Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Why Tie?

I started tying flies as a kid. Maybe the 3rd or 4th grade.  I was a rabid little fisherman, and when I learned of fly fishing/tying I wanted in bad.  Lucky for me my parents believed in fostering interests and letting my sister in I find our way and find the things that caused us joy.  Sometimes that lead to bumps, and some of the things did not last.  But today, about 4 months from my 41st birth day, tying and fly fishing sure have stuck!

They have always been a bit of relief from the world.  They have always been time to process life, to simplify life, and simply enjoy being in the out doors.

I've always loved endurance sports too... and in a weird way, fly fishing is an endurance activity.  Sustained levels of focus for hours - takes it's own unique endurance for sure!

It's also highly meditative.  You repeat a simple motion with focus - very much like some of the meditative approaches to Buddhism.  Focus is the key.  it's focus that brings you to the simple, open and clear mind which, despite it's attention to one thing, seems so much better at absorbing the world around us.

The snag for me, is that I don't have lots of time to fish.  I get out, but I'm not always able to make it a real consistent thing regrettably.

Tying on the other hand, I can do any time with about 15' at hand.  It connects me to the outdoors - as soon as you hold the materials or consider the fly you are creating it's use is a sharp focus.  And that brings back floods of memories about good times in the outdoors.  Ahhhhh.

Tying is also creative.  Even if you are repeating a pattern created by others, we all have our own style or flow.  Some guys tend to tie very neat flies, others bushy as a simple example.  Because of that creative aspect of tying, it scratches an artistic itch of mine.  I have always enjoyed sketching - and often "new" flies I create start on a pad with pencil in my hand... But there is just something about sitting down, looking at that vice and wondering what the excess of materials I've collected over the years could lead too.

The other night I was tying, and had not had time to in several weeks.  For some reason, I always tie midges or small micro nymphs after a lay off.  It reminds me that you dont need to make a lot of thread wraps, and it reminds me to keep things simple.  While I'm sure others have created similar flies... I just was not motivated to tie some pumpkin head midges (a great pattern I learned about on Matt Grobert's blog) which I'd been planning on - they are good little flies for sure!  But a simpler variation just jumped out to me.  An orange bead, 4-6 bit's of coc de leon and open spirals of peacock eye up the hook... Using the peacock to create "rib" through it's wide flat stem.  This is a little #22 scud hook, and brings a lot of good things to the table.  I'm excited to try this out on the swift some time this winter (a tail water about an hour from here that was in mind tying this up).

That simple little fly is a good example of why I tie and why I brought it up, it worked off good memories of a beautiful and fun place to fish, it got me playing with materials and trying to create my own twist on a fly that's really good (pumpkin head midge). Creative, flowing with my energy level, and inspiring ("I wonder if this will work?")...

I realize that this is some what a surface scratcher for why I tie - or fish.  But it helps clarify it a bit, or at least point at the direction that things tend to go for me.  We are all very different and have many different reasons... Which makes me wonder about others.  Why do you wave a rod or wrap thread to a hook?

In short... How about you?



Monday, December 22, 2014

It's winter... Time for fun and looking forward!

Happy New Year and Christmas (or whichever major winter holiday you celebrate) to all!

I'm taking a moment to put a few pic's up - some may have been here before.  But Overall, it felt like a fun process as I sit here...

First off, it's only about 2-3 months until we see a stream in spring like the river below.  This is the river I cut my teeth on, and I love it.  Looking upstream here is close to 2 miles of woods to the next road if you follow the river... Have to love fishing spots like that :)

Some times a fly just works.  Several years ago I learned about the "McPhail bug.  A simple combo of yellow floss, epoxy, marker and red/orange wire.  That's it.  Oh, and a lead or tungsten underbody of wire.  It's an awesome little fly.  I dont know how I got this pic with the dark background... wish I remembered because it's a cool pic of a great little bug to drift through deeper cuts like that one to the right of the big rock in the pic above.

