fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

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ultimate supra-surface fish finder

Military technology has already contributed – for better or worse – a great deal to our everyday lifestyle, but now we soon may see the Ultimate Supra-Surface Fish Finder.

I have little doubt that the Helicopter Alert and Threat Termination
(HALTT) gunshot location system has a fishier application.

By using a series of acoustic sensors to detect the “distinct acoustic signature” of a gunshot, the Helicopter Alert and Threat Termination system is able to pinpoint the position of the shooter. In the field, this would keep troops better protected against small arms fire.

A simple tweak to detect the ‘distinct acoustic signature’ of fish sipping in the film or crashing through the water’s surface, the sure-to-soon-to-be developed Fish Alert and Rapid Tracking (FART) system’s acoustic sensors could allow any fisherman, regardless of hearing or sight impairment, to pinpoint the position of their quarry.

Gentlemen, hold on to your wallets.



facebook faux pas

No, I don’t gotta love Facebook.

Written on a fellow high school alumni’s Facebook wall a while ago by She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, about your writer, and only presented long after the act to protect identities:

Are you in touch with anyone from ––––––– High? ––––– ––––––– is about the only one I have kept up with. Pat Konoske sounds familiar to me but I can’t quite place him.”

I thought I took her to the prom. Was I that invisible?

My psychologist insists that I exist…

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the pre-season hatch

An ASVAB score pointing to Army MOS Field 92 foretold of our penchant for long-range planning. That same long-range planning fuels fly tying and anticipation of the coming trout fishing season.  What’s slowly becoming an annual effort of logistics planning and matériel acquisition is underway.

We’re warming up. Figuratively and literally.  Spring’s officially around the corner.

Mid-March marks the beginning of the end of winter and sounds the four-week warning bell for The Club’s annual auction, where we’ll donate cold hard cash in exchange for not necessarily warm or soft flies.

And fishing plans are being hatched.

Long before the felt vs. rubber-soled wading shoe debate.
Heck, long before any environmental concerns.

It all begins the last weekend of April.

We’ll be out the gates Opening Weekend with a quick three days of fishing Sierra west-slope streams and rivers in the hope that they’ve suitably recuperated over the winter. The oldest son might join me, though it’s hard to tell if it’s the fishing he’s after or a buffalo burger at Diamondback Grill. Regardless, we’ll be going where the fish are and cell phones hopefully don’t work. And once the trout season opens, the rush will be on to squeeze in fishing weekends as we can.

Next stop: the Upper Sacramento. This late June trip with The Club will incorporate “bugology” and on-the-water education. This’ll be yours truly’s first visit to this much talked-about far nothern stretch of the “Nile of the West,” fulfilling the self-made promise to try at least one new trout water each year.

But wait. There’s more.

The visit to the Upper Sac will be immediately followed by two days of guided fishing on Eagle Lake. The excuse is that we’ll be in the neighborhood. Mostly. The truth is that Eagle Lake is on the all-too-long bucket list. Best to start early whittling down that list.

The midsummer plan is to hit up the folks who raised us for lodging and grub, then chase Puget Sound salmon with the bro’, pa and few of their friends. It’ll be a quick trip…one of a length that now appears too short since dad’s stepped up to join us for a float on the Yakima and there’s a possibility of getting onto some local water, backed by the local knowledge of fellow fly fisher who’s offered whatever tidbits he might grudgingly share in exchange for a pint or a lunch or a dinner.

The year’s shaping up to be a windfall of new waters. Four new venues in just as many months. The months that follow will offer the comfort of the familiar.

Nothing’s set in stone for the dog days of summer, but history hints at a few weekend stays at The Cabin, punctuated by high-speed runs leisurely drives over Sonora Pass to wet the line in one or more waters: the rivers Walker (East, West and Little), Lee Vining Creek, Saddlebag Creek, and the Lyell and/or Dana forks of the Tuolumne.

Favorite late fall target: High Sierra brook trout.

We’ll officially mark the start of fall with a three-day stay at Tom’s Place Resort with perhaps a dozen club members spreading out to their favorite (lower) Eastern Sierra Waters. From sunrise to sunset we’ll be educating trout and testing home-tied flies on Rock Creek and Crowley Lake, with stops at Hot Creek and the Upper Owens and East Walker rivers. Dusk to dawn will mean home-cooked meals, homemade beer and sleep, in that order.

That’s where specific plans end. Rest assured, the looming closure of the season will bring renewed and somewhat frenetic energy. Energy for quick weekend trips, again headquartered at The Cabin, with day trips here and there.

Trying to live the life of a gentleman fly fisherman is tough. But I’m trying my best.

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how you too can join a pro staff team

Inherent in my nature is finding a deal. My dad describes it as scheming. Be that as it may, I’ll admit that the idea of free fly fishing gear in exchange for joining a fly fishing company’s pro staff offers a lot of allure.

