fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

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countdown to turkey

T-minus 28 hours and 26 minutes…

The nice older couple who housed us and bought us underwear for Christmas are in town, doing well enough after 21 days on the road to Texas and back. RSVPs have been made; food’s piling up; table space measured.

Feels a bit like June 5, 1944. Instead of tanks, planes and personnel, it’s boxes of plates, platters, silverware and serving utensils. The opposing force is 21 strong.

It’ll be interesting. The last time I fed this many people at once I was working in Humboldt State’s Jolly Giant student cafeteria.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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time for a new carreer?

Window washer falls 8 stories in downtown Seattle — and survives
By Seattle Times staff

A 34-year-old window washer fell eight stories and survived late this morning when his safety gear broke his fall.

The man, whose identity wasn’t immediately available, was taken to Harborview Medical Center with injuries that are not life-threatening, according to Seattle Fire Department spokeswoman Dana Vander Houwen.

The man, who fell about 11:20 a.m., was caught by his rope when he reached the second-floor level and the rope “softened” the impact of his fall into an alley.

Vander Houwen said the man was conscious and talking when paramedics arrived.

The man appeared to be in good shape and was talking as he was being loaded into an ambulance, according to Mike O’Donin, manager of the Broadacre Building, where the injured man had been washing the windows.

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would be a heck of a commute

The commute’s too long, but my natural avoidance of moving from the left coast to the right could be breaking down.

Found the below (and attractive) job listing for Orvis today, and I guess that access to fresh maple syrup might somewhat offset winters that come with too much snow.

Product Development Specialist – Rod and Tackle

Location: VT – Sunderland (Corporate Office
Category: Merchandising / Product Management
Shift(s): Days
Position Type: Full Time
Date Posted: 11/13/2009
Relocation Available: Yes

Position Profile: The Rod and Tackle Product Development Specialist will be responsible for the development, growth, and profit of key Orvis fly fishing sub categories of fly rods and fly reels for retail, catalog, web, and wholesale at Orvis. This individual will have an excellent background, knowledge and experience of the outdoor market with solid experience in freshwater and saltwater fly fishing.

Company Interfaces: This position reports directly to the Divisional Merchandising Manager of Rod and Tackle with a strong relationship with the VP of Rod and Tackle. The position will include ongoing interaction with the Fishing Product Development Specialists and Inventory Control Buyers, advertising/ catalog production personnel, quality assurance managers, retail merchandise manager, and the tech specialists in Roanoke.

Key Performance Measurements: Gross profit across mail order, web, dealer, and the retail business for above categories

  • Quality as measured by returns, as well as feedback from customers, sales personnel in retail and wholesale, and the endorsed guide network
  • Cost of goods and sourcing for fly rod rods and fly reels.


  • Ownership of the development of fly rods and fly reels for a planned increase in sales and gross margin.
  • Interface with the VP of Manufacturing and development staff at the rod shop to meet product introduction timelines.
  • Ensure quality at all phases in the process and product life.
  • Coordinate testing of all products in way that is consistent with our brand standards.
  • Analysis of the business utilizing our in house systems to monitor sales, gross profit, and establish a vision for where the business has the most potential for growth.
  • Vendor negotiations for costing and implementation of best sources to assure product delivery and quality.
  • Timely processing of product information for appropriate forecast / purchase processing, delivery of photography and rep samples, and effective management of merchandising calendar.


  • Strong teamwork and organizational skills
  • A strong preference for experience in product development and sourcing in outdoor hardgoods and 3-5 years experience in fly fishing retail
  • Excellent judgment, decision making ability, and analytical skills
  • Solid Fly Fishing knowledge in both fresh and saltwater
  • Must possess excellent communication skills
  • Must be familiar with the Orvis lifestyle
  • Computer skills including Excel and Word
  • Flexible travel required in this position for shows and sourcing
  • College degree preferred

Click here to apply

So, let’s think about this. A job in an office located on the edge of a 377-acre natural black bear habitat, with a small on-site gym, hiking trails, a casting pond, nearby trout streams, and a company cafe. A location that’s truly all about the outdoors. I’ve heard tell that local restaurants close by 9:00 p.m. Gas stations close by 10.

