Monday, November 21, 2011

International Fly Tying Symposium Nov. 19+20, 2011

The International Fly Tying Symposium Somerset, NJ November 19+20, 2011.  This is my third year tying at the Symposium.  I have to say that I've been welcomed and treated well.  I look forward to the event with the thought of meeting some new folks, learning something new, and sharing ideas.  This has happened every year, so I guess the need to keep going back is there.  The change for me this year was the opportunity to tie at the Flymen Fishing Company's booth instead of my own table.  I really struggled with this invitation for one reason, I enjoy the one on one interaction of being a tier and having the freedom to tie what I want.  The introduction of the Articulated Shank by the Flymen Fishing Company gave me the freedom to pretty much tie what I want, so I accepted the invitation.  I am not a salesman, but I am a promoter of products I believe in. Enough said, an opportunity presented and I seized it.  The Saturday portion of the event was very intense with masses of people coming through and made for a great day.  By the end of the day I was spent and starting to question a lot of things.  Saturday evening was fun socializing with a couple of fellow tiers and I was starting to feel more centered.  Sunday started at 5am with my annual trip to Carlos Bakery and back in time to tie away the morning.  Sunday morning is also the time to meet fellow tiers I had missed the day before and do a bit of shopping.  I was able to connect with some fellow tiers from the newly resurrected Fly Tyer forum. I am not a big fan of the magazine, but the folks on the forum are really tight and I'm glad to be able to interact with them and meet a few face to face. Sunday turned out to be better than expected for me, and the generosity people showed was a bit overwhelming, but it left me a lot to ponder on the long drive home. Now for the pictures....Martin Bawden and I were talking about, it's hard to have a bad time at a tying show, so as I took a few pictures of people I said "look angry"....enjoy!

Ralph (NJ Troutbum) and myself
 Martin Bawden and myself
 John Mclain of FeathersMC....the winner of the look angry photo contest!
 Feathers MC goods!
 John Collins
 Lyle Graff of Rite Bobbins
 Bruce Corwin and Fishy Fulum getting technical.
 Frank G Swarner III
 Pat Cohen flies
 Mike Schmidt (Angler's Choice Flies) runner up for looking angry.
Angler's Choice Flies

Thursday, November 17, 2011

39 > 40 and Numerology

Well numbers don't mean a lot to me, but I do have a few lucky ones.  Then there are milestone numbers 39 to 40 now there is something to get excited about.  Not really! The fact that in life you reach a certain point when you have as a global-ball-buster that I work with reassured me, "you probably have more birthdays behind you than ahead of you".  Well that's a great way to look at it.  That to me means I need to fish a whole lot more.  As the change from 39 to 40 was quickly approaching, I took the opportunity to fish with a few friends that I rarely get to do so with.  In the course of a week I took three days to fish three different tributaries, on two different Great Lakes, with two different friends, and one solo outing.  Now what do I have to show for it?  I appreciate my friends more than ever, my car doesn't know whether or not I catch any fish, I spent way too much in gas money, cold Italian sausage with pepper and onions is becoming a way of life, and though I don't have a lot to show for it I wouldn't change a thing. 
Now for the fly tying.  On the eve of the big day I spent a few hours trying to fill fly tying orders.  When I reached to point of exhaustion I took the time to tie one more fly for me.  Inspired by an article in the UK's Fly Fishing and Fly Tying August 2011 issue about Dick's Blue Bottle fly and midnight was just around the corner I tyed number 39 a small winter steelhead fly.  Looking toward the future if you will. 
                                                                 Number 39
I went to bed now a little older than when I started.  The following morning I was treated to my wife and kids making me pumpkin pancakes and chasing me through the house to give me my forty lashings.  Later that morning I retreated to the basement to tie number 40.  This was inspired by an article I've been working on, which involves adapting a traditional nymph into a Spey fly pattern.  This fly has really gotten some water time from a fellow guide and shows great promise.  All the smaller versions have been to my liking, but adapting it to size 1.5 Alec Jackson Spey hook has been a hurdle.  A post by Kevin Hospodar on clicked the switch for me and I had an idea.  Number 40 looks back at where I left off.  Two very different flies, one great life even if I don't have a fishy picture to show.  Next stop the International Fly Tying Symposium in Somerset, NJ.

                                                            Number 40 and 39

Number 40 Head On
Number 40

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Catt Fight

She sure was pretty, but she didn't want to give up any steel on the swing.  It's been about 8 years since I fished the Catt and she doesn't reward easily if you don't visit her more frequently.  Did get to fish with fellow two handed enthusiast Wylie, which is always a good time.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spooky Water and a Clear Head

I've spent a few days this fall trying to swing up a fish or two on the Salmon River.  I've spent most days tuggless or just a quick grab.  It's still early and swinging is not a numbers game.  It turns mental after a while as you cruise through your gear, your fly, the water, the weather, the conditions, the cast (oh the bloody casts), the moon, the stars, the sun, gravitational pull, and the list goes on.  I fished a stretch last weekend to no avail, only to have 3 drift boats come through and spank out eight fish.  Yeah that gets in your head for sure.  The appeal of drifting a tiny plastic bead under a float just isn't my thing on this river.  As one guide put it, "when the steelies are on the eggs, it's hard to turn them off". "Good for them", was the comment from another Spey angler.  He was right, good for them.  I'll take one grab on a swung fly for every 6 that watch a float stop moving.  To clear my head, I went back to the river and sat stream side til fishable light and pondered a lot of things, some fishing, some just life.  I fished some really great looking water and not a thing.  I soaked in the day and covered lots of water.  I fished down through a known run and kept going as I approached a spot I call "the spooky water".  As I described it to my buddy a few weeks back as we fished it together, it just screams monster steelhead lying in wait to thrash a fly.  The water rushes fast and drowns out all other noise, the choppy looking seams, the over hanging trees, it's just plain spooky.  Well the spooky water came through in the end.  It wasn't a monster steelie, but a steelie none the less.  Head is back in check.