Thursday, March 28, 2013

Highways to Heaven

 The roads to Rivers are remarkable places.

The Rivers themselves comprise their own cosmos. But the roads... the roads that deliver us at their doorsteps constitute an entirely different galaxy. Suspended between hope and reality, fear and ambition, freedom and eternal debt. Always we are en route. The River may be where dreams happen, but those dreams are born on the road.

"Legal" disclaimer: Not my photo
Some of the roads are familiar, like living timelines of the angler's life. He drives them day in, day out, and his subconscious soaks up the subtle slipping of time through his fingertips;

A tree turns it's shade
A branch drops it's leaves
The River once hidden 
Now revealed

Squalls cloak her nakedness through winter
Only the committed will know her then

Return of The Robin
Calm before the storm
Leaves green again
A river reborn

Sorry. I was a little preoccupied in poetry class. Fish to catch and tail to chase and so on, and so forth.

The roads to rivers tell these stories quietly to those who will listen. And when there are no roads to rivers, still, we will find a way.

I am infatuated with the change of seasons and never more hopeful than when on the road to a river.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The streams we fish...

Same story, same theme, but maybe this article will put things into perspective.  In Cleveland we have a very rich and well known history of screwing our waterways - but I'm proud to say that I think that course has been reversed, and we're seeing it's reflection each and every time on the water.  

The lesson is quite simple - if we don't care for our rivers, then places like these will slowly but surely go away...



I'd prefer to keep them just the way they are...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Hierarchical Classification of Common Cyprinids

As you know, I've had carp on the mind lately. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about that other commitment I made. But temps have been hovering in the mid 30's for weeks now, so for the time being it's still a daydream. 

During the interim I've been fantasizing about the promises of another warm-water season and looking forward to reuniting with some of my long lost friends.

One thing I've noticed over the last several years of whisker hunting is that the fish tend to display very distinct personalities across the size spectrum. For ease of reference, I thought I'd classify them accordingly. 

The Dirt Devil

The 2-3 pound runt. They're always looking to play and usually bringing up the rear of the feed train. You'll learn to appreciate him when he peels off from the school to run your fly down after the Shop-Vac class fish leading the pack throws you the finger. 

The Hoover

As the vacuum has been a standard in American homes, it's Cyprynid equivalent is the prevailing standard in carp waters across the country. These guys start to get a little more solitary and like middle schoolers, they'll display varying degrees of self-confidence. Generally it pays to pick on the pudgy loners. 

The Oreck (XL)

The notorious 8 LB-er. Good camera work can turn one of these into a real hero shot. Bad camera work will yield you the uninspiring shot below.

The Shop Vac

The work horse double-digit fish. When they're working, they'll suck up anything you throw at them, dry or wet.

When they're working

The Dyson

The mythical 20 LB-er. A true trophy on inland waters. It is believed that a fish of this class would sport a 3" or better beard. No pictures here. When I find one, you'll know about it.

So that's that. Meantime, it's still steelhead season...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekly Waderfunk

First reader submission! No names, please...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekly Waderfunk

I've been on an unstoppable tying binge for the last week (carp bugs, naturally). The other day one of my roommates decided he wanted to get in on the action...

Luckily no irreparable damage was done. I took it to mean he was feeling a little cooped up, so with an off day today and green rivers to splash around in we took to it with reckless disregard for the forecast, which was miserable. At one point I'm pretty sure I could feel ice forming on my cheeks as a steady 20mph wind blasted my face with freezing rain, soaking my entire exterior from top to bottom. I kept telling myself that I must be proving something to someone, if only myself, and that my fortitude was bound to pay off with a couple big pulls and a fresh set of doodaddies.

But we all know it doesn't work like that, so I suppose we'll chalk it up to fish karma and hope that my "rewards dollars" kick on the next statement. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

I'm awake...

Yeah, I know.  It's been a while.  Now, I don't feel the need to apologize, but let's just say I feel the need to explain myself.  

