Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Photo Bin - July 2016

I'm afraid that there's not much photographic evidence to prove that July actually happened this year. It was a lost month in any number of ways. Summer sat heavily on us, crushing most days into dust. Routine ruled. We were out before the sun rose above the tree line to care for the garden and spring plantings, to do the minimum to keep the wilderness at bay, then retreated into the house for the remainder of the day to escape the heat.

You'd think a lot would get done indoors, but somehow it didn't. We piddled. I noodled around with the guitar and Mary bent some reed into her beautiful basket creations. We read, though not nearly enough. We found our way to the pond for the occasional mid-day float, but at times it was bathwater and far from refreshing. We exercised. Some.

Bottom line, we let a month pass us by. I guess that was better than letting it burn us to the ground.

Fishing, predictably suffered. If we weren't comfortable in the water, imagine how the fish felt. I let them be, though they'd have probably ignored me anyway. The only outing of significance was a trip out to Falls Lake to chase some carp with my buddy Tbone. We managed one. And by we, of course, I mean he, though I poled a pretty mean Gheenoe to get us in and out of a tight space for it.

So this month's photo bin is but a single image, from that day on Falls, and you're lucky to get that.

My apologies.

What is a Photo Bin?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Photo Bin - June 2016

There can be no more damning evidence of my total neglect of this blog than the fact that I haven't posted a photo bin since May. May, for God's sake! And it's not like it's a difficult thing to do. Dump the cameras, pick a couple of shots that I haven't used in real posts (like I've done any real posts lately), and tell its story. Easy. It's ridiculous that it's taken this long.

In my defense... Oh hell. There is no defense. Let's just go back and catch up. Start, here, with June. Maybe July in a couple of days. Then it's practically time for August. How time flies.

The cornerstone of June, the event from which most of the images that were dumped from the camera documented, was our excursion into Saskatchewan. For all the great fishing and weather and adventure, one of my companions summed it up best by saying "The highlight of the trip was the company and we brought that ourselves." So since my most stringent critic, my wife, always comments that I don't show enough people in my pictures, this month's bin is dedicated to my fellow travelers, shown above, looking like they're having a getting-the-band-back-togther moment. From left to right, Kris Kringle, Dirty Steve, and Captain Kirk. Couldn't have asked for a better lot.

A prettier one, yes. But not a better one.

I'd fish the world with Mr. Kringle, and have already put a lot of miles on the fishing odometer (not to mention a stamp or two in the passport) in his good company. This tarmac shot sums him up pretty well. Ready to go anywhere with a smile and a friendly swagger. No worries, mon, we're gonna have a good time whatever they throw at us. We usually do.

Then there's Dirty Steve.

I suppose that this is as good a time as any to talk about these nicknames.

With a constantly rotating lodge full of fisherfolk, the staff has to figure out a way to remember everyone's name. Hell, I have trouble remembering my own, now and then, much less a group of sixteen strangers. The crew at the Arctic resorts to nicknames. Shaylynn and D do the honors and have fun with it. "Kris Kringle" was easy, the jolly old elf, beard and all. The obvious choice for Chris Hunt. And I'm sure that he liked it, envisioning good little girls (and bad, oh yes, especially the bad) sitting on his lap.

So how was it that Stephen Zakur ended up as Dirty Steve? Mr. Kringle, again, is probably to blame. A nickname like that has his fingerprints all over it. And he was at the dinner table before us when it all got started so Dirty Steve never had a chance. Zakur took it in stride, though. Maybe even enjoyed it a little.

Seems that most of the pictures I have of Steve this trip are grip-and-grins. It's probably because he caught fish all week long. I smoked him the first day (he's still pissed about that, and for good reason, but that's a story for another time) but the rest of the week he put more pike in the boats than any of us, by a lot. Every time I turned around he was happily chomping on that damn cigar and hauling in another. Good times.

He needs to go ahead and retire so we can do this more.

Finally, there's the Captain. Captain Kirk. Kirk Deeter. He knew that nickname was coming and I could see him wince as it arrived. I wonder if he hates Start Trek for what it's done to him.

I've spent lots of time on the water with Chris and with Steve, but this was my first time out with Mr. Deeter and it was a treat. He tolerated my trying to pick his brain about this whole fly fishing writing thing, though we spent more time discussing music and futball and a myriad of other topics we found in common.

A quiet sort, Kirk is, but he kept us in stitches each night as we slipped off to sleep in our summer camp bunkhouse. Sharing a one room cabin with these three guys was a gas.

I look forward to doing it a lot more.

There you have it. The band, and a fine one it was. Kris and The Captain and Dirty Steve. As I said earlier, I couldn't have asked for better.

What's that you ask? My nickname?

It's not important.

What is a Photo Bin?

Monday, August 8, 2016

And Now A Word From Our Sponsors

What's he doing?
He's taking a picture of his reel. And a beer can.
He's doing what?

I totally get it. To regular anglers, we fly fishermen can seem a bit strange at times. And those of us who dabble in the media, stranger still.

He's taking pictures of his reel and beer can.
I don't know. You ask him.

So I guess it's no wonder that Daniel and Otto seemed a bit perplexed as I hunched in the bottom of the Crestline and rattled off a string of shots of my, well, you heard them. I suppose it's not something they see their sports do every day.

So I tried to explain to them how Sage was good enough to send me their new 6200 series reel to give a try, and how nicely it matched up with RIO's InTouch Pike and Musky fly line and my new G.Loomis Pro4X Long Handles Predator pike rod. How it was good to feature such things on the blog and other media outlets. How fly fishermen are pretty much all gear junkies, deep down, and liked to see such things.

I went into detail. How I find it hard to review reels. It holds line nicely doesn't seem quite enough, though the 6210 did it quite well and looked good doing it. How I couldn't really give the drag a good test as pike didn't run like, say, a bonefish, and that I'd only put a couple fish on the reel this week and the 6210's had started up smoothly and confidently and how it felt solid, without a shimmy. How it felt like a good reel that begged for more rigorous testing.

And how the RIO line with it's short head and powerful front taper did the trick, carrying these big northern pike flies beautifully and how it was well-coated for these cold waters and would be perfect for the winter conditions we'd be fishing in for musky down south. How I'm a big RIO fan.

And that the G.Loomis was a nice surprise, an impulse purchase before I came here to the Arctic Lodge in Saskatchewan, and how it threw these sodden streamers a country mile and had the 9/10 backbone and extended fighting butt to manage these ornery four-foot toothy creatures. How I liked the green.

The beer? Well. It was just really good beer.

And as I finished all this explaining I looked up and noticed Daniel's eyes, and attention, had drifted off to the water again. Where, in a moment, he pointed. Big one there, at the edge. The camera was hastily put down, we dropped a fly on the beast's nose, and all of the advertising was forgotten.

But in the back of his mind I know that Daniel was still thinking. These fly guys are weird.

In the end, though, he had to admit. They're pretty good fishermen.