Sunday, December 29, 2013

On messing with a legend...

When something works, common knowledge tells us not to tinker with it.  Right?  Well, generally I would agree, except that I *might* have gotten into a bottle of Jameson last night.

After a couple of Saturday evening cocktails (for no real celebratory reasons at all...other than it was Saturday and I could), I made my way down to the lab.  With whiskey, there is a VERY fine line between too much and just enough.

How do I figure out where I landed on the scale of indulgence?  Usually my wife lets me know, or...the pictures start appearing on Facebook and I shift into damage control mode.  However, this morning when I headed down to the lab with coffee in hand to review the evening's efforts, (A) I realized that I don't have a headache and (B) I also realized that the flies that I'd experimented on last night actually look good.

....like they might accidentally work (?!).

The Pink Squirrel (designed and made famous by John Bethke) is one of those flies that just works. I don't know why, because it doesn't look like anything I have ever seen swimming in the stream.  But not unlike one of those gawdy bass lures that draws strikes from largmouth for unknown reasons; the Pink Squirrel can entice a nice trout out of its dark hiding place-even when it is feeling stubborn.

Here is the original:

Photo: http://illinoiswisconsinfishing.blogspot.com/
And the variant:


Granted, the changes are subtle and not enough to call it an original MacLoosh fly so we will just call it what it is: a variant.  The main differences are green flash dubbing on the thorax instead of squirrel fir dub and pink scud dub instead of chenille on the collar. Everything else is essentially the same as Mr. Bethke's original recipe.

Considering the mix of colors and materials that I typically come up with when drinking and tying flies, I have high hopes for this one and think it might actually catch a fish or two.  Of course the proof will be in the pudding when it comes time to try it out, but this is one of those rare instances where I won't be afraid embarrassed to have tied one on.

Pun intended.

Til later,

-M

Monday, December 23, 2013

Fresh air

Sure.  It is a bit cold out.  But sometimes, the need for fresh air just can't be overstated.

In a fit of early winter cabin fever, my boy and is buddy joined me for a hike at one of the nearby places where a fella can go to recharge his soul.

I think it is fair to say that we all needed some time in the woods, each of us for our own reasons.

Here is a look at the day through the lens of my camera:








Til later,

-M

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Turning towards the light


Don't know about you, but today is one of my favorite days of the year.

Never mind that today is a Saturday.  Or the first in a long series of days off for the holidays.  And never mind that there is an impending snowstorm. (I like all kinds of storms, but big snowstorms carry a special brand of excitement for me, especially around Christmas)

Today marks the first official day of winter and most importantly, the returning of the sun.  While today is the shortest day of the year in terms of sunlight, tomorrow will have a full 2 extra seconds of daylight.

Go ahead, call me a dreamer, optimist, or just a garden variety fruitcake.  Or maybe it's just the Prozac speaking, but I plan to take those 2 seconds per day and enjoy them to the fullest.

Happy solstice everyone!

Til later,

-M

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hung up

Carp.

I'm trying.  I REALLY am.  But the truth is I just don't get it.

Not my picture, don't give me credit.
I know, I know, I've heard it from the shops, read about it online and in the Drake Magazine, etc. I have even watched countless videos like "Off The Grid" where the latest in technology mixes heavily with edgy film makers and creates an aura that makes carp fishing look incredibly glamorous.  Right here in the Midwest.

"Once you try it, you will love it"
"The tug is the drug"
"It's like bone fishing except you don't need to travel to Belize"
"Carp are incredibly difficult to catch, your presentation has to be spot on"
"Once a carp takes the fly, better hold on because its about to break loose"

...and the chorus goes on.

So here I sit.  Trying to shed the stigma that I apparently have stuck in my head and frankly, unable to do it. If it is THAT good, I want in on it.  Period.  Especially since it can be done just about everywhere around me.

But...I grew up on the Mississippi River where catching gar and the occasional carp amounted to a monumental failure to catch whatever game fish we were actually after.  When you did see carp cruising, it was typically in the stagnant back water that was also filled with leaches and algae that was so thick that the "Old English" 40oz bottle isn't as much floating as it is resting on silt so deep that you would get inextricably stuck if you stepped in on accident, much less chasing a fish that you didn't want to catch in the first place...

(Whoa...how's that for a run on sentence????)

Poor grammar aside, I am trying my friends.  But struggling.

Maybe this summer will be the time when I actually catch that carp on a fly rod?  Don't know, but as it is single digit temperatures with wind-chills well below zero here in the UnForest today, even carp offer an acceptable level of escape via daydreams.

Til later,

-M