Saturday, January 10, 2009

In deep

I'm in deep. Deep in snow. Last winter I was dying to get out on the water to try for steelhead. It was my understanding that having one of these silver bullets take off with your fly is an experience that will change your life. Then I realized, I like my life I don't want to change and above all I don't have the cahoonies to get out there and stand in ice water and drift a pink ball. I tried last year a couple of times with a friend named Mick, who is a great with more stamina then I'll ever have. But in the end I realized it's not in me. I'm OK with that and feel more at ease this winter. I have been keeping busy building rods. I just finished a 4pc 6'6" Batson 2wt that in actuality throws a 3wt line much better. I am now working on a pacbay 6'6" 2wt that is more of a true 2wt and am taking it slow. I have all winter. Right now the snow is high. I just got back from the Ohio Fly Tying Expo and it was a really good experience. Met some people that I had known only online and that made it worth it. Attended a seminar on smallmouth bass by Joe Cornwall. Which was fantastic he is was great and really made me look forward to the spring.
I constantly collect conversations that are happening around me. When I say collect what I mean is that I hone in them, it's not necessarily eavesdropping because if you can hear them without trying they were almost, in my mind, meant to be heard. With the necessity that everyone feels towards cellphones and the often complete disregard for ones privacy, it feels like my responsibility. It is something that I have done since I was a kid. As a new friend and I were standing outside smoking there was a young lady standing out there and a guy about here age walked up and lit a cigarette. She said "don't I know you?" he said yeah I'm "so and so". She said "where have you been" he responded. "I've been paralyzed for four months" I'm no expert on paralysis but his recovery was flawless..would never know. She says "Wow!! what happened" this point my friend and I are entering back in the building and I slow a bit to hear the response as the door was closing I hear "I go stabbed in the brain"...Now, I'm no expert on being stabbed in the brain but he, umm....ahh. I went in and bought some yellow chenille because a falling bumble bee in a pond to a bluegill is what a large pepperoni pizza falling from the ceiling is to a room full of stoners. Drove home thinking about growing old with this sport in my life, maybe because I was around others older than me and the passion was still as strong as it was when they discovered the fly rod. Maybe because I am looking foward to it.Or possibly because the winter can, if you accept it, paralyze you for four months.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Because of the approaching cost of oxygen $15 is all I can spare.

Times are tough. It cost $3.00 to start you car and leave your driveway. Natural gas prices are about to make us take turns sitting under the hair dryer . The list goes on and on these days...What is a flyfisher to do? Well if you are like me you are searching for the overlooked in the crevices and alleyways of the fishing gear. I have compiled a list of things that I feel are worth mentioning and all ring in at, or under $15.

Crystal River Cahill CR0001a fly reel. Sure Crystal River is not known for their particular awesomeness, but this reel fits perfectly on a 7'6" 3wt rod, that it can all be overlooked. One minor problem is the drag knob, which was apparently designed for the hands of smurfs. The drag itself is very serviceable and the knob can be adjusted it is just smaller than most are used to. It holds a DT3 and about 20-30 yards of backing. The biggest draw for me is that it weigh 2.7oz. 2 1/2" rim control spool diameter it can fit in your 3yr olds pocket and they won't even know it's in there. Made of graphite. If you get into big fish this reel may not be for you. But, if you are like me and want something to hold line at the pond so you can watch five bluegill have a twelve minute conversations with your fly before one of them nibbles it. This reel is more than ideal. $13.99. is a picture of an 8' 4wt 3pc that I built on a blank from I'm not sure if these are factory seconds, or blemishes. I didn't find anything cosmetically wrong with them, so it's a mystery. But they cost $15 and it has become my favorite rod for smaller waters. A medium action rod that can throw line out if you need to. Light and nice. They have a couple of other weights and sizes listed and also sell component kits for cheap. If you have been meaning to get into making your own rod or want a new one that you can enjoy fishing I recommend these. But remember 5 minute epoxy sets in 5 minutes.

