Sentimentality and Fishing…

I honestly believe that the sentimental aspect of fishing is what keeps me going. Sure, there are social media posts that have the “wow factor” that lights a fire in the imagination, but equally important is the memories of times and places and people I have fished with in the past. Trips with my father to fish for trout in Colorado, or walleye and smallmouth bass in Minnesota and Canada. Local trips with my family and friends. All are special and memorable in some way.

I sit here surrounded by the technical marvels of fishing gear. I don’t do “ugly” and as such, all of my fishing gear has an aesthetic aspect that appeals to my soul. I have reels that are almost 100 years old and some that are fresh off the line. None of them are displeasing to the eye. Some are a perfect blend of current technology and classic design while others are true classics.

It is left up to us to imbue these technological wonders and craftsmanship with mind, body, spirit and ethics to accomplish our individual goals and ideals. And I know that I’ve done it right when time slips away and 5 hours of fishing have passed, yet I feel like I just stepped into the river mere minutes ago.

The gratitude I feel for each fish I catch and the respect given to the quarry. The shared moments of success or failure with companions. The river is a metaphor of life, yet I tap into it to recharge my essence, time slows just a bit and the rat-race is forgotten. Memories are all that are left and its enough for me. Unlike Maclean who was “haunted by waters,” I find that I am healed by waters. And I relish every second of it.

Clarification.

In hindsight, on my last post the title seems a bit dubious. I just wanted to clarify that it really wasn’t an abject failure and I plan to continue to learn the Euro nymphing method.

Anytime I’m able to get out and fish is a WIN to me. And if I’m able to learn something new, it’s even better. I’m not going to make excuses for my poor choice of words and I should have slowed down and put more thought into the title. I just didn’t catch any fish on the nymphing rod and was kind of bummed. Lesson learned. I was going to change the title but have decided to let it stand.

And interestingly enough, I didn’t get frustrated while attempting to learn how to Euro nymph! Quite the opposite. It was actually quite fun and it brought out my “inner nerd” as I contemplated how to get better and what I needed to change. I just need to adapt this style to the type of smallmouth fishing we do.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more. Sincerely, Velox Seeker

Biding My Time…

With the weather being what it is…I decided to get a couple of projects done. First up was to upgrade the bushings/bearing on my Shimano Stradic C3000. Again, I ordered hybrid ceramic bearings from Plaig Bearings out of Australia.

My Largemouth Bass Finesse reel
Top to bottom: Replaced the spool support bushing, the rear oscillation gear bushing and the line roller bearing.

Next up was new jig heads. After fishing last weekend, I decided to try and find some heavier jig heads to get down into the deeper pools. I still wanted a short shank hook since these fish (Neosho strain smallmouth bass) don’t get very big. I found the Owner Cultiva JH-89 4.5gram jig heads and ordered some. I also picked up a few packages of the Owner Cultiva JH-86’s in 3.0grams. We normally fish 2.2gram jig heads.

Heavier weight!
Trying out a new method to carry my jig heads.

I enjoy fly fishing but some days the wind is really bad so I switch to conventional spinning gear. Being relegated now to fishing on the weekends, I like to maximize my time on the water. It isn’t a big deal to throw a pack rod and reel into my pack just in case.

I had planned on getting these projects done yesterday but when my Dad sent me a message about our local weather alert, I rushed out to get all of the mowing done before the rains came. So I got up early this morning to get some of these done.

Next project on the list was leaders. Store bought tapered leaders are great…I just don’t like paying their asking price. So I generally tie my own. Years ago I bought this Mangrove Leader Wallet and have never looked back. This has been one of the best additions to my fly fishing gear and I use it all the time.

It has a zipper on the end that accesses a section that goes the full length of the leader wallet. That’s where I keep my cheat sheets, sighter materials, mucilin, nippers etc etc. I love this thing!

If I could be a Super Hero, I think I would choose the name…”the Piddler” since I quite often find myself “piddling” around with my fishing gear. Tweaking this or modifying that. Countless hours are spent doing just that, in the hopes of creating something better or more effective. And I know I’m not alone!

See you on the next one…

More Practice…

This morning I got out early and started practicing my fly casting. I feel that one can never practice enough. And since there was very little wind this early in the day, why not practice?

I started with a Fenwick Fenlite 5wt which is a fast action rod. I do not feel that my casting ability is up to the level where I can achieve the full benefits of a rod like this. So I switched over to a Redington Classic Trout 9ft 5wt which has a medium fast action that is more suited to my casting style.

I am really beginning to like this rod.

And before anyone starts calling me out on practicing over gravel…it’s the straightest, most open place I have to practice on. Also, I don’t throw out my old fly lines, but rather save them for practice use.

Remembering the lessons my Dad taught me when first learning to cast…I set up a feed bucket and began practicing. To me, accuracy is more important than distance so I focus on that. In time I will increase the distance.

First distance is 30ft…I moved up to take the picture.

