Friday, September 30, 2011

The Dead Drift - September 2010

The big brown moved slightly as my elk hair caddis rode the swift currents towards it’s holding place. The trout lay suspended in the soft pillow of water eddying in front of a mid-stream boulder, watching for food in the faster flow on either side – ready to eat. But, as the fly approached the eddy and the brown began to rise, my leader tightened, pulling the caddis a fraction of an inch, against the flow. Startled by the movement, the fish spooked, turned into the faster water, and was gone.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Counting Mississippis - February 2010

Huddled under the dense streamside rhododendrons in an attempt to escape the downpour, we tried to recall how many Mississippis there are in a mile. You know. Flash, 1-Mississippi, 2-Mississippi, 3-Mississippi, and so on, until, Boom. Divide the number of Mississippis by five (or is it ten?) and you have an approximation of how many miles away the lightning had struck. Five or ten, it didn’t really matter, as our flashes and our booms were now just a startled heartbeat apart, indicating a distance more appropriately measured in feet than in miles. It was no time to be near the water.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Silence of a Solitary Fly Fisherman - January 2010

Silence. Crisp, wintery silence. No, not exactly silence. Something better. Silence gently wrapped around the soothing white noise of an icy, tumbling mountain stream. Silence overlaid by the soft swish of a fly rod, the hushed whisper of line sliding through guides, the occasional rasp of a reel feeding a hungry cast. Silence attained by the crunch of boots in a blanket of snow and the sound of misty breath in cold air. Silence filled with subtle sound. Silence, then, not for the ears, but for the soul.

The silence of a solitary fly fisherman.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Arkansas River Ambrosia - October 2009

A time honored, traditional recipe. Good for both body and soul.

1 medium sized Colorado freestone river
2 lifelong friends, aged and generously salt-and-peppered
2 large boxes of hoppers, humpies, and assorted terrestrials
1 flask of Kentucky’s finest

Reduce the river over a slow Indian summer heat and then cool with the first breaths of high country autumn frost until the surrounding aspen dazzle the eye.

Add the fishermen and sprinkle liberally with the terrestrial assortment until the mixture begins a slow boil of rising trout. Whisk lightly with 6wt utensils and carefully strain with a fine 5X monofilament mesh, removing the fisherman and a precious few trout after a long, satisfying day.

Clean and dress the fish - a simple field gutting is sufficient - and place them on ice. Marinate the fishermen with the contents of the flask to soften their grizzled flesh and set both fish and fishermen aside to chill for a couple hours.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Explaining Another New Fly Rod - October 2009

And now, the winning ticket for the TFO Lefty Kreh Signature fly rod is, number 4-1-8-7.

YES!!! It's MINE!!!

And, best of all, Mary was there with me at the annual club pig pickin' and saw that I hadn’t spent an arm and a leg on my newest fly rod, this time. All was right with the world until that all too familiar sense of deja vu began to creep in…

Friday, September 23, 2011

Explaining the New Fly Rod - July 2009

Mary just doesn't get it.

“Is that your new fishing pole?” she asked as I excitedly opened the Cabelas package that the UPS guy had just dropped on our doorstep.

“It’s not a fishing pole, it’s a fly rod”, I replied. “A Redington Predator”.

“And why again do you need another fly rod?”, she politely asked.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Fish - January 2009

The boy in the grainy, sepia-hued 8mm home movie can’t be more than four, maybe five years old. Frayed dungarees, flannel shirt, crew cut, freckles, ears and teeth he'd one day grow into. But you don’t catch these details right away because your focus is first drawn to the fish.


The boy loved being at the Camp, a remote three-roomed cottage overlooking a woodland creek, somewhere in upstate New York.  Downstream, the water split into channels, shallow and brimming with cattails, full of the chain pickerel and bass that loved the cover. Above Camp, the water was faster, rockier, and home to bluegill and sunfish whose colors made one shade their eyes. At the cottage, the stream grew slower, wider, deeper, and held spiked bullhead - white catfish, but the old name fit perfectly - and huge, lumbering golden carp. Here he learned to fish for them all, and learned to love doing it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mike's Gone AWOL

At least it seems that way.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of real estate and handyman madness as we prepare to sell our house, purchase a new one, and get moved from one to the other. Those of you who have followed along here for a while will be shocked to hear this, knowing how much we adore our little slice of Piedmont heaven. But don't despair. I'm not going far and I'm going someplace good.

Someplace really good.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Homeward Bound

We knew that leaving Yellowstone, the Tetons, and our whole Montana experience would be difficult, but we didn't know how difficult. It seems that the place did not want us to leave any more than we wanted to go for our path through the Teton National Forest was delayed a few hours by road construction. With no other way to get from here to there, we simply waited. At midnight, WYDOT led those of us who had accumulated through the pass and sent us on our way. The next group would not be allowed through until 4:00am. I hope they had comfy car seats.

With the delay, we once again rolled into Dubois, Wyoming in the wee hours, looking for a hotel room. The Super 8 accommodated and we spent another fall into bed late and hit the road early cat nap. We had to keep going.

I had a plane to catch in Denver.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Day in the Park

A late departure from Centennial Valley - it's hard to say goodbye to such a good gathering of guys - put us back in Yellowstone later on Tuesday than we had hoped, limiting the time we had to be on the water. At the confluence of the Firehole and Nez Perce, amid the vacationing hordes, we rigged up and headed up the NP, hoping to put some distance between us and the crowds - it's said that 90% of Yellowstone visitors get no more than one-hundred yards from their vehicles during their entire stay - and to gain some elevation in order to find cooler water.

The Firehole is aptly named.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Two Monkeys Walk Into a Bar

We reached a point during our last night at the Elk Lake Camp that every joke opened with the phrase “Two monkeys walk into a bar.” What followed may or may not have made sense with that particular opening line - it usually didn't - but you can be sure that it was uproariously funny and unrepeatable here.

Fish camp evenings - particularly when the week's fishing is done and the next day’s agenda reads clean up and depart - get a bit, well, sloppy.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Yellow Stickies

Being away from home - even fishing - is not always easy. But the distance is often diminished by the yellow sticky notes I find scattered throughout my gear box, my duffel, and my kit - secreted there by my wife before my departure. I'm not sure how she does it, as I am typically packing at the very last minute, but somehow she manages.

Discovering one never fails to bring a smile - just like a nice, fat trout.

Thank you, my dear. This much.