Thursday, March 27, 2014

I have had a little bit of a tying funk since Will's scan last week... Those things just suck it out of me emotionally.  Last night, the promise of warmer air and running water got me going.  I didnt have a massive need for more Royal Wulff's, but I've been wanting to try mating a Royal Wulff front end to a Royal Coachman's rear end... And to try using different color hackles - hence the cree on the one pictured (fore ground)... I may drift these in a little stream today if I can get a shot before lunch...

These are a little experiment.  They are the same, but the top fly I added some red flat waxed nylon over the head to give it a bit more contrast... I think I like the pumpkin colored thread on the bottom.  They are both #16 wet fly hooks, and the "marabou" wing is actually the fluff from the bottom of a CDL feather.  The body is rust oppossum dubbing with a strand of pearl midge krystal flash as the rib.  I really like these little flies, and look forward to testing them out.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Random Collection...

The Millers River here in Central MA is a fantastic fishery.  Ok, ok... I guess it's west central MA... Regardless, it morphs from an amazing trout fishery in it's eastern most sections like the Bears Den in Royalston / Athol MA (pictured above) to an interesting bass (large and small mouth) and pike fishery with some good trout fishing mixed in from Athol to the dam in Orange, before steadily showing great "talent" as a trout/small mouth bass fishery from Orange to the CT river.  In this section, you can get surprised.  I've caught a lone Walleye (making the trip up from the CT river) here for example! 

 The Millers is stocked with Bow's and Browns... but the brown trout are more tollerant of the warm summer temps in the river, and can (do) hold over.  There are some toad browns in this river.  And though I dont know if it's considered official, there seems to be reproduction - becuase I dont believe the state stocks 4" brown trout par in the river - or some of it's cold water trib's... and those are not abnormal catches by area fishermen.  This is a fun "big" river where you can swing big streamers, or nymps but also can fish #18 sulfer dry's and have a blast!
 My favorite river is the one I grew up a mile from, the East Branch of the Swift River.  It's a beautiful stream with healthy populations of native brookies from it's head waters - the confluence of Shattuck and Red Brook's in Phillipston/Petersham MA - to it's first dam.  The section from that dam to the next has some native fish, but they are few and far between which is sad, and largely related to heavy fishing pressure.  The last section from the second dam to the quabbin reservoir has a few natives, but they are rare.  More impressive is that it will holdover a trout or two thanks to cold springs and tributaries.  The heavy fishing pressure it recieves does it no favors as a year round fishery in it's lower sections, but the areas beauty, and, well, my personal history with the river and the woods and hills surrounding it will make it my favorite, and one I cant wait to share with my kids as they grow.
 Sorry the pic didn't flip when I posted it.  This is the kiddo and I during his final stem cell transplant a hair over a year ago.  I'm wearing a gown and gloves to prevent the toxic chemo agents he'd recieved from leeching from his skin into mine, possibly causing me health issues - Thiotepa was the main drug that required us to "suit up".  Stunk to have to hug your sick kiddo wearing chemical proof gear... But, he's still here and going strong -and he wouldnt be had he not recieved the treatment he did.

It doesn't feel real warm... and the 30 degree temps and 20-35mph winds outside my office right now affirm that feeling.  But, you cant stop nature... so its only a matter of weeks now and the green up will be starting - about 4 weeks to be specific.  And once that starts, little pools like the one above will start willingly sharing the native char that inhabit them, and the woods will be full of the sound of turkey's gobbling...
Spring is coming, it's time for Nature's New Year!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Phew - after 12 hours at Boston Childrens / Dana Farber we got the good news that the kiddo's MRI was clear and he's still "No Evidence of Disease"!


Nice to have a few months of clarity before another scan is needed... and time to enjoy the family, friends, flies/fishing and riding (it's spring today, I can dream about mountain biking right?)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


When our son was diagnosed with brain cancer almost 2 years ago now, the world stopped spinning.  I think the rotations have slowly started again... though I can say confidently that what we unluckily lucky to be cancer survivors (I count parents of pediatric cancer as a member of that club) call "Scanxiety" is definately rolling strong for me... with Will's next scan is only a week away.

The uncertainty of being in this club is amazing, bewildering, exhausting and exhilerating.  Most parents only see their child learn to sit, roll over, or walk 1 time.  We got to watch those things happen twice.  Next thursday, will we be diving into new chemo schedules, surgical options and massive life changes or will we be happy feeling like our gift (what doc's call No Evidence of Disease) has been extended?  I sure hope for the latter!

