Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Road Not Taken

                         Stony Brook, Minnesota;  September 11, 2009

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
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.

                              Robert Frost

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Fly fishing can be, and really is...visual. Sometimes I can sit and day dream about the stream's flow, riffles, favorite pools and brightly colored trout. Being stuck in an office pushing paperwork from one area of your desk to another, quickly acts as a catalyst for prolonged day dreams.

Today, in between stressful phone calls and acid reflux inducing emails, I continued to visualize the most iconic image of fly fishing; the Adams dry fly. Simply eloquent in design, the Adams dry fly is my favorite fly to fish and tie.

I could go on about why I, and many others, fish the Adams dry fly and its history. I won't. There are many more competent authors who have written far better treatises on the subject. As such, I recommend you read Paul Schullery's article on the Adams;

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ol'Sarge and John Gierach

While attending the Denver Fly Fishing Show this past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet and speak with author John Gierach.

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

Tippet 5x, 6x and 7x

The old saying; "The older we get the more like our parents we become" held merit for me today.

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

Helicopter Fly Fishing

I really tried to finish reading Thomas McGuane's The Longest Silence. I couldn't stomach it anymore and had to stop. McGuane is an accomplished writer, but, make sure you have a thesaurus at your side. He enjoys the sound of his own writing.

I'm certain he is a good fly fisherman as you can become a good fly fisherman if you have the cash to fish stocked private waters and/or venture into remote and exotic locations.  McGuane also runs in elite one of his stories he feels guilty about flying up and down the Dean River, British Columbia, Canada, in a helicopter covering the best parts of the river in the least amount of time.  Come on!   Would you really want to go fly fishing with this guy? 

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Colt 45

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.