Tag Archives: fishing

How Misery surely Loves company

With the exception of male models in carefully creased fishing vests hawking angling gear in magazines, I’ve been reluctant to piss on fellow members of the angling brotherhood. Ditto for television and radio personalities, as I’ve assumed them to be reasonably honest versus an avaricious SOB, whose focus is to promote their guide service. Most sins of exaggeration or inaccuracy chalked up to the notion that  angling media are akin to weather people; they mean well, but rarely get the forecast correct.

That’s a nicety I’ll no longer observe.

After six or seven weeks scrimmaging with Lake Berryessa in hopes the “top water bite” would materialize, I’m convinced we won’t have one this year – compliments of the California drought.

This being in sharp contrast to the pundits on the Bob Simm’s radio hour, which insists that anything with fins is climbing the bank begging to be hooked – on dry land even.

Personal observation and discussions with fellow fishermen suggests no one can figure out where the fish are – and that extends to the Kokanee Salmon and anything else plying the waters of that drainage.

Us fly fishermen, ever mindful of Science, have always insisted on the plausible explanation and Latin-tinged theorem, rather than relying on the more mystical,  “… use the Big Red Sumbitch – Let God Sort Them Out” approach popular with bass fishermen everywhere.

While much is known about river dynamics and flowing water, lakes have always proven a bit of enigma for fly fisherman. We look for the same things we see on rivers; bugs, differing currents, weather, and cover, but we’re ill at ease given that lake fishing exposes the soft underbelly of fly fishing – how poorly our tackle sinks and how deep water is our absolute undoing.

2015 Drought

I took the above picture of Berryessa’s banks in June of last year, just before the blast furnace of summer hit the area.

The Grass Belt is the historic fill level of the lake. If the lake is full, that water will rise to that region, about 10-30 feet from the tree line. The Brush Belt is the area exposed during the 2014 drought year. It has had seeds drift into that area from both wind and receding waters, and the growth has been buttressed by what little moisture fell during the 2014 Winter and Spring of 2015. The Just Exposed Belt is the area that has receded during the meager 2015 Spring, and will dry further as the 2015 Summer bakes the area.

By the end of Summer 2015, the loss of water had exposed nearly 200 feet of bank on the steeper canyon areas – which translated into half a mile or more of shallows exposed in the wider portions of the lake.

This Spring we had one superb storm that lifted the lake level at least 30 feet from its 2015 low point. On the shallow ends of the lake those flats exposed were reclaimed by the waters, leaving shore anglers the ability to cast only to the recently reclaimed area, now thinly covered with water.

Clue 1: Those ain’t weeds, those are Stems

In the bays formed by the undulating shoreline, the sudden glut of water had covered the exposed soil in wooden debris and  terrestrial plant stems. No leaves or greenery suggesting they were of recent vintage, rather they were sodden and waterlogged, with enough woody material to lift them to the surface, where the wavelets formed by the boat traffic piled them in heaps at water’s edge.

Looking at the above picture, and remembering the sequence of events – suggested this was the remnants of the Brush Belt. Once lush and green during Spring, now dried and dead from Summer, and forced underwater by the rising lake.

The idle currents near the shore break the stems into pieces, and they have enough pithy material to float ashore. These stems represent the only cover remaining underwater, leaving a featureless dirt embankment with no cover for hiding or ambush.

Clue 2: Where’s the forage?

Any self respecting minnow knows immersion in water teeming with hungry and voracious predators, requires both cover  and shade, things that you can hide among or behind, anything that allows the minnow school to pursue insects and forage suitable for their survival

These schools of bait were visible all of last year. Weed beds and plant growth would die once the water receded and exposed them to the harsh daytime temps, but the schools of forage fish would recede with the water – as the weeds blanketed the lake floor.

Add thirty feet of water delivered over a single week of runoff, and you have many hundreds of feet of dead soil now covered with water, but lack weeds, shade, or cover of any kind.

No cover means no bait, and that means no fish other than the occasional cruising bass.