Berkley 510 fly reel. 3" spool holds quite a bit of line, good for the 6-8wts. The drag is adjusted by turning the knob in the center on the handle side. When you think about it if your reel is flying like crazy and a fish is peeling line out, I would think the last place you would want to stick your hand is in the middle of that blender of death hanging from your rod. But, It adds an element of excitement and this thing can stop a truck when you tighten the drag. It has been copied and you will notice there are a few reels on ebay that look exactly like the Berkley 510. Shakespeare made one called the Alpha. I bought the one in this picture for $11.

Bought this one, which is just marked Japan on the reel foot for $3.35.

I know what you are thinking. Why... this guy loves crap!?! ha! maybe but I honestly have been happy with using this stuff and will add to the list when I get more pictures available. When I was younger, fly fishing always intimidated me because of the cost, and the impression that it was a rich guys sport. In a sense it is but, the quality of higher end rods and reels can be astonishing and the pride of ownership is an important element. But there is something enjoyable about finding something that you really can use that fell by the wayside. I'm posting this stuff with the hope that maybe someone reading this that feels the same way I did will feel more comfortable trying out the sport. Plus I'm broke and this is the best I can do. Please feel free to add your finds in the comments section and I will post them accordingly.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Shadow Lake effect...

My childhood fishing primarily took place at Shadow Lake in Hawthorn Parkway near Solon, Ohio. It's a small lake that is easily walked completely around without feeling winded.Four to five times a week my Mom would drop my older brother and I off in the elevated parking lot and we'd grab our zebco's and run to the lake with wild anticipation. We spent our summers there, and explored wildlife hi jinx there. Some of which I am embarrassed to mention but, kids do things to see what would happen, in fact we played "what would happen" with a panfish occasionally and I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to panfish everywhere. Growing up my brother and I were different kids, I was into punk rock and skateboarding, and he was into sports and girls. Fishing at that lake was always a "bridge" for us and we crossed it with reckless wide eyed abandon.
Now, some 20+ years later my brother and I aren't nearly as close as we were, jobs, families, etc. etc have managed to keep us too busy. But, when we look back on our times at the lake with fondness and seem to remind ourselves of things as we continue to reminisce. Like " Remember when Dad let us borrow his favorite coat, you know the one from Cogans Bar that had Cogans in cursive across the satiny back?,Remember we were catching frogs with our zebcos and you flung one into the coat? The frog burrowed in his coat with the hook still in his mouth and went apeshit!! the point of the hook was sticking out and the frog started slicing and dicing his coat leaving a trail of slime that we couldn't get off and all that was left was the word "OG NS a gr at pla e to meet". Man he was really fired up when we tried to pretend like nothing happened..Or, the catfish you caught that was so big I started almost crying when I saw it, not out of joy but about the future nightmares?" There are many more and some might cause the ODNR to check the "grandfather clauses". But, it was our summers and it was a young, wild and free, bobber in your pocket, sweaty magical time. When your only worry was making sure you didn't run out of nightcrawlers before your Mom came a beeping.
My Dad and I decided to have lunch there not too long ago. I hadn't been back to Shadow Lake in about 15yrs and it was surprising to see that not much has changed. Same dock, same trail, same big tree. We had lunch and then I walked down to cast off the dock and see if the magic was still there. My dad is not much for fishing. He stepped onto the dock with me and quietly pulled something large out of an old cardboard box. The moment the hard drive left his hand and sailed into the middle of the lake, I knew we were on different sides of the fence. All his complete disregard for nature aside, I love him dearly, and sometimes you just have to appreciate the fence.
Note to my brother: Dad threw a hard drive from an IBM into the bottom of our lake..maybe we can try and get it out someday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A fine day for a parade.

I do believe I have caught the bug. I can't stop with the fly fishing. Enough with the fly fishing. But I have really enjoyed myself this summer a Rocky River. I fished alone the entire time. I felt a connection with something, although it's hard to explain without sounding like that old hippie at the party that won't leave you alone.

