Tuesday, March 27, 2012

House-breaking a lap top

It happens without warning really.  You are cruising along nicely, things seem to be going pretty well, then suddenly without any hints that it was coming, there you are with a new lap top.

Don't get me wrong, my computer still works.  This post really has nothing to do with a computer.  It has everything to do with what is usually ON my lap.  Ok, Ok.  Relax.  I am not going to wax poetic about how big my "lap" is..  The legends speak for themselves...what can I say?!  (I crack myself up...)

I am actually alluding to the newest member of the MacLoosh family.  "Manny" has arrived.  As a direct result of his arrival, life has changed in a manner consistent with catastrophic reform.  In a flash, or sudden burst of unexplained playfulness and attitude, the MacLoosh mansion will never, ever be the same again.

There are relatively few things that will keep me from fishing on a beautiful weekend like this last one...but apparently this is one of them.

Sure.  He's cute.  Sure.  He's cuddly.   And as a direct result of the cute/cuddly mix, Manny also taken up residence on my legendary lap.  I am smitten with him, which has apparently brought reason to chide me and question my masculinity by some in the inner circles.  Let's not get silly here.  I DO still work at a fire department...so I'm not quite ready to turn in my "man card" just yet.

Since I'm at it, I'll to respond to some already floated banter from a friend who wasted exactly zero time going straight to the bone and taking a shot that I would have been proud to deliver to him if I had the chance.

NO, I do not read stories about unicorns or touch my mangina when my fru fru dog is sitting on my lap. Thanks for your concern. Yeah, that's right; yuk it up peckerhead.  I'm keeping score, and when I get the chance, you can bet your ass I am going to help your wife fall in love with this pup.  Then I'm gonna help her find a breeder. We'll see who gets the last laugh.

I swear...Some people's kids!...                                                    

                                  .......and.........I digress.........

Manny and I have big plans.  He isn't exactly the prototypical fishing dog, but that ain't stoppin' me from taking him. This pup is here to stay, and if he is to be a fully accepted member of the MacLoosh clan, he is going to need to spend some time on the water and learn to love trout as much as I do.

I am also considering a new feature here on the blog that is either about him, or a feature based on the same concept of "Ask Trask" from Drake Magazine, or the infamous Wally the Wonderdog from Tom over at The Trout Underground.  (It's true...imitation IS the most sincere form of flattery...).  Nothing confirmed yet-just thinking about it right now.

There it is...the look that kept me of f the water this weekend.  Can you blame me?
By the way...since I've mentioned him...  Tom was kind enough to mention me in his short casts for 3-22-2012 .  THANK YOU! Tom for the mention, and for exposing me to the virtual juggernaut that is the Trout Underground's readership.  For a little blurb like the one I am putting out here at MacLoosh world headquarters...I am completely flattered and amazed by the volume of traffic traffic and  exposed to.

Thank you again!  And to the new readership...welcome! Thank you for checking in, and please let me know when you like or even dislike something I put up.

Til later-

-M  (and Manny)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Catching up: Part III (Redemption)

The last of my trilogy of catching up, is about redeeming myself.

In Part 1, I had my ass handed to me by the fish and and an unshakable poor mental attitude.  Well, in the manic  mood swings of an over sensitive fisherman, and in the way trout have of offering extreme highs and lows, I was able to trick a few nice brown trout on the home water on Saturday.

Ahh....redemption. (and....by the way, I can officially take the cork off the end of my forks because I no longer feel the need to stab myself in the eye after Friday's outing...)

And what was the bite?  Belly button lint.  Can I get a "what what?!"
Possibly most rewarding is that Saturday's fish were caught on a water that is not known to be a great fishery, and has offered me more than a lion's share of absolute humility over the years.  I never quite know what to expect, even though I know the holes, lies and holding water better than any other creek I fish.

To make it even better, I had the distinct pleasure of fishing with a gentleman who also loves flyfishing, but life has been too busy lately for him to get out.  He hadn't been fishing for 4-5 years, and NEVER in this area.  He was excited to go, and and had a great time.

I was hoping Chris would land a big one, but had warned him that we were going to a creek that could be very stingy in what it gives up. That didn't seem to bother him at all.  In fact, in true driftless fashion, the challenge of this fishery seemed to stoke to his excitement.  I am pretty sure that the fire has been reignited.

Chris-Thanks for fishing with me.  We'll do it again--Soon.

 As for me..I think this just about catches everything up.

See you on the water!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Catching up: Part II (Shameless local promotion)

Ok...whew!  Now that I've moved on from my "episode", I can get into other thoughts.  Thanks for bearing with me.