Clue 3: Where are the beds?

Bass spawn in shallow water, leaving scarred whitish areas that the female sweeps clean with her tail. Often she stays on the bed, which is part of the allure of the Spring top water bite … big fish, shallow water, and the desire to kill anything approaching the nest.

Bass anglers have always taken advantage of this phenomenon with great glee, as there’s nothing more exciting then the visual element associated with casting at visible fish. The notion of “cradle robbing” apparently is suspended for the duration of the festivities …

This year I have seen only a single bed – covered by a solitary fish. It was in a back bay whose bottom had lots of algae and cover, suggesting bass also look for cover and shade to offer protection from predators.

The clean dirt areas are devoid of life. No beds visible, almost no foliage or weed growth, and few fish prowling for food.

deadZone

The above photo shows a “dead zone” bank. All dirt, no foliage of any kind as it was dried and desiccated by 2015’s summer sun. Note the pithy debris at water’s edge – mostly dried stems and dried thistle clumps (also shown in the water).

This lack of foliage means the dust in the soil leeches into the water as soon as boat wakes bathe the area. This thick band of dirty water provides the only cover for many hundreds of feet, and I always keep a weather eye out for signs of baitfish. So far, nothing.

Conclusion: Boat fishermen are better off

With no cover available to harbor baitfish, and with the water depth denying us that area of the lake that still has cover, my dismal conclusion is that the fish, their beds, and the minnow forage, are all too far from shore for bank fishermen to take part.

Six trips, in as many weeks, has yielded no fish activity of any kind.

I’ve not seen a boat angler catch a fish either – as many are fishing in close to the bank – consistent with a traditional wet year. I’m thinking that deeper water still retaining weeds and cover are where the fish are and the typical mobile bass angler is motoring  past them enroute to joining me in the Dead Zone.

Like Misery I surely loves the company, but I wish they would heed my “wave off.”

Putah is on the wragg, and I wander in Bathwater

Took a pre-dawn run up to Berryessa again this week, just to fiddle with a few things and survey the damage from the Wragg Fire.  This area is fairly important to the San Francisco Bay area, as it contains Putah Creek , the closest trout stream to the hordes of anglers living in the City.

I don’t fish it much as the Lake has my full attention, and the mile or two of creek open to the public is overrun with anglers even on weekdays. As it is home to New Zealand Mud Snails, I cut a wide berth just to avoid inadvertently tracking the little pests into the pristine unclean of my local watershed.

Putah_Creek_Wragg2

The Wragg Fire burnt everything west of Putah Creek and Lake Berryessa proper. Those of you familiar with the area probably remember the Butts Fire (2014) burnt everything east of the creek, so the entire watershed has now been mown clean.

The picture above shows the creek just below the Canyon Creek Resort stretch. All the visible slopes have been burnt over, and the foliage is turning color as the trees die from the fire that swept through their understory enroute to the crest.

Dense timber typically burns quite a bit hotter and vaporizes both grass and trees, some of that can be seen down near the creek as well as the ridges above – like the dark patch on the ridgeline to the right, above.

Winter rains coupled with little remaining vegetation can push a significant amount of sediment into the creek, as there’s nothing to hold it in place on the slopes above. With both sides burnt over, and the rumor of a drought breaking El Nino effect possible this winter, the creek may be in for a slug of sediment.

Warm as Bathwater

Lake Berryessa proper is as warm as bath water. This being the tail end of August and the temperatures running fairly constant 90’s, any bite on the lake is short lived, but the lure picking has made up for the lack of fish, and each trip yields a pocket full of treasures.

lure_eating_log

This is typical of what I’m stumbling across. Hip boots give me an edge over the beer drinking bank crowd, as their eyes start to defocus after 10AM, and us sober types can edge them out with our ninja-like dumpster diving skills.

It’s akin to swiping golf balls off the golf course, instinctively you’re tensing up waiting to hear some fellow claim, “I just lost that, it’s mine!”

