Thursday, November 22, 2012

On this day...

....I give thanks.  Here is why:

As more than just a side note; on November 22, 1997, I asked Mrs. MacLoosh to marry me.  Mar, thank you for saying yes, and thank you for all of these years of love and lots of fun.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

CDC Caddis

I like dry flies.  Not really going to apologize for that.  I do understand that most of the time a fish is actively feeding, it is  somewhere lower in the water column and not on the surface.  I understand that in order to catch more fish, I need to embrace nymph fishing.  I get it.  I really do.

But I still prefer dry flies.

There is a hell of a lot to be  said for that moment when shadow turns into a flash of buttery brown and streaks to the surface like a minute man missile.  The splash that is a result of a violent and wildly efficient predatory attack on a hapless bug is simply.......delicious.

It is even better when that "bug" is a fly you have tied.  Whether an original fly, or a pattern you've picked up off of YouTube or out of a magazine; doesn't matter.  What matters is that the fly is currently tethered to a fish, and was taken in a blaze of broken water. Despite the fact that you watched the whole thing go down, you are slightly rattled, and fully jazzed.

Grinning from ear to ear, you ease the fish in.  Admire it for a short time, then carefully unhook the fish as if it is a delicate flower.  Never-mind the act of savagery this cold blooded killer just delivered on your tackle, you are tender with it.  Almost loving, in a "manly" sort of way.

With that, I occasionally read the question, or have even contemplated it myself: If you could only fish with ONE fly, which would it be?

My answer is the Elk Hair Caddis.  Perhaps the quintessential dry fly.

Fortunately for me, I was turned on to a new way to tie these guys this summer by a friend of mine.  Thanks Tim!  I owe you.

With CDC as the body, and underwing.  Trust me when I tell you that when the trout are "looking up", if there is one of these guys coming down the current, you'd better have your game face on, cause it's bout to break loose.

Wanna learn how to tie one?  Click Here

Til later,


Sunday, November 11, 2012

High Plains Scuds

The town of Lago is currently warming up it's volunteer militia for an impending showdown, and Clint's character says (as a resident of Lago sneaks up behind him and carefully reaches for the hunting knife on his hip) "You know, you're going to look awfully silly with that knife sticking up your ass".

Love it.

I am intrigued by the fact that I don't think we ever actually learn his character's name.  Well, there is that tombstone at the end...but the credits still list old Clint as "The Stranger".

What an absolute badass!  I imagine that I am not the only person who fantasizes about being that hard and cold.  It's a shame they don't make westerns like this anymore.  Isn't it?

High Plains Drifter is, I think, the quintessential movie for a day like today.  Outside, it is dreary, rainy, lazy and the only thing missing is a giant pot of chili cooking on the stove.

What could make this better?  Tying some flies.  Oh...yeah...I am doing that too.  Been intermittently working up new and improved scud patterns in the lab.   I am torn right now.  I have scud backing, and like the way it looks, but I learned a trick last year that makes scuds easier and faster to tie.  What's the trick?  Trim the "back" really thin (almost down to the thread) and then give it a good dose of either epoxy, superglue or even head cement to keep everything from unraveling in the water.   The end goal is a little bit of translucence (with legs).

I think the scud backing looks good.  But I am given to natural looking flies that are simple to tie and work.  Besides...I am still not convinced that Salmo Trutta is as hung up on aesthetics as anglers are....  As long as it is a close imitation I'm convinced that Mr. Brown trout is simply an eating machine.  If it looks like food coming down the pipeline, he tastes first, then decides whether it was worth the energy to eat or not.  At that point, whether or not the imitation is anatomically perfect is moot, and surely the taste of the hook plays a role in his decision making.

Hopefully by that time, I have intervened and taken up the slack enough to feel some weight at the other end.

Scud.  Version 3.2
Why scuds today?  Because they are easy.  And I have had my own issues getting into the swing of tying flies lately, so today I took the "low hanging fruit" and picked a gateway fly to help me catch a groove. So-to-speak.