I picked up my BadAxeDesigns trucker hat the other day!  Do you have your's yet?

I had a chance to talk with Jonathan at length while I was picking up my new favorite hat.  He showed me his studio, and his latest works.  I've said it before, and will say it again, this guy has a passion for fishing that comes shining through in his art. Please help support his efforts!.

Click the picture to visit BadAxeDesigns

We talked for a while about a lot of things, but mostly fishing.  I learned that he and I are very like minded in that we both believe, and want to promote the fantastic fishing that is right here in our back yard.  We both believe that the fishing that exists right here in Wisconsin/Iowa/Minnesota and Michigan rivals the "great western rivers".

In fact, we spoke at length about the technical aspects of fishing the small spring creeks vs. wading a "big river".  We decided that this beautiful driftless area is totally and completely underrated.  That we both feel a responsibility to protect this fishery, and...promote it (a paradox? The jury is still out...).  The affection for the local water is a primary principal behind his art, and also happens to be a personal driver for me in writing the MacLoosh Chronicles.

We also agree that there are other gems and people out there walking parallel paths.  One such business is "On the creek" flyshop in Cross Plains.  Todd and Nick have put together a shop that we local anglers NEED.  They have hit the mix perfectly for having a cool shop where you can stop in and pick up the local knowledge, tying supplies, flies, rods and anything else you need.  While you are there...shoot the breeze for a while.  There are almost always one or two anglers in the shop between stints on the water, and they are always welcoming to a a newcomer to join the discussion.

Click the picture to go to their website
Despite my recent temper tantrum (see Part 1), we discussed how both of us had gone fishless in recent outings, but even getting (occasionally) skunked is part of the allure.  IF we were guaranteed a nice fish every time we went out...we just aren't convinced it would be the same.   What's more, the fact that the water is usually gin clear, and the fish are hideously spooky and the fishing very technical, only adds to the game.

So with that, when you are out there making decisions on whether to take that trip out west, or where to purchase gear or apparel...put down the catalog and go to the local flyshop.  Forget the "Simms" or "Orvis" logo hats and pick one up that was designed by the guy next door who loves the local water as much as you do.

And most importantly...fish the local water.

We've got it pretty damn good here.


26mar12 - Blogger's note:  Ok, I've thought about this a bit and want to clarify.  Buy the name brand equipment.  Most of the reputable companies are doing the right thing for the environment and fishing in general, I am simply advocating to buy this stuff from the local guys instead of the big retailers.  That's all.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Catching up: Part 1 (Surviving a temper tantrum)

Without intending to offer up a poor excuse, I have to say this:  As hard as I try, sometimes life gets in the way of posting my stream of consciousness online.  Sorry.  I've been a baaaaaad blogger and I need to be spanked. (hint hint wink wink Mrs. MacLoosh....wink wink...)

Enough tail between the legs crap.  This won't be the first or last time that I go for a longer stretch between posts than I'd like....It happens.

So several things are all jumbled up in my mind today.  Multiple ideas that would each make (what I think) a fun story on it's own merits.  My problem, is that unless I spit them when they are here, I am just not that good at holding on to the required angst, sarcasm or humor to really make a useless story into a COMPLETELY useless story for your enjoyment.

Let's start here:  I went fishing on Friday night.  Long awaited much deserved outing.  The weather has been surreal, and my mental status needed a recharge--some weeks at work are hell.  Well, here's the thing, it seems the more I plan, the more I plot and the more I think about all the fish I am going to catch, the faster those illusions start to fade when things begin to go sideways.  My usual ability to adjust and overcome just wasn't there..

First of all, the spot I wanted to fish on Black Earth Creek was already being fished.  Damn.  On to plan B.  Wait...I was so set on that spot, that I was now suddenly tossed off my game.  I didn't WANT to fish another stretch...I wanted to fish THIS section.

The internal dialogue went something like this: "OK MacLoosh...go ahead, have that little temper tantrum in your head.  Then go fish another spot and get over yourself".   So I tried.  With the song verse of "if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with" bouncing around me ole cranium...I did my best to fish my back-up spot correctly.  But the truth was, I was now mentally in exactly the wrong place.

Despite a prolonged effort to right this listing ship...I couldn't make it happen.  I threw the box at a run that usually holds fish, but couldn't raise more than a hook full of watercress...

Until....I had a solid hit!  I took up my line, set the hook and played what I figured would be a nice fish for at least 2 minutes!  I did everything right...and proud of the fact that this one would be the fish that would prove to me that I could overcome a bad mood by fishing.