Despite the warm water and sputtering bite, pre-dawn is always worth a few fish. I am still fishing 20-30 foot deep, as the fish are preferring the colder temperatures that come with depth rather than panting in tepid near the surface.

berryessa_largemouth

I have been working on an amalgamation of fishing types to score consistently, something I’ll reveal once I get a few patterns refined better than they are now. Note the low light of the above picture, as most of the fish are coming between 6AM – 8AM, and when the light is on the water, the bite dies promptly.

I did manage to find a model forage fish for me to duplicate. A bit worse for wear, but it looks like a Shad (Threadfin?) of some type. Most the surface activity tends to be on the Northern side of points extending into the lake, and to stand and watch will reveal schools of bait and bass taking advantage of their density.

Berryessa_Shad

Once full daylight is on the water and the party barges and ski boats launch, the waves from their wakes will raise plumes of mud in the water off these selfsame points of land. The bait head for the discolored water as the predators can no longer see them distinctly. It’s akin to fighter planes using clouds for cover.

While streams and their ecology seem easier to catalog, I find the same skills in observation and the frequency of visitation are just as useful teasing the lifecycles of larger water. Come Spring, when the bite lasts all morning, it’ll be important to note those cloudy plumes hold the forage fish, and pulling a marabou streamer out of the dirty water and into view … should yield big benefits.

… and if it doesn’t, we’ll continue to add to our lure collection …

The Achilles Heel to any modern marvel

As I read through the latest ICAST summary on how technology is improving fishing, my initial reaction was very predictable … like all codgers before me I snorted and swore mighty oaths as to how the Planet was going to Hell …

image… then I remembered doing that same dance when they elected “Gee-Dubya” the second time, and as the Planet hadn’t ended abruptly then – I started seeing some of the humor in all of this.

The lure of Technology has always been our passion of what it might mean rather than what it actually does well. While it may have obsolesced Bobby Fischer and the Abacus, it certainly hasn’t yielded the Paperless Office – nor has it stopped AT&T from sending me a bill for one penny, when the cost to mail it was 43 cents.

I suppose my generation, and those before me, sought the Great Outdoors and the Manly Pursuits as a means of “unplugging” from kids, spouses, and careers, so it’s not surprising that I sputter and flirt with the apoplectic at the thought of requiring a cell phone to catch a trout.

Whether it’s Elon Musk and his LEO’s (low earth orbit satellites) or Google and their stratospheric balloons, it won’t be too much longer until every crevasse and canyon has tolerable reception.  Flexible solar cells are commonplace already, so SIMM’s and Columbia will jump at the opportunity to add some thick, hot, layer of silica into our vest and hat,  so we can perspire profusely while looking fetchingly urbane …

We’ll have drones with GoPro’s scanning the surface for working fish,  and lures that make noises like trout copulating

image

… and with all this technology and water-resistant innovation, we’ll get to look forward to interruption from timewasting buddies, political action groups, census takers, and our asshole pal that said he was going to go … and then flaked when his wife reminded him of his familial responsibilities.

“Hey Bob, catch any?”

“Ted – hey, can you call back later, man … the hatch is in full swing and I … fuck, missed one … “

“I knew it. I knew you weren’t going to catch anything, glad I stayed home – Oh, later Man … wife’s calling … [click]”

Rather than being incensed at the notion of having an “electronic leash” tying me to the mundane, the source of my mirth being  despite all the advances in technology and aerospace materials that enable this modern communication miracle, the incredibly important message that interrupts your evening hatch remains unchanged for codgers and millennials alike :

“What’s up?”

Nada. What’re you doing?”

Nothing. Hey you got any dope?”

Technology may well revolutionize fishing and life in general, but human nature and timewasting pals are impervious to both megabits and megabytes, and are Kryptonite to any technological Superman.

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 …”

Part 2: A couple of backhoes and some dampness, right?

Arnold Palmer made a handsome living designing golf courses, and were you lucky enough to get drawn for Powerball and decided not to take the kids out of school, opting instead for a moderate lifestyle replete with small wineries or something private on the lot behind the house, exactly what would it contain?

