoughts and observations he had while fly fishing or partridge hunting at a younger age, 20, 30 and 40 years earlier. Soon these reminisces become sad reflections of how he is older, and now the streams seem deeper and faster. The partridge smarter and quicker, hills steeper and harder to climb.
Lamb often lies awake at night, unable to sleep, listening to the seasonal sounds outside his window. Spring and summer days on-stream dominate these late night memories and these are the pages of the book which truly impact the reader.
I tried to locate information on-line about Mr. Dana S. Lamb, author, fly fisherman. Not much is written about the man, most finds are related to his books. One chat board mentioned Mr. Lamb died in 1985, “after a long illness.” Maybe he was sick during the years he wrote the book and in 1973 when it was published? 12 years is a long time to be sick, so I doubt this to be the case. Nonetheless, it might explain the sadness found throughout the text.
Old men write. And I picture this old man, sitting stream-side watching Brook Trout, content on watching them, and not worried about catching them. I have done that many times, sat and watched and listened to the stream as it flowed to the sea. Content with just being there.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler; long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other; as just as fair;
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Gierach is one of the best, if not the best fly fishing authors of our generation. I know that’s a pretty strong statement to make and I should be open to including Thomas McGuane or Nick Lyons in the category of “the best.” I’m not a damn bit ashamed to voice that opinion and no less ashamed to say I have purchased and read every book Gierach has written and published, with two exceptions: Motel Thought in the 70s and Signs of Life. Both titles are rare, out of print, works of poetry published in 1976 and 1977.
My intentions were to surprise my friend Brett "Ol'Sarge" Maruszak, with a signed copy of his favorite Gierach book, Fly Fishing Small Streams. I wasn't looking for the basic author signature, but, a personal note for Brett, something along the lines of; "Ol'Sarge, good luck on the backcountry streams."
I succeeded in buying the book, but, I started talking with Gierach about his rare poetry books and when we might see his next book of poetry? Gierach chuckled, gave me a "are you serious?" look and said; "I don't think I have another volume of poetry in me. And I'm not sure people would want one anyway." Before I knew it, he had signed the book and handed it back to me. We chit chatted a few seconds more, I thanked him and left. No personal note!
I quickly thought about returning and asking him to scribble a note, but, the moment was lost and I would have looked like a stalker returning. Sorry Sarge.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Tomorrow I will attend the Denver Fly Fishing Show, promoting cold-water conservation and restoration on behalf of the Cheyenne Mountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited. On my commute home I started to prepare a mental checklist of items to purchase at the show. Knowing I would forget the checklist, I found a receipt and wrote the items out. "Tippet 5x, 6x and 7x. Nice snippers. Floatation. JG book. Big Goose biot."
Sure these are all items I could easily pick up at my local fly shop, but, it would be more fun to purchase them at the fly show. Buying stuff at the show will give me the opportunity to take a break from the TU booth, walk around, check out the scene, see whose around, what's new and what's happening. With my list done, it struck me as funny and ironic that my father often scribbled down notes, names, measurements, dimensions and shopping lists on business cards and receipts.
One of the last such lists he made I found in his wallet a few days after he died. " Jeans. Shirt. Razor blades. Plants. Interesting hangers." Two days before he died, my wife visited my father. As she pulled into his driveway he was watering his new plants he hung with the "interesting hangers" he had bought that day.
I guess along with his love of nature, fishing and some of his temperament, I have also inherited his quirk of making these little lists and notes. Good for me.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Saturday, January 2, 2010
First day of fly fishing in 2010 and I decided to hit the Arkansas River as it flows into Pueblo, Colorado. Strange area to fish, as the river has collected trash from the city and many Colt 45 Malt Liquor "empties" from gang bangers who frequent the area. Another odd feature, gang-related graffiti on trees. Tagging of centuries old Cottonwood trees! "Yo West Side Bloods!" Don't mess with the Stream Side Caddis!"
My wife works at a treatment facility which houses many teenaged gang members from Los Angeles and Denver. These kids are sent to her facility for "rehabilitation" and treatment. In short, they're in trouble and her center is their last stop before entering the adult criminal justice system. Oddly enough, before I left the house, I noticed one of her residents had tagged our car, scrolling “13 ES" in the dust of the back window. Which according to my wife; this tag was in reference to 13 East Side Surenos a gang from Southern California.
My gut told me I had better wash the car and remove the tag before I went to Pueblo, which is notorious for gangs and gang activity. Good thing I removed the tag! As one never knows what type of response I may have gotten from the Stream Side Caddis.
Caught one Rainbow Trout, 13-14 inches. Day one, one fish.