Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Recovery and the optimism that comes with it

I'm able to type tonight thanks to the miracles of modern medicine.  A true blue walking talking tribute to pharmacology. I will spare you most of the gory details of my last few days, but suffice to say that I'm glad to be on the back end of this little episode.

All that down time gives a fella some time to think.  Sorta.   In between whimpering incessantly, shuffling incoherently between the couch and the bed and requiring my wife's constant attention, I thought about fishing.  A LOT.

www.badaxedesign.com
Time on the computer was limited by the ability to focus my eyes without crying, but when I *WAS* strong enough to hold my own head up, I read a lot of reports from friends and bloggers about the various fly fishing shows they were at.  It sounds like Jonathan of BadAxeDesign did well down in Schaumburg, and the east coast juggernaut of fishermen and bloggers all descended on Somerset New Jersey for the annual show and had a great time.

I'm glad everyone had fun.  Even if I was left on my own...dying.

While online, I also realized that there are so many websites out there devoted to flyfishing that a person could literally peruse a new site or blog every single day of the year. My bookmarks list grew exponentially.

Kinda humbling, really.

I was too weak to actually slip on down to the Lab and work up some flies, navigating stairs in my weakened state would have been an ambulance call just waiting to happen and no one needed that.  But, via all that surfing, I did collect a LONG list of new flies to tie.  Here are two that shot to the top of my short list.  Both are from www.intheriffle.com:


And....



Of course, those aren't the only ones...they just happen to be two that caught my eye as I fill my boxes for the impending season.   Which...by the way...is just over a month away.

A MONTH!  Thank god I got this flu bullshit out of the way....

Oh...and a little PSA from me (and my wife):  If you haven't done it yet...Go get your flu shot.  I didn't get one and paid dearly for it.

Til later,

-M

Monday, January 28, 2013

The jury is in...

...the flu sucks.  Over the last 2 weeks, everyone in my family has been hit.  I am the last of the bunch.



I'm not looking for sympathy, just lettin y'all know that I haven't fallen off the grid.

Til later,

-M


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mid winter experiments

I have been playing in the lab with some streamer/woolly bugger/home brew "dunno what they are but I hope they catch fish" patterns.  The woolly buggers turned out pretty good.  I am partial to olive and black for coloring because I have had good luck with those colors.

The first trout I ever caught on a woolly bugger was an olive/black combo, and I am more superstitious than I should be.  I fish them confidently, and I think that makes a difference.  I really do, so I am careful not to get caught without.


Because I have also had good luck with other leech patterns, recently I also started playing with some Estaz dubbing, and kind of like the way it looks.



And finally, lately I have been playing with a new type of yarn that I stumbled across while digging through the local JoAnn Fabric Store.  I have no idea how it will stand up to the rigors of fishing in a real stream, but it looked damn good going back in forth in my fish tank.  As for whether or not it will actually catch fish.....that will remain to be seen.

Even if they don't catch fish...at least they photograph well...
I also have these guys in an all brown version to imitate a leech and an all silver version to act as a small baitfish.  Still working on a name for them.

Til later,

-M



Thursday, January 17, 2013

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Reduce, reuse, recycle

We've all kept our Altoids cans for years, right?  It's OK, you can admit it to yourself.  You have at least one sitting around just waiting for a really good use, right?

While not many admit it, as I creep around your blogs, in the pictures I see them on your fly tying desks.  Hiding, in the thicket.  Either being used and not given credit as such, or waiting for a use.

Well, I am not immune to the fact that they certainly don't represent the latest greatest technology or proudly display a brand name, and therefore don't carry a certain...how should we say?...... Panache. I get it.  I'd be a liar if I didn't admit to owning certain things that bear the signature banners of some very well known retailers...but I'd also be a liar if I didn't admit that when it comes to a functional fly box, I like simple.  And I don't like to pay through the nose for them.

I do, also recognize that when out on the stream, when you land that catch o the day and the other guys on the stream are gawking to see what you used, that you don't want to look like you and Sanford picked from the same garbage can.  (I'm cheap, but I do still have some pride...)

To solve that problem, I have a fly fishing specific solution, and thanks to a GREAT article at the Art of Manliness, even more ways to put that tin back into service.

First, my answer:  Paint the box.

Eat the Altoids.  Enjoy that curiously strong flavor.  Then wipe out the inside of the box, grab a screw driver and carefully bend the tabs to remove the cover.  Spend 15 seconds sanding the outside to make the surface rough, then spray paint with matte black for that stealth military look.

There is an instant freaking coolness factor when you go stealth with anything.  I guess you could paint the tin another color...if you REALLY needed to...

Glue in some foam, and fill with either a day's worth of flies or a specific flavor of bug.

Full military spec

Go ahead, admit it.  It's a good idea.
You're welcome.  (..and if you have extra tins you don't want; I'll take em)

Oh, and don't forget to check out their website every once in a while, its worth the time!



Til later,

-M

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Scouting (new) small water

Hinkson Creek.  It's been on my "list" of places to explore for a few years now.