Interesting accusation that comes up with the sport:

Bias based on social or economic class

I haven't felt it, at least around here. What is hard to not notice is that although not a "rich" sport, there sees to be a dominant attitude that you have to "pay to play" because if you don't "pay" you aren't actually really "playing" in other words you have to spend alot of money on a rod and reel and line to really "be" fly "fishing". enough quotes...just a feeling that has followed me around a bit, and I can't say either way if I've officially "played" but I have had alot of fun so I thought I would write a summary:

This was a very dry summer and the river levels dropped significantly. Where I was once wading in thigh high water turned into ankle high then toe high. The deeper holes which really became not all that deep held most of the fish. Muddler minnows in 6-10 worked the best for me and it got to the point where that's all that worked. But the smallmouth love them like an aquatic dorito flailing on top of the water. I netted my biggest on Fathers Day when it happened I thought it was a smaller fish there was a slight pause then I realized it was more than I thought. My 6wt rod held up to its first real test and I had bought a $10 digital camera that morning just because if fit in my vest pocket. The camera takes terrible pictures. It reminds me of shots on the news of someone robbing a gas station. But, you get the idea...this smallmouth robbed a gas station.
There were a ton of carp in Rocky River this summer and they were tailing around like freaks all day. I heard that is the time to try and catch them. But I used to feed them twinkies and nutter butters and some sort of pellets out of a gumball machine when I was a kid and quite honestly I'm not ready for them. At one point I was standing still in knee high clear water and I looked down and there were 10 carp forming a semi circle around me looking up at me with their newborn baby lips, waiting for me to tell a joke, or wondering if I had a snickers or a half eaten corn on the cob in my pocket. (this is coming from someone who knows nothing about carp, so take it in stride). I have heard that a carp on a fly rod is one of the most exhilarating things around, but I'm not ready for exhilaration. I'm still working on determination and dealing with humiliation.
There will be steelhead in rocky river in about a month or so and there are already braveheart-ian cries of "CHROME!" and the response is "TOTALLY FUCKING CHROME!!!". It's good for fishing it's good for the sport, but can get a tad extreme. I fished Rocky River all summer and only really met one guy on the water..I mean hours an hours of having it all to myself. It's hard not to appreciate that and after a while get used to that., Me and the herons, and river otter who looks like a mentally challenged cocker spaniel and a jogger here and there and really that was it. It's about to get wild and crowded..I was thinking a corporate sponsor was in order, like huge banners over the fords that said "steelhead brought to you by Coors Light" complete with a d.j. and wacky maybe I'll stay away, maybe not. I just bought an 8wt and that automatically guarantees that I will catch a steelhead doesn't it?
Fished the Grand River and it was unreal how beautiful it was, the serenity was almost overwhelming. I told a friend of mine I was waiting for a unicorn to come out of the woods and shoot a rainbow out of it's ass. Not a very successful day but sighted some small bass and got one to bite. He was the size of a small chicken tender I felt embarrassed to have put him through such an ordeal for my own benefit. I apologized when I set him free.
I am a committed fly fisher these days and never thought I would be. But once it all clicked, it did and everything became more enjoyable, I felt more connected with what I was doing....what I was doing was accepting the humility and embracing the discoveries and feeling like a kid again full of wide eyed possibilities. Catching fish became less and less important because if you really stop and absorb everything that is happening in the early mornings on a body of water, you appreciate the invitation to the symphony around you and it's a reminder that life can be poignantly simple, and eloquently beautiful... when you allow it to be. The fish just brings you back to reality.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

What to do with Shrek in four easy steps.

When I started my journey into fly fishing, one thing that I couldn't get over was the flybox. It seemed ridiculous to me to pay money for something that has no other function then to hold somethinng that I would invitably end up throwing to an unreachable height in tree behind me or in front of me. There is one piece of advice on casting I can offer right now. When you feel like you have waded out enough into the river and you look behind and even think for a second "I hope I don't get snagged in that tree behind me...I mean there is no way my line could travel that far behind me", there is a 95% chance that your fly will end up in that tree. So move away from that tree...anyways, I figured they were using a tight foam on the boxes and It dawned on me while throwing away an old mouse pad that they would work well. An old DVD case works very well for bigger flies and streamer and anything else you have around will work as well (drill bit cases, ear plug boxes..etc. etc. Basically anything that is plastic thin and closes....The only problem with the DVD cases is that they are larger than any front pockets on my vest, so I have to put them in the large back pocket of my vest..not a problem though really. Also it seems to work best for non "precious" flys, by that I mean flies that will bounce back if they are closed in tight quarters (streamers, and wet flies and the like). Here is the simple step by step.