So when I finally got this monster up out of the current and a good look at it, I was none too pleased to find that I had just set the hook on, and played..... a stick.

Definitely not a trophy.  Not even a keeper.

With a quick look over my shoulder to see if anyone was secretly watching this whole debacle...I carefully unhooked my leach pattern, secured my line on the rod, and calmly, methodically reached down to examine the stick.  After a good solid minute of staring at this stick, I noticed a fish rising in roughly the same spot that I had just been working.

My first inclination was to impale myself with the stick, but I didn't really want (or need) the extra complication of a self inflicted puncture wound.  So I did what (I assume) every one should do in this situation...I waited for the fish to rise again, then threw the stick as hard as I could at him, then turned and left the stream.

Your's in humility,


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Opening day report

Ahh.........I feel better.  Thanks.

A day spent fishing, the first day fishing since...oh...I don't know...September 30th?  And it was good.

The details?  30 degrees. Overcast.  Fresh layer of snow.  Clear water. Upper 3rd of the stream.  Rising fish.  The stream? Oh...come on now.  You don't REALLY think I am going to give that up, do you?  Let's just say it was classic driftless water.

I wouldn't presume to tell you that I caught them all.  Or even a lot.  But I DID catch a couple.  And a couple were enough for me.

They weren't big.  But what they lacked in size, they made up for in spunk, and color.  Little 8-10 inchers who took the fly the same way a great white shark takes a seal.  With an efficiency that just oozes Darwinism.  Their confidence was surpassed only by their bright colors.

Gotta love "wild" (non hatchery) fish!

Numero Uno for 2012
The fly?  Well with a smirk on my face, and just a little bit of "Nana Nana Boo Boo", I'm happy to report that it was the little CDC fly that my wife called "BellyButton Lint" that did the trick.

Got Lint?
Now excuse me as I slip on down to the lab to work up some more Bellybutton lint because now that the season is open...it's game on.

See you on the water.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Bruce is standing guard

It isn't Christmas Eve.  Nope.  But I have this air of something big bouncing around inside me ole cranium tonight.  Like a kid feels on Christmas eve.  Tomorrow is opening day of the 2012 Trout fishing season. And I can't wait!

Hells. Yeah.

A winter storm also hit today.  As if I needed more to wind me up.  Not a light snow.  It is the heavy, beautiful snow that sticks to everything and makes the world look completely different.  It also helps add to the excitement.  Just like Christmas Eve.

So...in a fit of nervousness that just wouldn't allow me to sit still, my boy and I went out to the stream tonight.  Mid snowstorm. To say hello.  To check in, see how high the snow has made the water, to calm down.

What started out as a simple fish scouting mission, very quickly took on some serious philosophical undertones.  My son, was right in tune with this.  So when trout scouting morphed into snowman building, the conversation turned to the question "What makes a perfect snowball?".

A question like this simply can't be answered until the snowman has been built, so we completed the task at hand.  We built a snowman named "Bruce" whose job is to watch over the stream and the fish for as long as he can.

With the mission accomplished, we were free to move on to the bigger question of the day.  It went something like this:

G: Dad?  Can you make a perfect snowball?
Me:  I'm not sure I know what the perfect snowball looks like.  Do you?
G:  I think it would be perfectly round.  Like the moon.
Me: Does it fit in your hand? Or mine?
G:  Um...I guess it depends on who makes it you or me?
Me: Then is a perfect snowball for you, also perfect for me?
G: I don't know.  What do you think?
Me: I think your perfect snowball might be different than my perfect snowball.  So I also wonder, is it better to be perfectly round, or should it also be solid (not crumbly)?
G: I like that.  What else does the perfect snowball need?
Me:  I think it needs to stay together, so when you throw it, it goes where you want it to go.
G: Like this? (throws snowball and hits me in chest--giggles incessantly)
Me: Yeah.  Like that. (Packing my own snowball--thrown--and hit him square in the thigh).  And, like THAT!
G: Then the perfect snowball is the one that is round, fits in my hand, and hits you when I throw it at you.  Right?
Me: Right.  Should we hike some more?
G: Yeah.  I think so.

With the question answered to both of our satisfaction, we were able to move on and enjoy a gorgeous hike.  The fish were rising.  Taking what I assume were emergers, although nothing was visible.  Nice little rings and an occasional nose quietly breaking the surface.

Here are some more pictures from the walk.

Thanks for standing guard Bruce!

See you on the water tomorrow!