Considering a large farm complex already owns backhoes and Caterpillars and those skilled in their use, any lull in tomato growth would give you the opportunity to reposition those assets for your dream pond.

A couple thousand gallons of diesel later, and you’ve scraped a big hole in the ground, but it’s dawning on you that’s the easy part …

Above_Pond

Now you’ve got to decide how deep it is, how much will evaporate in a single season, do you want to fish it from shore, do you plant trees, do you want to wade it or use a float tube, and what kind of fish can it support – and how many?

I took the opportunity to interview the fellow responsible, as he was a friendly cuss and proud of his work. This was his third such project, about 1.5 miles in circumference and nearly 12 feet deep at the deepest edge.

No naturally occurring water sources, not large enough to require concrete or reinforcement, just a simple earthen dam as recipient for all the dirt carved out from behind, and a simple spillway system allowing any runoff to meander through a short natural area prior to finding the tomato canal below.

Well water fed the organic tomatoes next door, and a simple ditch dug between the closest well and the pond ensured the area could be refilled as needed (for the price of additional diesel).

With a hole in the ground and a water source you’ve got a muddy liability that in no way resembles a premier fishery, so you’ve got to add weeds, tules, trees, brush, shade, sunken timber, underwater topography, broken branches, brush piles, duck weed, milfoil, algae, grass, and everything else Mother Nature provides naturally.

… and note we’re nowhere near adding fish yet …

pond1

Everything in these pictures, every spec of growth, planted by design to provide the eventual final shade pattern for the water. Every grass bed, every tule clump, every willow seedling, and every tree bordering the periphery, hand selected for the shade it’ll provide and the stabilization it brings to the machined earthworks.

pond2

… every finger pier constructed with its wooden chair and steps leading to the water’s edge. All of them carefully staked off at the high water mark to ensure each pier at constant height to the waterline, and every plant placed in the area chosen to stabilize the dirt walking area so wind erosion wouldn’t erode the topsoil off each bulwark.

The owner is in his eighties and losing mobility, so the design incorporates the ability to seat yourself in productive water with minimal effort. Wooden steps and hand rails allow access to the water’s edge, and seating is provided at each cleared fishing area.

pond3

The dead timber is all staked to the bottom to hold it in place, and branches are sawed halfway through then broken to provide branch snarls in the water. Broken but not severed so they hold their position until years of decay eventually dissolves them.

pond4

After a year or two of hard work on the banks and shade, covering the bottom in life-giving weed is child’s play. Weeds provide the dissolved oxygen in the absence of running water, yet controlling them is not so simple, given that water level, temperature, and ambient sunlight change their growth patterns seasonally.

During summer as evaporation lowers the lake and water temperatures rise, algae and weeds blossom, and quickly cover the impoundment unless treated chemically.

The proceeds of our paid trip were to assist in defraying the costs of another application of weed killer. Dispensed manually, the chemical operates only in the areas its applied, allowing you to sculpt and channelize weed beds.

Bass love to lurk and ambush, and providing the cover to predate is part of a healthy fish ecosystem.

pondpoppy

Wildflowers follow each earthen finger out to its seating area. The flowers anchor the topsoil to the structure as it’s prone to erosion. Each earthwork has a mixture of tules, saplings, and flowers to provide wind cover, initial anchor of soil, and then the long term benefits of reinforcing tree roots, and the wind protection offered by its canopy, and shade.

Now that banks offer cover and shade is available, and a mix of weeds line the bottom, you can introduce bugs and forage fish. Mosquito fish to control the mosquito larva and provide forage for anything larger, then Bluegill to eat those – each introduction needing permits and the blessing of Fish & Game. If you have a creek feeding it you have one set of problems, and if you have a wetlands it’s another set of triplicate. If your thing empties into someone else’s thing, it grows even worse.

… and then finally, when all of that stuff is living and thriving, when you learn the delicate dance between water, its temperature, its life-giving carpet, dissolved oxygen, shade, and tasty fish and bugs to eat, you can introduce the Quarry.