DVD case

Mouse Pad


Strong adhesive glue.

1. Cut the mouse pad to size with scissors.
For this one I tore off the cloth coating that comes on all mouse pads. But you can leave it on either way seems to work fine.

2. Apply your glue liberally in a wild and freewheelin fashion.

3. Fit it inside the dvd box and apply pressure alot of
times there will be clips hanging over to hold booklets,
these work well to secure the mouse pad in place while
you push it down like you mean it.

4. Wait for the the glue to dry and fill it up with your flies. I'm sure this has been discovered by others, so I'm not taking the credit for it. I just wanted to share something that I stumbled upon, and hope that someone would find it useful.
It's not pretty but it works well. I've use clear and black cases. I feel the clear are better for seeing what fly you want to accidentally throw into a passing Honda...kidding. really..enjoy the fishing.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

I can't believe I let her talk me into this hair cut

Patented February 20, 1894.
Be it known that I, WILLIAM R. LAMB, of East Greenwich, in the county of Kent and State of Rhode Island, have invented certain new and useful improvements in Fishing Apparatus; and I do hereby declare that the following is a full, clear, and exact description thereof, reference being had to the accompanying drawing, and to the letters of reference marked thereon, which form a part of this specification.
This invention relates to that class of devices used as decoys in fishing, the object of it being to induce the fish to take the bait more readily. It is illustrated in the accompanying drawing, which may be explained as follows:
A, is a mirror, preferably of a circular or oval form, attached to a fishing line a, by means of a ring e, fast to the frame of the mirror. A short horizontal arm d, is carried out from the mirror frame at the same point that the ring e, is attached. This arm extends out a short distance in front of the mirror, and has its outer end, a ring to receive a branch line g, that upper end of which is made fast to the main line a, at c. The short line g, is secured to the ring in the end of the arm where it passes through it, so that it shall serve as a stay to the arm, when a strain is put upon it in pulling in a fish. A hook h, is made fast to the end of the branch line g, just below the arm d, so as to come about opposite to the center of the mirror.
In using the apparatus, a bait s (represented in this case as a small crab) is put on the hook h, and let down in to the water with the mirror which serves as a sinker, until its lower edge just touches the bottom. In this position, the least pull on the hook on the branch line, will be felt very plainly by the hand at the upper end of the taut main line a. In this position, as shown in the drawing, the fish B, when approaching the bait s, will see the reflection B', of himself in the mirror, also coming for that reflection of the bait s', and will be made bolder by the supposed companionship, and more eager to take the bait before his competitor seizes it. He will lose his caution, and take the bait with a recklessness that greatly increases the chances of his being caught on the hook. The reflection of light from the mirror in the water, will have in some degree the effect that the lighted torch has in some well known kinds of fishing, of attracting fish to the bait, and the light reflected by the mirror upon the bait, will make it more conspicuous.
The mirror may be made in two parts and secured together at an angle to each other, so as to have the effect of making two or more reflections of the same fish, and it may be made double so as to reflect on the back and front; or in the form of a triangle or square, with a mirror on each side, and an arm with the hook and bait before each reflecting surface, and also in the form of a cross which would produce a multiplicity of reflections.
I do not limit my invention to the exact form or arrangements of the devices shown; but I claim as my invention and desire to secure by Letters Patent
In an apparatus for fishing, the combination of a mirror attached to a line, a line, and a hook for holding the bait, fastened to said line in front of said mirror, substantially as described.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Nile Perch. Imagine this fish. The largest freshwater fish around,which only exist naturally in the African river systems and lakes.

Now I'm not sure if the white guy caught it with the two natives attached, because they looked stunned by the sudden introduction of out of water oxygen. But this thing could feed half of Brookpark during Lent.


I really think there is something in the water.