I certainly could get used to fishing after putting in a full day’s work and getting to bed by 10 o’clock.

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Ford joins pursuit of police market

With the demise of the modified civilian car models thrust — with tweaks — into police duty, we might just see an all-new aftermarket arise in previously abused used cop cars. Lines are forming now.

In this space we’ve mentioned the purpose-built and unique Carbon E7, with its 250 hp diesel power plant, and 28-30 mpg.

Last month General Motors announced its intention to bring a new Caprice to market, tapping the Australian-built Holden Statesman sedan platform, which ironically is already sold under the Caprice nameplate in the Middle East.

Now Ford’s jumped into the game, announcing without specifics, plans to develop an all-new Police Interceptor, perhaps based on the rear-drive Australian-market Ford Falcon.

Maybe soon the Blue Brothers can ride again, this time in a 300+ hp, 6.0-liter V-8 powered sedan with “…cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks. … What do you say, is it the new Bluesmobile, or what?”

Ford Falcon

Australian Ford Falcon - The Next American Police Interceptor?

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tootin’ (my horn)

In yet another example of my unwillingness to leave well enough alone, I’ve launched yet another version (v3.0) of my fly fishing club’s Web site.

I’ll be upfront here; I consider myself somewhere along the line of an adequate webmaster or decent weblackey. And though it didn’t have to be done, it wasn’t all that hard.

This is probably my fifth or sixth redsign of a Web site or blog. Modestly speaking, I think it is by far my best.

The subject of this post, the Diablo Valley Fly Fishermen Web site.

The subject of this post, the Diablo Valley Fly Fishermen Web site.
Wondering why the funky green line at the top of the pages?
Squint and you might just see a resemblance to fly line.

There’s sometimes too much said about creative use of white space, and I could justify its use here with the physical and psychological idea that text needs room to breathe and our brains need this breathing room to absorb the displayed information. I think it just looks good and lends quiet elegance to the design.

Yes, I’ve dropped the “fill every pixel” philosophy to instead trust that even dim intelligent visitors will find their way to the information they seek. A calculated but somewhat sparse placement of photos nicely balances with the content. The PaintShop Pro-aided addition of a plus sign to the attractive 40th anniversary patch easily extends it useful lifetime.

All this is a sly way of saying I wasn’t happy with the design crafted just about a year ago.

A week later, I still like this new design.

We’ll see how I feel in another 51 weeks.

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last hurrah ’09

[singlepic id=746 w=200 h=267 float=right]We’re back. The second annual End of Trout Season Trip is history. And we caught more browns, brookies and rainbows than could rightfully be expected.

It all started late and slow as less adept drivers transformed former automobiles into too many ready-to-be-recycled bits strewn along Hwy 680. We picked up speed through Livermore, grabbed a sandwich dinner in Dublin, then came to a stop in Manteca. Younger son Christopher needed his first look at a Bass Pro Shops store and a few pieces of gear. Eyes suitably glazed over, it was a quick 70 miles to the cabin and an early bed time.

There’s a benefit to regularly falling getting out of bed during the five o’clock hour. It’s that much easier to hit road early when fishing. On the road in the dark, with Christopher asleep and few episodes of “Ask About Fly Fishing” queued up on the iPhone, the 93 miles to the upper East Walker River quickly slipped away.

Mother Nature was nice enough to cooperate, and the weather was exactly as if I had ordered it up…cool, crisp and high-desert clear. I don’t think it was much above 40° and never rose much above 50° on the EW. The nicest surprise is that this would be the first time I would been alone on the East Walker, if for just the first hour.

[singlepic id=745 w=200 h=150 float=left]Once we were bugged up and on the river, the rest of life drifted away. Cast, mend, watch. Repeat. That went on for a total of, oh, maybe ten minutes before the confidence inspiring first strike. That’s the way it was to be all morning. Grand total: twelve browns in three hours. Not a one less than twelve inches long and some stretching to fourteen. Nice fish. All fat, sassy and seemingly ready for winter. There we’re bigger fish around to be sure. In a slower moving, slick surfaced stretch we caught sight of a wake that would do the Lock Ness Monster proud. Big fish to the net or not, it was a great start to the weekend.