Tomorrow – Part III The part you’re salivating over, the fishing

Cut, Slash, and Riposte

I’ve assumed anything I can learn about fish serves me in good stead, and anything known on their feeding habits or behavior will assist me in seducing them to take my fly.

I’ll confess that I’ve wondered just what the “bill” of a billfish is used for – given I‘ve never seen some dolphin or unwary scuba diver skewered prominently on their beak.

Scientists suggest that the bill of a billfish is actually used as a sword, by first inserting the bill into a cluster of tightly packed baitfish, then slashing through the school to wound and disable.

Billfish uses bill to cripple baitfish via slashing motion of head

The above Youtube video shows the action of insertion and then the subsequent slash, and the trailing bits of scale and baitfish that result.

At least I’ll know what to expect when I deploy my “Alabama Rig” in blue water.

Harry Potter’s wand would be hexagonal or quadrate

magicI called it “selective accreditation,” as it is frequently employed by parents to point out despite paying for your college education, next to their life-long accumulation of wisdom – you are still an infant.

Fishing, thankfully, is loaded with similar magics and credentials of convenience.

While fishing at Lake Berryessa, before my ill fated rib mash, I found myself pondering how fishing, science, and magic shared an uneasy relationship, how credentials are granted and just as quickly taken away, and like the movies, a contemporary angler must suspend disbelief to ply his craft with a straight face …

… and as I scuttled around the edges of the lake watching for fish and snagged lures, I encountered the familiar five ounce tuna cans – all of which met their fate at the hands of a knife wielding sadist.

Tuna being an easy chum agent, given its ready availability and oily nature. When stabbed repeatedly with a knife and thrown into the lake will dribble its oily goodness and purportedly draw fish to the area.

At least that’s the scientific reasoning. The movie-magic-disbelief relied on gelatinous ground, as if scent of the oily Tuna is the draw, and tuna being a blue water fish found only in the ocean, and this being fresh water, how is anyone sure it’s attractive to freshwater fish?

An average trip to a supermarket can produce a half dozen edible items that smell to us like rotting something-or-other, gym socks, or much worse. Considering neither chum nor quarry has crossed paths with one another, who’s to say we didn’t accidentally pick the Limburger of oily scents?

… and if five ounces of chum is able to draw fish, what about the gallon of fuel leaking out of your bilge, the cigarette butt you flung idly into your wake, or the ounce and a half of room temperature beer you poured into the water prior to cracking something colder?

Toss in all the asphalt-fossil-fuel scent that washes into the lake when the roadway above is rained on – the oils from transmissions and crankcases, the little bits of humanity jettisoned out of car windows that with each downpour edge closer to the lake, and scent … suddenly gets really muddy.

Five ounces being enough to draw fish closer, but how does that compare with a couple hundred pounds of brake dust, powdered radial tire, and a thousand other manmade scents entering the lake via the rivulet behind you?

I’d like to buy into the science, but I think even the science depends on magic.

I’ve never seen a saltwater fisherman filch a big knot of Powerbait onto a 3/0 stainless and fling the combination into a school of stripers, nor have I seen the pier fishing crowd use salmon eggs for perch, so why isn’t the converse true? …

… and if the pier fisherman chuckles, insisting “ … that’s silly, perch ain’t ever seen a salmon egg …” can’t we make the same case for a landlocked pen-raised trout?

Historians agree that science and magic play a role in the maturation of society, which is why both are found in every society on every continent, however remote. Science is the ability to explain natural phenomena, and magic (often called religion) explains all else.

For anglers, science is boring and egg headed – which is why we skipped Biology in High School, and why should the pendulum swing too far towards the explainable, we flock to the indefinable. We know our sport is steeped in magic, and we know it to be the true source of fishing’s awesomeness.

Anglers use the term “luck” to describe that which cannot be explained, for us “luck” and magic are the same.