The last few years there has been a bit of talk about the "original" Adams dry, with down wings and golden pheasant tail vs the "modern" upwing and hackle tailed fly.  I dont know that the "original" (below) fishes better, but I do have fun tying them, and fishing them in spots like the pic above just feels good.  It's like the Parmechene Belle in my last post or a Gray Ghost or other fly with history... Something fun about using historically significant flies. 

What's coming though?  Hopefully more day's like this.  That's Rosemary bundled up to the right (barely visible), by friend Chris's kiddos and my kiddos (two tiny ones are mine) and Chris (holding the bass) out on the Ice.  Ice fishing to me is not about "skill".  It's about being with family and friends.  It's about enjoying time outside, and goofing off, eating snacks and drinking coco!  That's it. 

Often the fish you catch are not as bick as the bass Chris caught above (ever since, my son (wearing the white hat dead center) likes to call them "Largemail Bass".  Goof ball.  That aside, often the fish you catch are like the little sunny below.  I'm mostly a catch and release guy... but, every now and then, keeping a bunch of these guys and enjoying the tasty fillet's is just awesome!

Yep, 2.5 years old last winter and taking after dad and mom putting the hurt on the blue gills :). 

It's winter, but that just means new outside fun is around the corner!  Enjoy it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December, fly of the year and venison

This past weekend I got a few hours Sunday to hit a local stream.  I caught the skunk, but loved it!

You can see in the pic, that the stream's flow was solid, though gin clear.  I dont feel the clarity was an issue, I just feel the fish were sluggish and were hugging undercuts and I did not fish those areas successfully.  But hearing the water gurgle by, and enjoying the sights was worth every moment along this little stream.

It's funny to see bittersweet this time of year, when you are used to seeing it as a green tangle!  Deer love to eat bittersweet this time of year, and there were a number of tracks around this clump of the vine.

I mostly fished streamers and wet flies today.  In particular, a number 14 Parmechene Belle wet fly - which looks a bit more dull here given the water soaked floss.  It's a good little attractor fly for wild brookies - and a variety of other fish.  Plus fishing a fly with a long New England history has a neat lure to it!

This streamer is looking a scruffy mess.  This fly get's my "wild brookie fly of the year" award.  I made it up last winter and it's fished great.  After catching a lot of trout, some chubs, sunfish and bass... it's beat to a pulp for sure...

This one's for those of you who enjoy venison.  This is backstrap cooked in a home made lemon marinade AND coated in a blackberry reduction sauce.  In this case it's served up with a salad and wild rice... However it's served up, it's fantastic!

Have a super week - get outside and enjoy the early winter sights and smells - it does a person well!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Brief Update

I hope to put up a bigger update in the next week, but as I wind down from a long day, reviewing a few blogs I was motivated to put up a brief post.

The fall has zipped by fast.

I finished up my first two terms of grad school and am now in the holiday break.  I actually wish another class was going on now - I was just starting to get back in the groove with school after about 18 years away from formal schooling!    So far a solid A, which I'm excited about and which I've enjoyed working for.

I have fished a few times this fall - hitting some local wild trout streams while scouting white tails.  Regrettably, my fishing mojo was not high, and I landed a few chubs, but that was it...

On the other hand, my deer hunting mojo was solid and I managed to tag a doe and a buck with my bow during November.  I'll poke around a bit with the muzzle loader the next few weeks, but overall, most hunting now is about time in the woods, unless a very large buck strolls by.

It always feels good to have such healthy fare available for the family... And watching the 3.5 year olds chow down on venison and veggies is a great sight!

We are busily getting ready for the holiday's now, but tomorrow we are hosting some friends who we met while our son was in cancer treatment at Dana Farber.  They had to move here from Spain to seek treatment for their boy.  He's doing great, and their family will be here for a thanksgiving like meal tomorrow afternoon.  It's always fun to see them, and to let the kid's play.  I just wish there was still snow so we could take them sledding!

Sunday may be a day where I get to fish a bit.  Rosemary's taking the kid's to the Nutcracker with my mom... and that leaves me with a full afternoon.  I'd love to hit the swift River (a tailwater an hour from me) but that may be a hair to far... So I may stick to some local native streams... or may just take a hike or a mountain bike ride and enjoy the fall woods.

Have an excellent weekend -