25 September 2011

Is Fly Fishing Manly, What?

 Every blog has a search page and one of the interesting things to look at is what searches turn up your blog.  Today I found this:

I can't think of anything more manly than fly fishing.  A fly fisher is a provider, an outdoorsman, a naturalist, a nomad, a sophisticant, a romantic.  As for myself, I once received the Elenor Longman Batchelder Award for Industry, Loyalty and Manliness.  I am the VI, of VI.  I travel, eat meat, wear bow ties, hold doors and call my mother on Sundays.  And fly fish.

These are the glorified images of manliness.  What being manly really is is far bigger than diet or hobby.  In fact,
 manliness is changing, and in a way reverting to a lost definition.  American manliness was defined during the industrial revolution when iron workers were hundreds of feet in the air building our nation's cities, when coal miners were buried working to power or needs, when car manufacturers we men, when soldiers were men, when men smoked Marlboros.  In that time men were building American, not because it was manly, but because that's what was needed.  As manliness increasingly feels lost in our society images of the antique man are becoming more prevalent.  Advertisements for Kettle One Vodka, Dos Equis, Monday Night Football, and shows like Swamp Loggers, Biker Build Off, Survivor Man, Man vs. Wild, and so many more target the absence of manliness in the society.  Building has become Chinese, Vodka makes be think of high school girls, and tv is for the bored and lonely.  But we don't want it so, and these are some of the things that make us think manliness is something other than doing what has to be done; they make us think the old manliness is still around.  In fact manliness is not here.  Doing the dirty work, the inglorious tasks the make the societal clock tick are not getting done.  What if that was seen as manly?

So, Yes, Fly Fishing is manly, as long as you do what must get done at home, in your community, the dirty stuff that early men did in the early days.  It wasn't glorious then and isn't glorious now.  As long as you do what has to get done, on your own time go fly fishing.

And again I will refer you to The Art of Manliness for more on the subject and P:T.

And This:

To be of use
by Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls.
    I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
    who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
    who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
    who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
    The work of the world is common as mud.
    Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
    But the thing worth doing well done
    has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
    Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
    Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
    but you know they were made to be used.
    The pitcher cries for water to carry
    and a person for work that is real. 

"To be of use" by Marge Piercy © 1973, 1982.
From CIRCLES ON THE WATER © 1982 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc

23 September 2011

Playing the Blues

It is often over looked, but New England, that provincial corner of the US known for it's yankee way, thick tradition, Ivy Leagues and maple syrup sports some of the best Salt Water fishing off the shores of  the USA.  New England's industry was built on fish, cod mostly but haddock, scup, swordfish and lobster as well.  With the demise of the commercial fishery, whether correlated or not, sport fish have gained recognition and attract pursuers to the North East waters.

Striped Bass are the king but there are others in the court.  False Albacore, most notably, along with Blue Fish, Tuna, Black Sea Bass, Swordfish and others.  The word has been that the Ablies are in thick and they are a rush on the fly, to be sure.  That being said the weather has not been favorable and should continue to piss on us for the foreseeable future.  I took out the MaryLou and with her low profile and short length I was content to stay within the break water off Watch Hill, RI.  Birds were active, the wind was steady and the tide was outgoing.  Not the most favorable conditions for a day on the water.  I put in some time and shrugged the frustration of not being able to go where the fish were, beyond the protection of the point and the breakwater, but managed to land and few nonetheless.

This gaudy bait pattern is reminiscent of a coho fly out of my AK box

Blue Fish don't have the sport fish aura but they are fun, blitz hard, and
are eager to please

Some don't like to eat Blue Fish but as for me, it's tasty.  It can be a little oily but that keeps it moist on the grill.  Some simple seasoning and a side of couscous, and a Narragansett Beer.

Stormy weather over the sound
Tying bait patterns doesn't require the finesse and dexterity demanded by midge patterns and dries.  They are bold, even gaudy at times (see above), but do take a certain type of attention.  Shape, size and color all matter but just like all fly angling the presentation, and in the salt, the retrieve is what separates the catches from the catch-nots.  I picked up some Enrico Puglisi Fibers at River & Riptide Angler in Coventry, RI (great place by the way) and have fallen in love again.  Paired with Yak Hair, Krystal Flash, Flashabou, Eyes, Deer Hair, whatever, it ties and fishes great.  At $5.99 it better.

Home-made rainbow anchovy pattern, as long as it looks
good and has eyes it'll work

EP Mullet patten

I swear by Black after dark.  Stripers love it; I love it

Tying station, if you haven't used EP Fibers for bait patterns, pick some up
Sharpies can add barring and gills of these patterns easily.  I carry a few for on-the-water alterations.

Check out Elliot's blog for some Albie action: eliotjenkinsfishing. (He's got a bigger boat.)  A new comer to NE, he's making it happen.  GreasyBeaksFlyFishing.

19 September 2011

There's a benefit to being back on the East Coast this time of year.  Stipers are running and word is the False Albacore are in thick.  I've made it out in the newly acquired Marylou a few times to no avail but last weekend that all changed.

She's not much but she's all mine

The Marylou and her casting platform

Narrows River, Narraganset, RI

Go Black after dark

A benefit of a boat, bare feet and lots of room

First salt fish on a fly, Striped Bass, RI

Stripers get hungry after dark

12 September 2011

Sticks and Stones

It's not often I get a terrible day of guiding.  In fact, it is very rare, almost never.  Days can be tough or low in numbers, low energy, nasty weather, general lack of luck, but never really awful.  But there are exceptions and this is the result of one of those really awful days.

X-Ray taken after surgery in Anchorage, AK

Taken 2 months after surgery
Lots of hardware 
Laid up on the couch in Hope, AK.
Ten days after surgery I was on the water again with my mother.  Blue bird day and plenty o' fish.

I still managed to get on the water once before leave the Kenai, 10 days after surgery

Farewell trout?

My mom got into some good fish

 Needless to say my guiding for the season is over.  But now my time is my own and recovery happens.  The East Coast (home) is laden with stripers so it is to the salt and away with the waders for a while.

07 September 2011

In The Flesh

When salmon carcass is thick in the river, when fishing for trophy trout, nothing beats the flesh fly.  It might be a bit bold or lacking in the sophistication many newer trout flies possess but it catches fish.

It's a quick and easy tie, and you'll want a box full

These are about as small as you'll see them.  Some are 4"-6" inches long, articulated and weighted, but these are considered micro.  They are simply wrapped rabbit fur strips in colors that mimic the rotting flesh that fills the waters.

You don't need to be a perfectionist to tie a flesh fly that will catch fish

Don't be surprised by high numbers of big trout