Magic is why we believe fiberglass is better than cane, as the science can’t give us a convincing rationale. Why graphite is better than glass, boron is better than both, and if it’s ribbed with titanium, or the blank has unsanded scrim, or is light, heavy, long, or short, has raised the performance bar yet again …

Unfortunately even with rods that cast themselves we fail to let the rod practice during the off season and tie the same wind knots regardless of the boons of technology.

Science follows along obligingly and reminds us that Boron is a metal filament (and what idiot would wave that in a lightning storm), and we skip  those pages in the Fly Shop catalog to find the next unfounded rumor – GMO modified cane that excretes carbon filaments as a byproduct of photosynthesis.

Eco-friendly awesome, until we realize Monsanto holds the patent …

Fishing stores have pandered equally to science and wizardry. They delight in selling us snake oil in as many flavors as colors, and do so with the same rhetoric used by drug dealers; merely providing a service to a clientele that would buy from someone else if not them. While many items will prove unfounded and silly a few years from now, retail’s role is simple pimpage, and as sales and “hotness” are proportional, science provides them empty spots on shelves to stock some new eye-scorching magical goodness.

Science suggests that were you able to devote adequate resources to research and were able to explain all phenomena each angler would be successful on every outing. Anglers know should science gain an ascendancy over magic and we were consistently successful we’d despise the sport, as our successes were now ordinary and no longer a testament to suffering and Manhood.

“Matching the Hatch” gains a brief upper hand for a couple of decades, until mottled and natural becomes ordinary, and the pendulum swings back to married snippets of swan and Indian Crow, and iridescent opalescent, and the colorful magics take over.

Thankfully.

And when the latest periodical insists I dump everything for its Ultra-Violet imbued equivalent, and I confirm that scientists have yet to decide whether my quarry has rods or cones, semi-receptors, or is blind as a bat, my thoughts turn to eBAY and how I’ll slurp your castoffs as if by magic.

Ensuring that despite Sirens attempting to lure me to one camp or the other, I trod the path of the balance and avarice, ensuring my hoard of laughables are buried under a stack of recent purchases and no longer visible.

You’ve been with the Boldness, now nap with the Oldness

guide_serviceScience suggests bold and aggressive trout are likely to dominate their peers, and being carefree extroverts, have the highest likelihood of eating our flies and lures, therefore enjoying a very short dominance …

… and those same scientists have inadvertently bred for aggressive, outgoing, social trout, used to rubbing shoulders in concrete pens, ensuring great numbers of them will be needed to guarantee species survival, as they lack the wily, shy nature of their wild counterparts.

Science also suggests boldness is inheritable – and should the aggressive, outgoing, fearless trout be lucky enough to mount something other than a loose fold of your wader leg, their progeny will also be bold, outgoing extroverts.

It is only reasonable that the last couple hundred years of angling and our relish for killing anything of size, has selected for shy, finicky, and introverted fish. Better yet, similar logic should hold for Mankind, given the bold social extroverts were likely the first ones out of the trench, and war, plague, and saturated fat, has seen fit to thin the ranks of extroverts and ensure species survival lies with “wild” or shy types.

Oracle: I’d ask you to sit down, but, you’re not going to anyway. And don’t worry about the vase.
Neo: What vase?
[Neo turns to look for a vase, and as he does, he knocks over a vase of flowers, which shatters on the floor.]
Oracle: That vase.
Neo:
I’m sorry–
Oracle: I said don’t worry about it. I’ll get one of my kids to fix it.
Neo: How did you know?
Oracle: Oh, what’s really going to bake your noodle later on is, would you still have broken it if I hadn’t said anything?

… and is the successful angler so because boldness catches aggressive, and rushing to the creek forgetting to lock the car door, or checking for your license, or remembering lunch, catches more fish than us reserved fellows that use turn signals in traffic, and don’t “low hole” those that arrived before us?

Flies and tackle have certainly become bold as they’ve jettisoned somber and become bright and colorful again. Gone are the drab earth colors and camouflage finishes of the shy, stalking angler – replaced by tinted aluminum and the harsh hues of mini-mall neon.

