Friday, November 29, 2013

Well, I've made it 3 years. I celebrate by fishing (and doing a giveaway!)

3 years ago today, I started this blog. I can't believe I still have it going. I've slacked off here and there with posting during the warmer months, but I always somehow manage to find my way back to it once the chill sets in. I'd like to thank everyone who has read, commented, and shared my posts. I greatly appreciate the support and the kind words over the years.

I'm keeping up with the birthday giveaway tradition again this year. (If you weren't around last year, here is the original post). It won't be as good as Cameron's, but we have some nice stuff lined up from:

Risen Fly Co.
Stonefly Press
Strip'n Flywear
Eat My Fly
and more, including some sweet flies, stickers, etc.

Check back this weekend for full contest information. I'll also be donating a quarter for each contest entry I receive towards aid for the Philippines. The more people who sign up, the more I donate.

Anyway, I've been warming up the vise again recently and whipped up a few dozen various old and new midge patterns.

I celebrated the 3 year anniversary by hitting the LL in the cold with only about 90 minutes of light left in the day. All I'm going to say is........WOOOHOOOO.

Also, just to jump on my soapbox really quick, dirty jeans are a small price to pay for not wading through the water and damaging the habitat. Don't wade if you don't have to. :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The internet vs. fly fishing

So, I was at a local fly shop today and wound up having an almost hour-long conversation with the owner. This guy has been around. He knows all the fly fishing legends, and has a bamboo collection that would make your jaw drop. He's from the old school, before people were instantly posting their massive catches on Instagram and Facebook. (guilty, I know..) Over the past few years, I've been stopping by there, spending money on materials, and shooting the shit, and I got to know him rather well.

So anyway, we got to talking about the current state of fly fishing. He knows I have a blog and whatnot and he said "No offense, but I think all this bullshit on the internet killed fly fishing." I think a lot of other bloggers, and people who frequent forums and comment on the Orvis Fly Fishing Film Friday posts would be butt-hurt, but honestly, I get it. He said he sees younger people coming in, bragging about this and that, and asking to test cast some rods. He watches them go outside and they can barely do a standard cast, yet their iPhone is full of Steelhead pictures from Pulaski. He also mentioned he'll see someone who is well versed in the sport comment on an ignorant post (as in... uninformed)  from some newbie on a message board, and get flamed to death for it.  I've kind of noticed the same thing.

I'm not someone who has been involved in the sport for two decades, and the only real reason I started this blog was to chronicle my fishing trips and look at my progress with fly tying. All of a sudden, people started to read it. That's cool and I appreciate the following, but sometimes I think all of us need to take a step back and remember that it's just about getting out of the house and maybe catching some fish.

It's not all about tying the hottest pattern with all the new synthetic czech materials and posting it online. It's not about catching a 25 inch brown and keeping it out of the water for 4 minutes to get that "perfect photo". It's not about the hero shot with the 20 lb steelhead you caught on the swing, and definitely not about 40 retweets on your amazing tweet about some fishing story.

It's about the zen you get from a cold beer, a hook in the vise, and some good music playing as you first pick up the bobbin after a long day. It's about the first signs of spring, and average sized wild browns rising to olives under a hanging tree that's just starting to bud. It's about sharing fishing stories over a few lukewarm beers in the parking lot after a day of slow fishing. It's about that perfect solitude in the dead of winter and catching half a dozen rising fish on dry midges yet no one else will venture outside because it's 20 degrees and snowing, and also about getting a bad farmer's tan while getting eaten alive by Mosquitos on a hot summer afternooon but not leaving because the Bass keep smashing poppers.

Posting massive hero shots and Go Pro videos, or taking over a fly fishing message board, might make you f*cking awesome on the internet, and if that's what you wanna do, go for it. But maybe this generation (including myself) need to occasionally step back and remember what fly fishing is about. It's not about 100 likes on Instagram. It's not about 2000 followers on Twitter. It's about fooling a fish. Remember that, and I guarantee you'll enjoy it much more.

