A celebration of our myopic and irrational

I’ve always been fascinated how physics, logic, and religion alternately hold sway with anglers, and how quickly we drop one to seek a convenient explanation from the others.

Given the fervor of our practitioners, fishing may also hold a goodly number of lay theologians; those whose use of deities are limited to epithets, and those who couldn’t endure the restrictions of religious study, and opted for a sociology major instead.

Only historians, theologians,  and anglers discuss derivations of ancient events and derive modern theories that explain the unexplainable – and like religion and history, most attempts at learned angling discussion flare white-hot, as our ranks are home to   half wits, zealots, and the unyielding.

never-argue-with-stupid-people

Bass anglers and fly fishermen are the worst of the lot and the least cognizant of their behavior. Add together a bit of religion, arrogance, science, and stubborn, suspend disbelief and ignore physics, and you’ve got something that describes their angling theory and behavior.

… and as I listened to a pair of bass fanatics agree on the only three colors of rubber worm needed to catch bass, I was reminded of our version, the “Adam’s Guy”, and how ardent he was that “ …the Adam’s is the only fly worth fishing , and I catch all my fish using it.”

With an ear cocked to the debate on rubber worms, (which had turned from discussion to a more congratulatory tone) I noted that while the obligatory “fist-bump” was in order, both had confessed to owning a garage full of the unloved color spectrum. Most being blamed on destination purchases – based on bait shop banter, and the balance from YouTube videos (and magazine articles) featuring snuff-dipping felons manning tinny microphones apologizing for winning everything while flinging, “… drop shot, with a Dirty Plum Senko chaser.”

Naturally us long rod fanciers pick on the Bass crowd with great glee, but they’re a mirror of current fly fishing theory. Both groups are equally insufferable in their misapplication of knowledge, both assume the outrageous cost of their tackle makes up for their lack of study or practice, and most lack real knowledge of their surroundings or their quarry, and are content to quote whatever dog-eared rag they’ve stacked by the crapper.

I suppose the fly fishing crowd can claim a moral victory in that they don’t despoil lakes with fossil fuels, but the reality is our leader packages, discarded indicators, and candy bar wrappers are a close second.

Bass fishermen giggle at us because of the nosebleed costs of fly rods, but don’t consider they are uncomfortable without a half dozen rods pre-strung, and how the combined cost of all those reels and terminal gear equal or exceed the cost of our rod.

As both groups represent a relaxing hobby gone terribly wrong, its interesting neither dwells on the actual cost of their catch, as both insist on releasing everything before they’re weighed. This is a convenient mechanism, given any serious study on the subject will be waved in their face by their Better Half, and used to stifle any sarcasm regarding drapery treatments and domestic expense.

All this imprecision results in shaky estimates and gross exaggeration of catch rates, which we gleefully relay to our confederates with clipped syllables that brook little discussion.

“Mr. Adam’s” is equally unwilling to discuss his myopia, and while it may not serve him well hiring a guide to fish a strange river, as he’ll scorn any patterns presented by his handler, it won’t lessen his ardor at force feeding every nearby dimple with his notion of perfection.

Mr. Adams being right … as even a single suicide fish will buttress his theory beyond credibility. He’s conveniently ignored the notion that the Only Fly theorem can be explained by the Commutative Law of Mathematics – which describes why the angler who uses only a single fly for their fishing will catch all their fish on that fly.

commutative_law

This is known in scientific circles as a “truism” … a fact that cannot be argued regardless of the amount of alcohol consumed.

Fly fishermen insist that a massive gold bead on the front of a mayfly imitation actually imitates a mayfly, which might be true if mayflies rode motorcycles and the more numerous Diptera passed a helmet law . This learned scientific notion a derivation based on the original fly being a realistic imitation – and the addition of glitter, opalescent rib and bulbous shiny helmet making the original work even better.