Fly fishing periodicals are obviously catering to extroverts. Their pages depict an incessant litany of fashion, exotic locales, and eye-searing colors, suggesting boldness and audacity is unaffected by mounting debt, weakening economy, nor the indiscriminant accumulation of gear.

Perhaps their readers have read of their fate and are aware that continually low-holing the riffle, borrowing flies from your pals, or relying on Malaysian 747’s to get to those exotic locales, often ends badly – and both accumulated debt and dominance are erased in the resulting mushroom cloud.

It’s no secret that successful anglers stand little chance of reproduction, given their penchant for inclement conditions, incessant mosquitoes, and taint that follows all blood sports. Left to the female of the species, our extroverts have little chance of passing on their boldness given the only thing romantically linked to fly fishermen are beer and the Law.

… and wardens, being stalkers and introverts, aren’t liable to be attracted to boldness unless it is out-of-season, over limit or undersized.

And all this time I’d assumed fly fishing was merely a place for us antisocial types to pick on things smaller than us. Now I know us wily old guys are critical to the sport, as the outgoing extroverts are systematically eliminated it falls to us to propagate the species.

Which explains our relish for making fools of ourselves attempting to ignite the interest of something half our age … and why our numbers continue to dwindle …

Your choice of sides being handgun and adrenaline

KFC_Science200You snorted in indignation when I mentioned it the first time. Abandoning our loser enviro-lobby whose message is not at all effective at stemming Global Warming, and out of touch with youth and their growing Enviro-Apathy, and cough up the last of our bucks so the scientists at KFC can save our sport.

… that’s right, the K-e-n-t-u-c-k-y C-o-l-o-n-e-l saves fly fishing …

Scientists are coming to the realization that all of us that inhabit the seven continents are losing their culinary identity, and are opting to eat the same fatty, breaded, deep fried, artery-blocking crap we love so dearly.

While that’s no call to arms by any stretch – what is a growing problem is that fatty-breaded and deep fried needs specific climates to grow in abundance. Think burgers and beef – and piles of shredded cardboard and sawdust McDonald must feed them prior to making them a Hamburger. “Cardboard and Sawdust” isn’t necessarily as plentiful in Antarctica as it is in Colorado, and if everyone requires the same type of climate to ensure their supply of burger … we’re talking WW III and the Big Thermonuclear Cook-off.

Species of any kind being extincted makes any scientist blanch, so increasing the vitamins and nutrients of the fatty & breaded would is  preferably to deploying a few dozen armored divisions to secure the grassy steppes of Mongolia.

“More people are consuming more calories, protein and fat, and they rely increasingly on a short list of major food crops, like wheat, maize and soybean, along with meat and dairy products, for most of their food,” said lead author Colin Khoury, a scientist at the Colombia-based International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), which is a member of the CGIAR Consortium. “These foods are critical for combating world hunger, but relying on a global diet of such limited diversity obligates us to bolster the nutritional quality of the major crops, as consumption of other nutritious grains and vegetables declines.”

excerpt from PhysOrg, March 3rd 2014

… and what they’ve validated by fiddling with the DNA of wheat and other crops have them poised to fiddle with the double helix of damn near everything that graces wax paper…

So, I’m thinking …Trout are tasty.

There are a few modifications I’d like to see. Heat resist would be good, eats Didymo and craps saddle hackle would be better, larger breasts, increased muscle mass, big fuggin teeth …

… line snapping, air leaping … survives in warm, cold, or raw sewage, capable of taking a man’s finger off at the joint, kind of fish …

The frail nature of our existing foe has removed the woodsy nature of us Outdoorsmen, leaving us prone to infiltration by latte swilling Metrosexuals. A slimy and dangerous opponent would revitalize the sport, allowing us to add matching high caliber side arms, metal mesh accessories, and we could sweep the decks of Puce polo shirts, the apres-fishing latte, and most of the “Ralph Lauren” crowd that have weakened our ranks.