I have fished a pool below the bridge on McMillan Rd a few times, and the pool has been productive. Usually after having fished nearby Rowan Creek, and out of just good old fashioned curiosity, I stopped by the bridge since I was in the area.  The problem is the pool is essentially all on private property, so fishing it legally from the bridge is sketchy at best.  I try to be respectful of landowners wishes and stay out of their little slice of heaven, but occasionally the chase gets the better of me.  So I tested my limits from the only spot on the side of the bridge that I think is legal.

A fly rod won't do.  This is a spin fishing spot, for no other reason than making any kind of cast with a fly rod is just asking for an altercation with a tree.

So what we have is tempting water, with fish in it, that is too tight to fly cast in, and the up-stream side of the bridge is DNR land.  I'm not too proud to bust out my spin fishing set up if I know there is good fishing ahead, but until today I just never took the time to scout it.

So why did it take so long to explore this area with DNR land on this creek?  Because it was an unknown.  And, because that little voice in my head screamed uncontrollably about getting lost in a thicket and never returning due having by eyes gouged out while just trying to get through the brush.

So today, while I had a rare few minutes to escape without anyone with me (read: no kids), I thought: 'What the hell...may as well hike the DNR land.  At least the bugs won't get me, the brush should be bearable and then I will know for certain if it is fishable or not.  Right?

After my hike, I can say without uncertainty that there are fish there.  A decent number of them too.  I can also say without uncertainty that I will never step foot in that god forsaken land again.  Fish or not, that place worse than the 7th ring of hell; just waiting for a new victim.

The fact that the DNR has signs all over the place proudly tempting unsuspecting fishermen in, strikes me as the work of someone who has a sick sense of humor and knows that the best way to protect a trout stream is to allow it to grow so thick with underbrush that even the coyotes will avoid it.

It was good to get out.  I did, for the most part, enjoy myself and I needed a few gulps of fresh air.  As an added benefit, I also satisfied that nagging question in my mind:  Yep, been there once.  Nice place.  Don't see to many reasons to go back.

Here are a few pictures.  Just don't let the beauty fool you.

The hike in from the parking area looked promising

What I should have taken as an omen, was instead taken with a defiant
"What kind of asshole does this?" The answer of course, came to me a bit later: This was spray painted by someone who has also been sucked in by curiosity and he was just trying to warn me.
Bambi slept here (likely during "Draco" the wonder storm)
Stepping out of the woods and realizing you've just found the headwaters....Cool!
Headwaters or not....marshes SUCK to hike through.
Fishable water that would be hell to get to without snow cover
And there it is.  The stream quickly shows its true colors.
Now, imagine this in summer. Ick.
And last but not least, the pool below the bridge with a sweet riffle below it that as far as I could see drops into a juicy run.  Oh...and that sign on the  bottom right---Boooooo!
Remember that little voice in my head that was screaming?....turns out it knew something I didn't.

Anyway, for those of you who are local, and have thought about fishing Hinkson Creek upstream from McMillan Rd (Columbia County)....go if you must, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Til later,

-M

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sky rockets in flight.....

For all of you guys who are also following the MacLoosh Chronicles on Facebook, you may have noticed a recent outburst from me regarding the delivery of my new Danvise tonight.

Wait...some of you still don't "Like" MacLoosh Chronicles on Facebook???  Really?  What the hell?!  It's so 2009 to not like something on Facebook.

 Well, let me help get you caught up:  Click that little Facebook symbol to the right my friend, then sit back and let the magic happen...

Where was I?  Oh, yeah...I might need to issue my local UPS driver an apology.  They work hard.  They really do, and then to have some guy who has only been waiting for a full 7 days to receive a package he wanted IMMEDIATELY unload on him via the internet, just wasn't fair.

Sorry dude.  Nothing personal.

Anyhoo...the vise is here, all set up in its new home and I even tied a few flies tonight.  Hell, I might even give in to my resistance to the standard issue blog "Product Review" too and write one about this amazing little piece of engineering.   (Because I'm such an expert...)

The vise, as far as I can tell, works flawlessly.  But, before I get all silly with my bad self and write an un-requested product review...I do need to use it some more to really test out all those functions. .

You see, I had this picture in my mind of whipping out flies like a Cambodian sweat shop because the vise was all that and a ham sandwich too...while humming 70's soft rock tunes... But the truth is-- with my tools in new places, and a vise that has features I've never actually used before, it wasn't quite the "Afternoon Delight" that I had hoped.


I'm not worried though, things can only get better and with another (planned) quiet weekend ahead, I have every intention of spending some serious time in the Lab.



Til later,

-M

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Project update: DONE!

It only seems fitting to start the new year with a brand new workstation, right?

There are a few minor tweaks yet, like adding feet, and....oh....yeah....that new vise that still hasn't arrived--but by and large, here is the finished product!

It's not perfect, but not too damn bad for a couple of afternoon's of work (especially considering my Jr. High School woodworking skills) and about $35 in materials.  Most importantly: I couldn't be happier with the way it came out.




Here's to new beginnings in 13'.  I hope all of you have a great New Year, and get to spend as much time on the water as you wish.

Til later,

-M