Other realities are never discussed, as they make a mockery of everything us anglers holds dear. How fish only have a split second to eat – before the insect consumes more calories to catch than it’ll contain when eaten … and how even the wildest of bloodlines will eat a cigarette butt should it be presented upstream and at a dead drift …

… downstream presentation making it a vile thing – akin to trash.

The most damning notion is how many male-dominated (male-originated) sports share the same mythology. Like the fable of the Well Chewed Fly; despite a dozen undamaged replicas in the box a damaged fly increases its allure with each fish hooked, regardless of deteriorating appearance.

Crash Davis: I never told him to stay out of your bed.
Annie Savoy: Yes you did.
Crash Davis: I told him that a player on a streak has to respect the streak.
Annie Savoy: Oh fine.
Crash Davis: You know why? Because they don’t  … they don’t happen very often.
Annie Savoy: Right.
Crash Davis: If you believe you’re playing well because you’re getting laid, or because you’re not getting laid, or because you wear women’s underwear, then you *are*! And you should know that!
[long pause]
Crash Davis: Come on, Annie, think of something clever to say, huh? Something full of magic, religion, bullshit. Come on, dazzle me.
Annie Savoy: I want you.

- from Bull Durham

Religion and fishing have numerous literal links. Jesu Christo and his over-limit angling habit being the most obvious. Both avocations share legions of zealots – yet fly fishermen have yet to detonate a vest in a public setting, suggesting their fervor, unlike the religious variant, has practical limits.

My theory is that all truly talented fishermen are guilty of irrational behavior and myopic outlook, as it’s the armor needed to endure icy waters, extreme temperatures, and  the lack of hygiene of our fishing buddies. We’ve always considered these trials as proof of our devotion, as they are so off-putting to our detractors.

Like celibacy among priests, anglers require suffering to endure the unknown, and both the Meaning of Life and Why Fish Eat, are intangibles and destined for debate until climate change or Thermonuclear devastation makes both moot.

At some point we’ll see stability, but not yet

I’ll call this site “Singlebarbed Too” in honor of my horrid punctuation skills.

As we speak two sites exist due to my migrating the content from one account to another. Site “one” has a BASS graphic as the header image, and “Too” has the tied fly header.

So far this morning the DNS update has made the default site Singlebarbed One, and now at midday it has become Singlebarbed Too.

I’ll assume all this will quiet down within 48 hours, but it may prove a little odd if you comment or post, and it appears to vanish – as it has done twice already.

No worries, it will stabilize at some point.

It’ll take More than fries and a smile

The title appeared innocent enough, but its import sent a chill down my spine.

Inference and Science are never mixed without trouble, as inference is the opposite of scientific rigor. While I instinctively understood that my “connecting the dots” was a leap of faith, the conclusion was so hellish as to ensure our beloved pastime is threatened …

“ Female bats are fussier than males when it comes choosing where to eat in urban areas …”

Knowing that Mother Nature often shares her constructs across species, and buttressed by my personal experiences that Human Females share the same tendencies as  bats, suggest this behavior is present in  fish as well.

Make_Trout_Want

For most this will be a yawner, but knowing most of the freshwater fish in the world live in environments rich in Estrogen and are steeped in female hormones, and noting Science has indicted the water treatment folks with their callous extermination of gonads of all types, suggests the bulk of our quarry are at minimum transgender … or are already female.

As such they’ll develop the rarified palate and be doubly difficult to catch.

What Science has yet to explain is whether a “sale” tag on the fly will make them eat more often, or whether they’ll simply browse your fly box without touching anything.

For those scoffing at my reach of the available facts, note that like Human males, male bats settle …

Males, on the other hand, seem to be less particular and are just as likely to be found settling for poorer-quality woodland patches next to built-up areas. (Via Physorg)

Both species having low self esteem in common, and don’t pay much attention to the quality of what they stuff in their gob …

In male cuttlefish, mated behaviour was not affected by female receptivity; however, familiarity with the female did affect male mating behaviour. Males exerted a strong preference for unfamiliar females ..  (Via Physorg)

Males settle … and in females, prefer some “Strange” …

I don’t make this stuff up, I infer it, which is way better.