After about 30 minutes I was able to put approximately 3 out of 10 casts into the bucket. The rest were either over and past or right beside. I am trying to focus on accuracy, minimal effort and consistency.

Success!

I’ve probably watched every Lefty Kreh casting video on YouTube which to me is a good thing. That legend could CAST. But everybody is different so it takes time to develop a style you are consistent and happy with which is why practice is so important. I hope to take what I learn to the river and fine tune it some more.

And I agree with Lefty… “clocks are for telling time”

WIND…

I apologize for not posting anything to the blog that was fishing related. We have been dealing with high winds for the past 6 days which has made fishing almost impossible in our area. Average wind speeds have been around 17mph with gusts up to 48mph and after this next round of storms moves through tomorrow, we are hoping that it will calm down some.

Below is a quick video I took from our front deck a few minutes ago. Maybe it will give you an idea of the conditions preventing us from getting out and going fishing.

TROOPER…2009?-22MAR2022. R.I.P

He was a good boy!

(This dog was abandoned at a campground. We have no firm idea of his actual age and the vet estimated him to be about 4 years of age, hence the question mark.) It was the end of August and temperatures were over 100F. We noticed him hanging around the bathroom facilities while the entire campground was empty except for us. We put out a bowl of water for him and hoped somebody would return for him.

My wife and I were there to do an ultralight backpacking trip and were staying one night at the campground before starting our hike. This dog wandered over to our tent and slept beside it all night. Early the next morning we didn’t see him and after putting out water for him, we started on our way. We ran into the camp host on our way to the trailhead and asked him about the dog. He said people dumped dogs there quite often and that if this one wasn’t gone by the end of the day, he’d take care of it. We knew what that meant and didn’t like it.

About 2 miles into our hike I heard something coming through the undergrowth and stopped to see what it was…it was the dog. My wife and I looked at each other because we knew we were in for a long hike and were concerned that the dog wouldn’t make it. But considering his alternatives, we opted to let him hike with us.

Needless to say, this hike turned into a disaster. All of the watering holes had dried up as we kept hiking from one to the next hoping for water. With the temperatures hovering around 105F we were burning through water faster than expected considering we were sharing with the dog. At the 18 mile mark I began to develop issues with the iliotibial bands in my legs, which made bending my knees very painful.

The 2-mile long forestry road we used to hike up to the scenic overlook.

We had a quick pow-wow and decided to call an end to the hike. We decided to hike 2 miles up the mountain to a scenic overlook and hopefully catch a ride back to the campground. At this point, I was walking like Frankenstein and carrying the dog the last mile to the overlook. His paws were raw from the rocky trail.

My wife reached the overlook first and waited for us. As she saw us coming up the hill, it must have been a sad sight because she decided to jog the 5 miles along the highway back to the campground to retrieve the car and come back for us. Bless her! I couldn’t have done what she did.

On the ride home, the dog was curled up on the back seat sound asleep. We talked for awhile and decided to give him the name “Trooper” since he soldiered on and covered the 20 miles with me. He was a tough little dog!

When we got home, we could tell he was grateful for a meal, a bath and a soft bed. I’ve never had a dog that snored as loud as this little guy did.

He got along well with the two other stray pups that our daughter brought home, all the while, we were questioning our sanity and decisions.

The Three Amigos
Trooper had a knack for always being comfortable.
He even made Zip feel welcome.

As a family, we mourn his passing and take solace that we tried to give him love and a better life than his previous owners. We had 9 good years with him and know that he’s in a better place, free from infirmities and old age. He was truly a member of our family, a gift out of the wilderness. He always greeted us at the door with his tail wagging and was constantly by our side. He kept a watchful eye out the window for anything out of place and alerted us to everything unusual with a bark that was way above his weight-class. You were a good boy Trooper and we miss you, Love Mom and Dad.

Expectation Management…

This is my Kryptonite. I have failed so many times when managing my expectations. I plan something to the nth degree and nothing goes according to plan. Then I get really frustrated and sometimes angry which doesn’t do me any good.

I have made plans to recon fishing areas only to be informed that “we” have other plans for the weekend. I tend to just withdraw and stop making plans for awhile. And that’s not healthy.

I need to figure out a better way to manage my expectations. I don’t want to use the military style PACE plan. Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency to where I have to develop 4 separate plans for a single outing. Obviously this isn’t a life or death scenario for me.

Perhaps I should just focus on priorities and effective communication. Maybe I should just create a “rough outline” and go with the flow. Maybe I should just step back and postpone it. Or decide to go it alone.

So many factors go into a simple scouting trip. Weather is a critical factor in my area. As an example, we were in the 50’s on Thursday but received 3-4 inches of snow on Friday with temps in the teens to 20’sF. And we will be up near 80F later in the week. These narrow windows of decent weather make you squeeze stuff in when you can.

My wife has to return to her office after 2 years for no good reason other than a ” because I said so.” I kind of figured that a road trip might do us some good only to realize she wanted to relax and hang out on her last weekend. