fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

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“Surprise, surprise, surprise!”

My wife takes almost inordinate joy in bamboozling me — a joy that comes easy thanks to my trusting and unassuming nature. At least that’s how I choose to spin it.

Reaching a forty-fifth birthday…as I did yesterday…apparently does not instantly instill one with cynicism or suspicion. And those qualities don’t seem to be inherent in my makeup.

In my youth I incessantly fell for pranks. Years later I still can’t help a furtive glance when nearly anyone asks “What’s that?”, pointing behind me and planning to promptly steal the last bite of my chocolate decadence torte.

So when the wife commented that we’d have a crowd in the house for my birthday dinner I’m sure that inside she quietly sniggered at my quizzical look. I knew that it would be us and maybe only one of the three kids.

She probably let a chuckle slip as she loaded the oven with eight potatoes for a table I thought would host only four of us. After the fact it was revealed that she also repressed undue amusement when my sister called the house and wished me a happy birthday.

The laughter was loosed after I opened the front door about thirty minutes later to find my sister’s family personally delivering birthday wishes along with a card and balloons. I may not bait fish anymore, but I fell for this deception hook, line and sinker.

Guess I’ve grown a bit more relaxed in my advancing age or perhaps I now accept the idea that my naïveté can bring hours of amusement to those around me. So be it.

Those bacon-wrapped steaks still tasted great.


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interesting surprise

Amazing what open eyes can see. Assuming the brain can connect the dots.

Planning for trout chasing next weekend gets all eight cylinders firing when in comes to research. Water levels are low. Temps may be high. And little good can come of catching and releasing already stressed out wild fish.

So the interweb gets tickled for any insight into Sierra West Slope possibilities. A search gives up an old Mapquest query left behind by an unknown soul. Tantalized by the possibility it might pinpoint good trout water near my Sierra foothills permanent base of operation, a click is made.

I recognize the location. Not near any stream that I know of. But I’ve driven past this place four or five or six dozen times over the last few years, not knowing that Galvan Fly Reels quietly cranked out1 a modest line of respected fly reels.

Here’s to hoping they offer a factory tour that ends with free samples…

1Pun not intended but left in anyhow.

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nothing beats a “free” weekend

In the words of my father, I “made out like a bandit” this weekend. And had a spot of luck too.

It began Friday when the new hard drive for our Series 3 Tivo arrived. The old hard drive decided to take a permanent vacation, presenting the dilemma of either purchasing a new Tivo, meaning we’d loose the lifetime subscription that has paid for itself a few times over, or trying to drop in a new hard drive. Either way, it would cost about the same. The hard drive install was quick and easy, and after running through the guided set up our resurrected Tivo was running smoothly with our lifetime subscription still intact.

Saturday afternoon the wife and I visited a fellow fly fisherman and his wife with the express purpose of combing though some fly tying materials. Comb through we did. About an hour and a half later I was putting a grocery bag in my car full of materials, including seven dozen spools of thread of all sorts of colors and hues. All that and a dinner date with my wife.

Sunday’s event was courtesy Honda. As a participant of an online Honda Owners Panel (which conducts surveys about once a month) I was awarded two pass to the IndyCar race at Infineon Raceway. Christopher and I arrived about ten that morning to enjoy a continental breakfast in the Honda tent, which was set up at turn two. (An uphill right-hand sweeper.) After walking around the various exhibits and watching the Historic Gran Prix cars head out to the track for warm up, we headed back to the tent for a great rib lunch. Lunch gave way to a visit by the Ryan Hunter-Reay (driving the ethanol-sponsored Rahal/Letterman Racing #17), then a tour of the garage area. Though I wouldn’t pay for the privilege, it was fun seeing the race in person. Helio Castroneves (Team Penske #3) won, with Ryan Hunter-Reay finishing 18th. Gotta love free stuff.

I’ll be the guy looking for more freebies…

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big guy, pink fishing rod, one big catfish

Sometimes it’s a good thing to take break for fishing to hit the “potty;” had three-year-old Alyssa not handed her pink Barbie fishing rod to grandpa, she might be swimmin’ wit da fishes. Catfishes that is.

That’s 32 inches of whiskered fish — almost as long as his granddaughter is tall and two inches longer than the pole. Look at the picture here and read the full story here.

This that a grimace of embarrassment that a $13.95 Barbie rod enabled the landing of a certified state record, rather than his six-foot rod with a more robust open-faced spinning reel?

I’ll be in Wal-Mart’s sporting goods department…

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one fly for the trees, one for the fish, one to remember how to tie the blasted thing

Scooped up my fully equipped fly tying desk — which eerily looks much like a little folding wooden TV tray — and plopped it between myself and the TV last weekend. Armed with a rack of threads, small and even-smaller hooks, a few tungsten beads and a diet soda, I set to tying a few simple flies. Despite no definitive proof that tying one’s flies saves money, it’s nice to think that idle time spent watching fly fishing shows on the boob-tube doesn’t always or entirely have to go to waste.

Not being a fly fishing crazy purist and intent on catching trout, I find no difficulty in lining my fly box with plenty of nymphs instead of dry flies. Before the fist show was over there were enough Zebra and Blood Midges to share with a family friend who’s expressed an interest in spending tons of money on joining the world of fly fishing. While simple enough to tie, they seem to work best on size 20 or smaller hooks. A size so small that a sharp inhalation could spell danger if one is bent over a pile of loose hooks.

Later that same weekend I upped the ante to tie some glass bead head emerger midge nymphs in both black and red. A made-up name to be sure, but a sometimes very productive pattern that’s also relatively easy to tie. Dropped one or two into the friend’s makeshift fly container as well.

Even learned something new, all on my own. Last Christmas Santa delivered via my stocking a small kit for tying a single fly. While this kit contained a less-than-impressive clip that was intended to act as a vise, the simplistic instructions offered just enough insight to prompt the tying of my first soft hackle wet fly1. No doubt one of the more artistic flies I’ve so far tied. Maybe I’ll soon post a report on whether or not it catches fish.

I’ll be “sacrificing” a few flies on a nearby stream…

1While nymphs and wet flies can be lumped together as “wet flies,” i.e. fished subsurface, wet flies generally refer to soft hackle flies meant to be fished as a drowned mature insect, baitfish or any other desirable food morsel. Nymphs are designed to imitate, well, insects in the nymphal stage. (And the pupa stage in some cases.)

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fixin’ to fix stuff

In between relaxing and hiding in a movie theater, I spent some “getting-to-know-you” time with CB. Armed with a few new slip-on connectors, a crimping tool and a somewhat faulty thinking cap, I lunged headfirst into the mystery of the only occasionally front brake-triggered taillight.

My highly technical jiggling of wires hinted at a bad connection. It was off with the old ones and on with the new. The classic-never-been-touched look on this 26-year-old Honda was retained by, of course, slipping the old sun-faded rubber covers over the new connectors.

…Sad to say, new connectors were not the answer to the problem. A bit of head-shaking and staring at the bike led to monkeying around (another highly technical maneuver) with things a bit more. The wire seemed to be intact. Giving into the “dark side,” worries crept into the grey matter…worries that this would have to be solved by a guy in greasy overalls who charges $80/hour.

That $80/hour inspired a move “upstream”…to the actual switch — a small, naturally unrepairable and self-contained device that uses a plunger activated by the depression of the front brake handle. A poke here, wiggle there and sure ‘nough, the quarter-century old switch apparently had breathed its last. (That’s a picture of the offending part to the right.)

Gratification quickly became mortification.

It’s an old part. It’s older than three of our four kids.

My heatbeat was restored to whatever resembles normal when a quick search of the interweb found that part #35340-MA5-671 widely used in Honda bikes and as late as 2005. Forking over about $10 was all that was need to have one sent.

See ya on the road in about a week…