All of my Grammatical tendencies exposed

My continuing struggle with apostrophes is second only to my use of labels to paint the opposition… both being growth areas should I ever aspire to write traditional ‘Zine fodder.  While I’ve given up attempting to decide when it is proper to use an apostrophe, my  struggle with epithets has become “throwing the widest loop possible” .. thereby angering everyone.

In this instance it was my incorrect and chronic use of the term “Metrosexual” to describe myself and those as toss flies in anger.

Erroneously, I had assumed clean shaven, sweet smelling, and well coifed, to be a liability in fishing – as both fashion, perfume, and fat free milk, repelled fish akin to human urine.

lumbersexual

Thumbing through my gaily-colored-but-ever-shrinking fishing periodicals showed little resembling the anglers of my California streams. No chapped lips, roman noses, scuffed boots, and missing teeth, and unlike my locals, no one is ever depicted walking, most are escorted by drift boats and liveried guides.

While the balance of the multi-page spread hawked monogrammed Puce self-wicking shirts, rather than the killing tools of my sport, their spokespeople looked out of place and uncomfortable with mosquitoes, water of any kind (except in Bourbon), and fishing of any type.

As I couldn’t imagine these airbrushed dandies advancing up the survival-skill-food-chain, given their inability to wear the same shirt for most of the week, and reluctant to learn how the reapplication of mosquito repellent can overcome pure “Sourdough” that is companion to a watery debauch, I had sought to diminish them with a potentially appropriate – yet hastily chosen epithet.

Further study on the subject suggests anglers (especially the effete fly fishing kind) are not so much a Metrosexual as we are “Lumbersexuals.”

The distinction is significant.

A “metrosexual” is someone aware of the imbedded fashion associated with outdoor activity, and has a suitable closet to match. Function is unrealistic, given there is no reward in being successful, so much as cutting the appropriate figure while hunkering over the après’-fishing craft beer.

Metrosexuals spend more time in front of a mirror than an aging starlet, and have sanitary rituals and niceties that are foreign to most men, and appreciated mightily by females.

If a metrosexual drops his Standard-station bean burrito in the dirt he will consider it unclean. Then he will separate the plastic wrap from the organic elements and look for separate garbage cans for each.

Metrosexuals are sensitive and have high self esteem, which is why they excel at selling fishing tackle and are such poor fishermen.

A “Lumbersexual” is a fellow that retains one or more studied outdoorsy elements to his lifestyle. Carefully manicured chin stubble, plaid shirts, shooting jackets, or owns a hunting dog breed that ignores verbal commands and “points” only Siamese and coffee-ground covered chicken bones.

… and before you get all apoplectic – recognize that Fishing, by any definition, IS that lingering outdoorsy affectation … so we’re all guilty.

Wide, wide, loop.

From around the web: Emblematic of confused state of masculinity today. As a comedian I know puts it, men today have full beards but shaved balls. "Folksy on the face, creepy on the balls."

The Benefits of Ponderous

The benefits of walking are many fold. There is the obvious mildly strenuous form of exercise able to rid you of holiday excesses, and the less tangible “.. gets you out of doors so you can reconnoiter all the changes the last couple of storms has brought.”

While “buff and ripped” can only describe the pants I’m wearing, and the “Fair Sex” and the figure I make at the water cooler are no longer a motivational tool,  I’m still mindful that I have to reduce my holiday bulk if only to pull my ass out of the stream bottom and portage around the decaying goat carcass and its companion, the rusting Chevy.

… and after regaining the bank and finishing that climb on hands and knees, a fellow can be be justifiably incensed at his weakness for See’s candy and Christmas stollen, and resolve to see his feet  without they’re being elevated via recliner.

“Incensed” being just enough ire to exploit a fat kid, which is exactly what a Koi is to fisherman.