Naturally, when a dad tries to sneak in some quiet time, there are children and a rambunctious puppy to offer plenty of distractions, so the fly tying is slow going at best.

Am I complaining?  No.  I have spent most the day thoroughly enjoying some 1 on 1 time with my baby girl.   She has been my buddy today, and with her brother preoccupied with one of his good friends and a box of Lego's, Sweets and I have been busy.  Our time together today has offered me some much needed smiles and warm fuzzies.

After a brief discussion about exactly what a scud is, she decided that she had better make one of her own.  She is typically lukewarm about actually fishing (I'm working on this...) but when it comes to fly tying--the kid's got potential.  No doubt about it.

Naturally, when something is going on, the puppy feels left out.  While I'd like to think he was trying to help....his efforts were decidedly on the naughty side.  

Puppy vs. Halloween Spider Decoration

It's all cute until he gets into my fly tying feathers.  Then we've got issues...... 
With that, I have a dog to reprimand,"The Stranger" has painted the town red and killed every character in the town of Lago who was morally flawed.  I think he only burned half of the structures down in the process.  How do you not just LOVE movies like this?

As for me, I should probably go do something productive...

Til later,


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Following my nose

Pretty sure I have mentioned this before, but I am (obviously) drawn to water.  I've know this for my entire life, but it came crystal clear to me (again) this last week while away on business.

For those who don't know where MacLoosh World Headquarters is: it is smack dab in the middle of suburbia.  What was a cornfield not terribly long ago, is now what can only be described as geographically featureless urban sprawl.  Don't get me wrong, it is my home.  It is what my children know as the only place they have ever lived and as far as they are concerned, the center of the universe.  So the "UnForest" will have a special place in my heart for as long as I live.


There is no water here.  No real hills, and no big tracks of untamed land.  Most importantly, no water.  (Thankfully I am within a relatively short drive to the driftless....) And this bugs me to no end.  Trips to my homeland (along the Mississippi River) have taken on a special meaning to me and my nose puts my mind at ease.

So back to my trip.  I spent the better part of a week in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  For the most part, I was cooped up in Hotel/Convention Center.  But every once in a while, I needed to get some fresh air so I stepped outside to take some deep breaths before plunging back into the world of fluorescent lighting.  When I did get outside for those precious few minutes, those deep breaths were accompanied by the sweet smell of water.  Big water. And it served to put me at ease just a little bit.

As anglers, we all know the smell.  It is the same one that we get in our nose when we get to the water we are fishing.  The bigger the water, the more noticeable the scent. It is the smell of slightly fishy, musty, sweet sweet water.  Not overbearing, but definitely discernible each time you inhale.  And for those of us who grew up near water, salt or fresh, it is the smell of home.  When we live around the water, we don't really realize our attraction to it.  When we move to a place that is (by and large) devoid of water, we don't realize how much we miss it until we catch that scent again.

It is comforting.  Even relaxing.  It is what some would call aroma therapy, although I am not confident it could be captured appropriately in a candle.

Of course, being the optimistic type who never leaves home without a fly rod and at least minimal gear in my truck, I held out hope for a quick early morning at one of the rivers or streams that feed into the bay.  I mean seriously, it was the end of October/beginning of November and I would be a liar if I said that thoughts of big steelhead hadn't crossed my mind.  But the truth was, Hurricane Sandy was having a solid effect on the great lakes even as she was kicking the shit out of the east coast, so high winds conspired with a full schedule of great conference speakers to keep me limited to short outside walks and hints of the water wafting to me by way of scent.

So, although grateful to see my wife and kids (and puppy) and sleep in my own bed again; now that I am back in the UnForest, I am plagued by the usual scent of the local grease rendering plant or cow manure from the local Holstein Hilton-depending on which direction the wind is blowing from.

Oh god, how I long for the scent of water...

Til later,