Initially, you have been so scared, that anything can make you retreat into yourself - or into your family - hoping you all can make it.  It's odd, but survivorhood, at least for the parent of a cancer survivor is just as hard as treatment.

I think that's becuase cancer is indifferent, and pretty damn unpredictable. 

So you never know.  Things seem great, then wham it's back.  So even though you show no evidence of disease... that does not mean 3 years from now it will be the case.  It's an incredible balance between knowing you should "live in the moment" and "make the most of each day" while full well knowing the rug could come out any time. 

At the same time, I'm grateful for the dramatically improved BS detector Will's cancer treatment has given me, and for the far greater sense of how valuable life is.  Sounds corny.  Sounds lame and cliche to say that.  But it's true.  And it's not true in a motivational speaker kind of way, it's true in a very, very real way.  I remember a father who's son had gone through medulloblastoma treatment about 10 years prior to our son Will.  His son is going strong and doing great now, dealing with challenges his treatment left behind like a real champ.  He described to me that things everyone else views as nice, you realize are amazing.  It's so true.  Watching my son walk, talk (as well as a 2.5 year old can), become excited or sad, hug his sister, eat snow... whatever it is, it's absolutely amazing and something that I wont let go of - no matter what next wednesday, or the scan 3 months from now or 3 months after that has to say.

The kid's amazing.  He's inspiring - becuase he has no clue in the world that he's done anything special.  He's just a kid.  He's just figuring things out. 

So in that sense, he's just like the rest of us, only luckier!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Some flies just fish.  They flat out fish.  They can catch anything, any where, any time.

The Thunder Creek Minnow, a creation of fly tyer Keith Fulsher is such a fly.  I find tying them in an 8 or 6... even down to a 2 can be great for large trout and warm water species...

But tying a Thunder Creek Minnow in a 10 or 12... man alive what a wild brookie fly!  The pic above are some 10's I did last night for the small stream box.  The colors that have worked best for me are olive over white, olive over yellow and a Micky Finn like red over yellow.  Drift these little flies, let em swing, then strip them back in small strips and hold on.  Ok, be ready - holding on may not be an accurate statement when your competition comes in at 5 inches long :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Really good read on Catch and Release.

The 2 primary ways I have found blog's I enjoy over the years - both in my hobbies and profession - is through checking out the comments on blogs I read, and then following the commenters links to their individual blogs. 

I had not seen this blog before, and well, I was amazed to see I had some comments because, well, my blog is a new blog and pretty basic...  A blogger named Atlas from the rogue outdoors blog commented a few days ago, and so, I was curious and checked his blog out.

The first post was a great one on catch and release that I wanted to share.  Thanks for checking out my blog Atlas, and, thanks for the great post!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Rambling Through Winter

No time for me to hit the water with a fly rod lately, but some good tying time in the evenings, and a nice time on a local pond - well frozen - to do some Ice fishing with friends.  The cast was my wife and kids, and our buddy and his 3 kids.  The kiddo's age difference is big - about 10 years - but they get on great.

We only had a few "flags" and no takes on jigs... but of the flag's we had, the best was a largemouth bass in the 5-6# range.  The kid's all had so much fun!
I'm fairly skittish on the ice.  Ive actually ice fished in a life jacket when there was only 4 inches of black ice early in the year.  But despite amazing pressure cracking yesterday (when the sun came out and the air warmed into the 40's, the pond popped and crackled like mad) I felt very safe... 24" of ice will do that to you!

The day's are getting longer and that feels really really good.  Even on a very cold day like today, the sun is warm... You can feel spring coming.  It's comforting to know that the earth will in fact keep shifting angles and expose us to more sun - bringing spring and summer to the fore.  Yep - like many northern north americans, I'm ready for spring this year.  It's been a LONG winter... with a LOT of snow, ice and cold... Knowing consistent open water... and snow / ice free mountain bike trails are at most 4-5 weeks away... Ahhhhhhh!

Here are a few mini muddlers - both dark and bright (I like em heavily dressed - becuase I tend to fish them in fast water either dry or wet on the swing - and it feels like that heavy dress just works better in those conditions) in and a few hot spot midge larva (yellow is an oddly good base color for these) and a small (#24) buzzer... Cmon spring!