Eating lunch on the go, it was south to Tioga Pass Road. We tried a familiar lower stretch of Lee Vining Creek, but most of those fish were holdover stockers that had earned an education over the summer and weren’t having any of what we were selling. So it was onwards and steeply upwards to the upper sections of Lee Vining Creek and other high-mountain creeks, where I know of a few wild populations of brook trout just right for the 3 wt. rod.

It had become a mandate that I visit these little trout. I did so during May, only to find a few fish, and those few fish unwilling to fall for any of my offerings. This time it was to be different.

[singlepic id=747 w=200 h=267 float=right]The air temperature was, at best, in the high thirties, and a stiff wind whipped down off the snow fields. I mentally marked the time: one thirty. ‘Cause I had just walked into what seemed to be one heck of a hatch. Or at least a feeding frenzy. Pods of brook trout, dazzling in their spawning colors, slashed at the surface. Others breached like freshwater whales in miniature. And I could do no wrong with a size 14 Royal Wulff, off which I hung a size 22 “Ghost Midge” of my own design. (Simply tie a tiger midge with gray thread instead of black, with a small flash tail if you’d like.)

I stopped counting at twenty. A number of ten-inch trophies made up for lack of length with brilliant colors. Yes, that’s a trophy fish at 9,990-something feet in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. There’s something amazing about fishing a small, crystal clear mountain creek, no deeper than 12 inches and landing fish after fish. I would have liked to have spent the entire afternoon there. But we had older son Sean to meet and some one hundred-plus miles to go.

Sunday dawned cold and clear again. Soon we were packed up and ready to return to reality home, but not without one last cast or twenty. On the road home there are a few small West Slope streams that feed into Don Pedro Lake; good places to delay our reentry into the world by a few hours. The morning started off slow and Sean wandered downstream. I should have seen the signs. No witnesses. No one to man the net.

It could have been predicted. It was a soft take. Subtle in fact. Muscle memory set the hook. Then all hell broke loose. Apparently a torpedo had attached itself to my line. It accelerated upstream. Three leaps later the fish made the mistake of almost grounding itself in shallow water. Then I could see its back – a big back – break the surface. A short second of indecision preceeded a downstream charge; a charge powerful enough to take me with it. In the end, fifteen minutes later, and 100 feet down stream, a slab of a fish was in the net. Barely. Twenty four inches of rainbow. The biggest trout I’ve landed in moving water. And no witnesses. Only the camera to trust to tell the story.

[singlepic id=752 w=470 h=352]

The rest of the morning was filled with multiple double hook ups as Sean and fished favorite spots side by side. We landed a number of DFG-raised rainbows, with just enough casts required between strikes to keep it interesting. Sean was lucked enough to bring an eighteen incher to hand. I got another good fish of twenty two inches. I also had a repeat of last year. I’d heard years ago that in the fall some wild Don Pedro Lake browns occasionally find their way upstream thanks to spawning urges. This was proven to me to be fact last fall went I landed an eighteen-inch brownie. Got one again this year. Even if it was only ten inches, I’ll count it.

My last hurrah for Trout 2009.

The slideshow:

The gallery:
[nggallery id=65]

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end-of-season fishing trip ’09: the warm up

Three more days of work and we’re outta here.

After last year’s inaugural trip to cold waters during the last full weekend of California’s trout season, the commitment was made to do it again. In approximately 90 hours one son and I should be on the road. We’ll stop at the Bass Pro Shops store near Manteca to drool, and make it to the cabin by sundown.

With any luck, we’ll be out of cell phone range all day Saturday, traversing just under one hundred miles to Bridgeport.

The goal: fish the East Walker River one more time before snow closes the passes. The EW’s flowing low but hope is high that this’ll remain steady through the weekend and allow access to areas I didn’t fish during the summer.

Then, depending on the fishing at the EW, our stamina, our doggedness or a combination of all three influences, maybe we’ll make it roundabout trip with a drive down to Lee Vining, hang a right, and head up and over Tioga Pass for a last late-season look.