fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

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teach a son to (fly) fish…

“Give a son a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach that son to fly fish; and you will have to answer constant questions about where, when, how…and tie a bunch of flies for his next camping trip.”

Sean and Christopher are back after a three-day fishing/camping trip in the high country around Tuolumne Meadows. And the fishing went well.

The first report trickled in from a pay phone…at least once Sean figured out how to use it. I’m hoping he didn’t immediately leave the stream to seek out the phone, but it was great to get a message that he’d caught his first wild brown trout using a fly rod. Later I’d learn that he caught other trout, including two wild brookies in a section of Lee Vining Creek where I know it’s tough to get any interest in a fly. It’s also cool to note that he caught them on dry fly. I believe that’s the first time he’s hooked a trout on a dry.

It would have been nice to be there…and I’m still awaiting photographic proof…but it’s nice to know that Sean put to use skills and tactics taught by his ol’ dad to fool some fish. (Just need to keep enough secrets to myself so he’ll never outfish me!)

Apparently though, Christopher resorted to spinners and, of all things, that stinky, unnaturally colored man-made bait to land a bushel or more of trout. Guess he won the weekend on sheer numbers, if not on the elegance of the method. (Insert acknowlegement of a certain bias toward fish caught on the fly.)

It seems that for me days of fishing, and catching, have been somewhat of a rarity so far this year. Here’s to hoping that next weekend I’ll get in some make-up fishing.

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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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a second fly fishing son

[Trying to catch up on stuff around here, so this is a bit late.]

While circumstances conspired to prevent my celebration of Opening Day of trout season (April 26) by actually fishing, I did head to the cabin with Sean and Christopher Saturday night, with plans to hit Moccasin Creek. Sure, Moccasin is stocked, but trout is trout. We stopped at Diamondback Grill to enjoy some burgers, then headed for the cabin and hit the hay.

Sunday morning, Hit Moccasin Creek we did. Christopher, Sean (with my old fly rod), and I (with my new 5 wt. fly rod) were on the water by 7:00 a.m. Sunday. The surprising lack of fisher folks allowed us to pick the best spots. Again, the creek was full of larger brook trout and soon all of us had a fish on the line.

Sean did well for his first time fly fishing, even if it was nymphing, which isn’t what one imagines when fly fishing is mentioned. (Nymphing employs weighted wet flies, which are presented to the fish in their feeding lane underwater.) While Christopher left close to mid morning after pulling in a few fish, but Sean and I spent much of the day on the creek, and in about ten hours Sean had landed a dozen trout. I stopped counting at a dozen. Later in the evening, I fished by myself and right about sunset literally hooked ten trout in thirty minutes, all out of a small pool.

Knowing it was to be a short trip, Monday morning Sean and I headed back down to Moccasin Creek to spend a “little time” on the water before we had to head home. Well, a little time stretched into hours. But I blame it on Sean’s illness…he caught the bug. When I asked if he was ready to leave, his response was “One more cast.” We had fun trying to entice some fish in a deep pool by the dam, fish we could clearly see. I think we both pulled a couple of fish out of there, thanks to my expert fly selection!

A busy but tremendously fun two days.

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ready to roll(cast)

A little bit lighter in the wallet, Christopher and I were another step closer to expanding out fishing horizons.

Finally understanding why fly fisherfolks collect numerous rods, my son and I attended, bid and doled out cash at the Diablo Valley Fly Fishermen’s annual auction. Parting with the green stuff was facilitated by our knowing that it would eventually end up helping any of the various conservation groups supported by the club.

Initially prompted by Christopher’s living and working on California’s north coast, Humboldt County to be exact; we hatched a plan earlier this year to find ourselves fly rods suitable for steelhead. We needed something on the order of 7 wt. rods with matching reels. And that’s exactly what turned up on the auction list.

The bidding was a bit infectious for Christopher but in the end he and I walked out with new Redington 9½-foot, 4-piece 7 wt. rods and CD 7/8 wt. reels. At a heck of a price. I also picked up a Redington 9-foot, 4-piece 5 wt. rod to replace the stick I learned on, an entry-level L.L. Bean 5 wt. rod I hope to hand down to some soul who might want to try a bit of fly fishing. Sean’s first on the list.

Once we get line on the 7 wt. rods it’ll be time to consider steelheading; despite all warnings…adverse weather, high flowing and cold water, and sometimes fickle fish that are constantly on the move.

Yeah, it’s a little bit crazy.

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450-mile weekend

Took a quick weekend trip to visit Christopher. It was cold and drizzly on the way up, but not too bad. Picked Christopher up about 10:45 a.m. Heading north to the lagoons, where we had hoped to fish, it became apparent that he was suffering from the onset of the flu or a severe cold. So, trying to be wise, we shelved the idea of fishing in the cold rain and instead poked along, stopped at a visitor center, got some gas and checked into the hotel in the early afternoon.

I let Christopher nap while checking up on e-mail and such. Since he wasn’t too much in an eating mood, I opted out of plans to head to the Samoa Cookhouse and took myself to Rita’s Café & Taqueria. It was good, but that’s for a separate post. On the way back I picked up some cough drops, DayQuil and 7Up. Christopher stirred once and a while, mostly due to fits of coughing, before I put head to pillow.

While it wasn’t the most opportune of time thanks to some little viral bug, it was good to see Christopher for a bit. I also got to see some of the areas in which he’s been working. The photo to the right is of a beach where he and his CCC crew are charged with pulling European Beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria), an invasive weed that infests beaches in the Redwood National and State Parks. Christopher even amazed me with his newfound knowledge of invasive plants on California’s north coast.

We spent Sunday morning sleeping in, and later drove around a bit. I showed Christopher the Samoa Cookhouse and parts of Eureka, recalling the good times I had in college with few worries and despite even fewer dollars. We grabbed lunch at the

Fresh Freeze Drive-In, decent and authentic 1950’s burger joint. With the clouds seemingly threatening to release a deluge, I dropped Christopher off at the center (with instructions to get rest and recover), and plugged home into the GPS.

The drive home was interesting. On one stretch of the South Fork of the Eel River I saw an inflatable raft with six people in colorful PDFs struggling to move upstream…yes, upstream…in the swollen and muddy river. Insane, I thought, until I noticed a truck on the side of the road indicating that they were a swift water rescue team. On and off the rain came down hard enough to limit visibility as I played leapfrog with various cars with out of state license plates. It also became apparent to me, while passing through Willits, that only the things that matter less don’t change in a small town. With the exception of the Safeway, the only places that have kept their names are the carwash, the Laundromat, and the small convenience store/arcade (TnT), which I believe was frequented by my brother.

Two hundred and fifty-five miles later I was home.

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the start of a great adventure?

With my prayers and best wishes my son left on the bus yesterday, headed to extreme Northern California to begin an adventure with the California Conservation Corps in Fortuna. I and a few friends at work are a bit envious, wishing we had known about such a possibility at a younger and more carefree age. Here’s to hoping that it can lead to great opportunities for Christopher. He called this morning to say it was cold, but it was only about 4° cooler than home…but I guess you find out how cold the morning can be when you’re out of bed before the sun!