See,  winter is my favorite time of year - but daylight and ice make time-that-could-be-spent-fishing hard to come by, and I'd rather be on the water than behind a computer screen.  So after my hiatus, I'm back on Dudewater, and hoping that my excusable absence won't be quite so long this next time.

Maybe what prompted me to come back was the seventy degree day I spent on the water last Sunday.  Or maybe it was the stonefly hatch on this particular trout stream that all but necessitated a buff over my face to keep  'em out of my mouth.  Or maybe it was the sound of birds on the creek whose songs I haven't heard since the fall.  Even though on some days it doesn't feel like it - it's already the middle of March, and spring is almost here.

As much as I love standing alongside a waist-deep, wintergreen steelhead run in a snow squall, I'm about ready to bring on the bugs, the boat, salty air and big 'poons.  March to me means Hendrickson's - and trout eating them.  Rapids or ocean waves slapping up against the side of a boat.  Silver fish pouring into our rivers.  Warmer, longer days.  Green showing up again on the river bank and in the trees.  Trout season.

I can't wait.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Haunted by Whiskers

"Eventually, all waters become warm, and a carp swims through them. The carp was put there by the meddling hand of man and swims over silty bottom from the basement of time. On some of the flats there are timeless mud clouds. Under the mud clouds are tails, and some of the tails are theirs.

I am haunted by whiskers."

Adapted from Norman Maclean.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Warmwater Warm-Up

It'd been unseasonably warm for a couple days running, but it still caught me off guard. I'd come ostensibly to walk the dog, burn a few calories, and do a little scouting. It was merely coincidence that I happened to have a fully rigged 7 weight in my hand. 

The flat light and turbid water were enough to make me question my eyes at first. A second look confirmed it though. There he was, sucking bottom like it was the middle of July. Without thinking about it I crouched, unhooked the fly and laid out a cast. The fish was facing me with it's nose a few inches from the bank, and the window to land a fly where he could see it without crossing his body and spooking him was slim. The fly landed a few inches to the left of the fish, and a short strip brought it into his view. He tail-kicked to it with a purpose & slurped it up gluttonously, a move which he regretted shortly thereafter.

I have to say, there is no rod on the planet better suited to this application than the Helios 2. Take it with a grain of salt if you must as I sell them for a living. The simple fact is, the way this rod translates the cast as it's conceived in the angler's mind into reality is kind of frightening, and I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Tomorrow it's back to swinging for steelhead as temps drop back into the 20's with threats of snow. The carp hunting will have to wait.

Weekly Waderfunk: 7 days of bad casts

A friend recently suggested we start a new weekly installment here in Dudewater country. Those who've been with us a while know how great we are at keeping regular with our installments, but I figured what the hell? We'll give it a shot. Unfortunately he didn't really specify what he had in mind, other than a catchy name, so I suppose that gives me artistic license to interpret as I deem fit.

Newton's Laws of Motion state that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  In the fly fishing cosmos this implies that for every permit hooked, every cover-worthy grip-n-grin, every shadow-boxed salmon fly, there is a foul hooked whitefish, a regrettable gag-n-grimace, and an aborted fly design that keep the world from imploding.

This installment will highlight the latter. Because we all make a bad cast now and then.

First, there was the fly tying session gone south...

mmm.... nope.

.... nope.

.... yyyyyyyepp.

Then there were a few exceptional fly shop who-said-that's...

"Sooooo... you're saying the difference between 2X and 3X is the color of the material, right?"

"I love the flies you guys sell man. Yea man, these, these right here... these salmon egg things man. These are great. They hit these like crazy. These are like, my main thing now."

Thankfully there were a few highlights on the positive end of the spectrum. Here's a sampling just to balance the Yin with the Yang...

This week is sure to bring a with it a new slough of fly fishing follies, and we encourage any and all weekly waderfunk submissions featuring the less glamorous side of our beloved pastime!