But it’s also well established that I’m self described as an expert in everything and a specialist in nothing. Folks generously call someone like that a ‘generalist.’ For better or worse, that applies to my fly fishing as well.

Now, after reading Phil Monahan’s How Do I Get on a Company’s ‘Pro Staff’? on, there’s no doubt that the dream of fly fishing freebies will be far out of reach until there’s an inversion of my hours spent working and hours spent fishing. For some silly understandable reasons, fly fishing companies demand a modicum of expertise that I simply don’t have. This inner sincerity coincidentally knocks me out of any competitive fly fishing tournament.

Trout Slayer Beer LabelThe solution is beer. I’ve reserved multiple spots on my vest for the sponsorship of independent American craft brewers — makers of Fishing for Words’ post-fishing beverage of choice. Budweiser has the Bud Girls. Now craft breweries can have on-the-stream representation targeting a crowd that largely loves a locally brewed pint.

Just as they’re called microbrewies, my vision appropriately focuses on micromarketing. Sponsorship will hinge upon the water being fished. For the Eastern Sierra, a well-placed logo on my vest might be compensated with a case of Double Nut Brown from the Mammoth Brewing Co.

In the Sierra foothills, fishing Beaver Creek and the waters alongside Highway 4 or 108 might suggest a patch and a bottle or twenty-four from Snowshoe Brewing Co. Closer to home, the fast-growing but still irreverent Lagunitas Brewing Co. might be the free beer provider sponsor to choose for Putah Creek. While I’d lean toward Lagunitas’ PILS (Czech Style Pilsner), you have to love its other beers just because of their names: Hop Stoopid Ale, Brown Shugga (sweet ale), Wilco Tango Foxtrot (Imperial Brown Ale) and, of course, the seasonal Hairy Eyeball ‘Warmer’ aka bierwärmer (no actual eyeballs used in its brewing). This summer I’ll be drifting Central Washington’s Yakima River for the first time, opening up an opportunity for sponsorship by the nearby Iron Horse Brewery.

While I’ll call dibs on this idea, the untold number of local craft breweries across this country of ours will offer plenty of opportunity for fellow fly fishers to jump on this beer wagon.

Not all of us can cast further than an arms-length away, but most of us will proudly wear the colors of our favorite brew if it means having to drink demonstrate the product streamside.

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my wife doesn’t use nail polish. i do.

I’m not the philosophical fly fisher. I fish to catch…despite knowing it’s called fishing, not catching.

I care for my gear, ensuring that loosing that bigger-than-expected trout can only be blamed on my lack of skill bad luck.

And I tie flies to replace those that have proven to be effective.

March has become the month of anticipation. The worst of winter is probably past, spring’s ahead with another season of trout fishing; either fishing alone, with my sons, with club members, or with a fellow fly fisherman just met on the stream. The Sierra Nevada streams in which the flies I tie will float or sink…and sometimes float when they should sink and sink when they should float…won’t be open to trout fishermen for another 58 days, 5 hours, and 42 minutes.

But fly tying isn’t a cure for the itch to fish. It’s merely a distraction.

I tend to use subsurface flies, or nymph, a lot. Last summer I discovered that a certain nymph designed by a certain guide produced quite a few fish for me on a certain river.

I’m not a great fly tier. Those who call fly tying an “art” haven’t seen some of my attempts. And by no means was I able to dissect a fly and end up tying a suitable duplicate.

Until now. The key: nail polish.

Any fly tier with more experience would appropriately laugh at my discovery, but for me it was the lost ingredient in this fly’s recipe. I’ve never dabbled with nail polish in fly tying ‘cause I never used any fly recipes that called for it.

But that thin, clear coating of polish that brings out the rainbow, almost opalescence, of the flash tied on the base of black thread. Cool stuff.

Now it’s only 58 days, 5 hours, and 41 minutes until Opening Day. But there are plenty more flies to tie. A few to lose in the bushes behind me, a few to share with family and friends, and at least one to tie for that bigger-than-expected rainbow.

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how they fish in Crivitz, Wisc.

This snarky little item recently graced my inbox (with a friend suggesting it might be the ultimate evolution of the float tube.):

I was going to build the Gazebo on the edge of my dock down by the lake but I thought…I might just as well build the deck with floats on it and I can then take it out fishing too…has a 15,000-pound capacity.

The deck is 18 feet x 18 feet with 12 plastic foam filled dock floats that are 4 feet x 4 ft feet x 18 inches high, and the Gazebo is a 10-foot hexagon with a table and chairs.

Inside, under the table is my trolling motor so I can take it out to my favorite fishing hole. The trolling motor is remote controlled so I can fish outside and operate the motor. On top of the table I have a Lowrance fishfinder with depth sounding sonars and temp gauge. I have two electric winches with 40-pound anchors.”