I've definitely slacked off on my blogging over the last year, as have a few of my fellow bloggers. This can't be controlled. Kids and work happen and sometimes there's just not enough time to fish or post. I had a conversation with another fellow blogger who slowed down his posting as well at the Somerset Fly Tying show on the weekend and we both noticed that it doesn't matter if we stop posting because there will be 10 other new fly fishing blogs to take our place. I think it's great that people want to share their fishing experiences but I just want to say.......Take heed of what I said above and you will have a much better time, and a much more enjoyable blog to read.

Sorry for the ramble. I may or may not have had a few too many beers this afternoon. Enjoy the gluttony tomorrow.

Friday, November 22, 2013

November Late Night Triple Play

I got home from work and had a nice package waiting for me. The crew over at Risen Fly sent me a prototype of their new ITB fly rods to test out. These aren't even on the market yet so I was excited to give it a go.

I've been out about 10 out of the last 15 nights in search of big carp at night and I've quite  a few hookups but nothing landed. That changed last night.

I tied up a big tandem egg fly pattern and hit the stream around 9pm. It was still 50 degrees so I knew they'd be more active than earlier in the week when the temps were freezing. It didn't take long until I was giving this new rod a solid workout. I had this thing bent almost in half and had 3 runs into backing and it held up like a champion. This 9-10 lber was my reward for the 10 minute fight.

Usually when I land a big fish at night, the rest are so spooked that the run under the street lights turns into a ghost town. I was surprised when I saw a pod of suckers moving up quickly after releasing the carp.
 I saw one shape that seemed a little darker and was moving a little different. Could it be a trout? The closest stocking point to here was about a mile downstream, or half a mile upstream, which was separated by a big dam so I didn't think so, but I gave it a swing anyway. 10 seconds later, BAM...a fat stocked rainbow is on the end of my line.

The pod of fish still wasn't spooked so I figured I'd swing my egg pattern through the pod again. I wound up hitting two suckers in a row and decided to call it a night.

I know the quality of the pictures is not the greatest. Hard to get a good shot in the pitch black when you're sliding around on wet leaves. It was a hell of a fun night and I look forward to testing out this rod some more this weekend. Look for a full review coming soon.

Also, in case you're interested, DTT stickers are back in stock! They are available in the fly shop section. As an added bonus, All orders of 3 or more stickers will get a free fly hand tied by yours truly. Can't beat that! I'll also have some on hand tomorrow at the Fly Tying Symposium in Somerset NJ if you're interested. They are free if you buy me a beer :)
Click here to get some.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

65 degrees in November? Time to fish.

Raking leaves, School bus traffic, Daylight Savings Time, Blustery cold weather; shit I hate about late fall. After a cold spell earlier this week, today turned out to be absolutely awesome. Sunny, mid 60s, and that meant fishing in only a long sleeve T shirt. Bob is finally back on his feet after ankle surgery, so we hit a local limestone. 

With the warm spell, I knew there would be rises, but I also knew my fly boxes were quickly being emptied. We found rising fish almost immediately, and of course there were also half a dozen assholes wading right in the middle of the stream. I had a few hit n' misses, but none of the flies I had seemed to do the trick. Bob picked up a few including this nice Rainbow.

I became frustrated after working an hour only to miss 3 fish. We walked downstream only to find more anglers, and decided to hit the Heritage Fly Shop because I needed a new leader. I never typically buy flies unless I have to but while there, I decided to pick up a single BWO parachute tied by my old tying teacher, George Maciag, just because George is awesome and because I was out of olives.

We got a tip of a pretty good spot a few miles upstream. Bob knew that run so we jumped in our cars and headed up. I was disappointed in the frog water where we started off, but a little walk downstream and we found some more risers. After almost a day of fishing, I finally get my first and only fish of the day, on George's olive.

After heading home and doing the family thing, I decided to drink a lot of beers and go night fishing for carp, which results in this. (don't ask)

Also, before I go, make sure you check out Bob's Blog. 
He's got some nice fish, and he's quickly turning into one hell of a rod builder.