… and finning toward me was the unmistakable outline of a really fat kid, who like me was struggling with the six inches of water left in the canal, yet coming my way just the same.

From the culvert beneath me tumbled a second snow white fish that had successfully fought its way upstream to join its larger brethren in the skinny water above.

white_koi500

While I managed to slide the camera out to record my sudden good fortune,  I realized I was attempting to be extra-secretive due to my quarry. Carp are a brawling cockroach of a fish – worthy of a frontal assault with a six pack in tow , but Koi are garden ornaments and quite valuable, and there was sure to be some enraged gaggle of gardeners or socialites completely upset with what I was contemplating …

Ruinous exploitation of the resource, naturally.

And all of those grade school field trips, where I peered over the rail of the bridge bisecting the Koi ponds at the Japanese Tea Gardens, where I was watched with great vigilance by teachers and ninja karate-wielding gardeners, was about to be avenged.

I said to myself,  as I pointed skyward, “ … you bastard, there better be an orange one …”

Brief Hiatus nearing completion

Been a bit reluctant to add more to the site as there was the potential to move it onto another vendor. Naturally I didn’t want to confuse the issue any – after exporting all of my past blather and saving it should the move prove less than advertised.

To hell with that … given the sudden parting of the Heavens and the deluge that resulted. While the drought (both writing and water) has taken a couple of wicked body shots, we need a bit more weather and time to ensure next year’s fishing is a sure thing.

Back shortly.

Five to Eleven generations and then there’s Hell to Pay

trouts_Gone360While scientists giggle at us trout and salmon anglers, knowing our fragile quarry and how they’re damned to extinction via Global Warming, they throw us a bone by reassuring us that as climate changes over the coming centuries, we’ll not have to deal with “Quasimodo Trout” or something equally misshapen shuffling about  the muddy bottom …

… and no, they’re not concerned enough to forswear Ebola research in favor of crafting a more resilient Salmonid, they are merely reassuring us that despite the warming of the Earth’s crust and the dwindling water supply, we’ll not have to fret over Carp-Chinook hybrids or Bluegill Rainbows.

(That indignity being somehow so horrific as to make them blanch and stare at their feet hoping we didn’t notice their earlier glee.)

The latest research stems from the Lake Huron archipelago and centers on a recent study of Canadian Brook trout. Wild and hatchery fish were intermingled and the resultant prodigy examined via the genetic microscope, suggesting that while breeding occurs between wild and hatchery fish, natural selection continues to winkle out foreign genomes in favor of those developed for the unique environment and wild populations win in the end.

It turns out that within five to 11 generations of fish (about 25 to 50 years), the foreign genes introduced into wild populations through hybridization are removed by natural selection. That means fish populations previously bolstered by hatchery stock are, genetically speaking, indistinguishable from purely wild populations.

- from Phys.Org

The journal Evolutionary Applications is host to the research and while considerably harder to follow, suggests the findings are preliminary (as population dynamics are a function of time), yet interloper genes are quickly discarded and the resultant strain become genetically identical to the original wild populations over time.

Although we believe that our study demonstrates that salmonid populations can exhibit no effect of hybridization after 5–11 generations, more studies of this phenomenon are still required to aid policy makers when classifying the protection status or management practices for populations known to be hybridized. Our results additionally provide hope for wild populations of high ecological and economical value currently displaying negative effects as a result of human-mediated hybridization with domesticated conspecifics. If the incoming flow of foreign genes can be stemmed and the environment resembles that experienced by the wild population prior to hybridization, there appears to be a considerable chance that populations will recover, and possibly in less time than previously thought. Similar conclusions have recently been made about canid species exposed to hybridization, but that continue to experience the same selective regimes of their nonhybridized ancestors (Stronen and Paquet 2013).

-from Evolutionary Applications (Wiley Online Library) 8.27.14

Global Warming aside – it is a bit of welcome good news in light of how much “cross-pollination” our hatchery practices have induced in North America.

While politicians are quick to grasp any photo opportunity, they’re reluctant to pursue most forms of science beyond that practiced by pollsters. Any increase in watershed temperatures is likely to be met with a “doubling down” on stocking – versus solving the issue completely, and it’s nice to know that should we emerge from this scientific abyss, there might be a few “neo-native” fish to survive with us ..

Wherein the ravages of time and middle age require prosthesis

It was a case of not knowing … what I didn’t know; how one day I too would be swearing at a tangle of glasses and lanyards, and how tenuous the grip on my sunglasses would be as I swapped them mid-riffle for my magnified readers …

… how I would find that suspending them from my neck just meant they would intertwine with clippers and hemostats, suck fly line into their snarl at the slightest breath of wind, and how either set would routinely tangle in branches and bankside undergrowth and threaten to garrote me should I move in any direction.

I too would learn that bifocals and trifocals suck in earnest, and how the “sweet spot” on their lenses isn’t sweet enough to bring into focus my water-refracted feet, and how anything short of a crablike scuttle is unwise while wading.

I guess my older buddies were reluctant to confess that the ravages of Time would deprive me of things I assumed I would enjoy forever – so I was ill prepared to require Little Blue Pills of Turgidity and “Coke Bottle” glasses to see tippet.

Two pairs of glasses dangling from your neck simply doesn’t work, given how quickly they will become intertwined with one another and anything else dangling from your vest. The venerable magnified loupe dangling off your sunglasses was a bit better, but after we parted company (compliments of scrub oak) I opted to abandon sun glasses altogether, and simply hung a set of 250X readers around my neck for all knot tying.

Unfortunately, you can’t wear the readers so you’re without eye protection or polarization and that solution is far from elegant.

Bifocals require you to move your head to find the small spot in the magnifying area that brings your fingers into focus, and while I’ve tried diligently to make the switch, I’ve abandoned them entirely. Too much of the lenses are neither magnified nor focused, so I find them infuriating to use.

hydrotac

I do keep tinkering with the combination of sunglasses and readers, and occasionally I spy something with the potential to alter my inelegant solution.

I am currently fiddling with the Hydrotac product shown above. These are a pair of semicircular lenses that can be stuck to any regular eyeglass (or sunglass) by simply moistening them. They peel off with finger pressure when you wish to remove them from your sunglasses.

Hydrotac_Glasses

Here is what they look like when dampened and attached. I’ve tamped the excess water off the lenses, and worn them for an hour or two fishing. They act much like a bifocal, but have the advantage that there is no out-of-focus areas. The Hydotac semi-circle are 250X magnification and the surrounding lense area are all the identical prescription for distance.

HydroTac.Nymph430

Here is a sample of the 250X magnification portion of the inserts. The magnification works quite well, and any issues of fish splatter or the lenses getting dirty can be resolved by peeling them off, rinsing them clean, and reattaching them to the glasses.

Naturally I would do this while resting comfortably on the bank. Cold fingers and fast water will likely peel these from your hands and you’ll be left with nothing.

I have not subjected the glasses to a lot of abuse so this is still a “work in progress” review. Falling headfirst into fast water may peel these off the lenses, so I don’t yet know how much stress the adhesion can withstand. Their protective container doesn’t strike me as being a good solution for your fishing vest, so some attention to their storage may be needed as well.

In either case, they work well for their purpose – and are about the same price as low cost reading glasses, about $20.00 per set. They are available in +125 to +300 magnification.

* Due Diligence: I purchased the set used in this review using my own money, no vendor freebies nor contact with the vendor was initiated nor accepted.

Takes a licking and keeps on ticking …

An observant fellow notes a trout swimming in a Swiss lake appears odd, and discovers trout are evolving natural defenses against the local Osprey …

swissarmy_trout430

While I don’t think the Timex watch is a Swiss invention, it engenders new respect for a heretofore fragile salmonid.

swissarmy_trout2430

I imagine the local Osprey are likely perfecting the Immelmann and how best to engage fish using, “Death from the Side.”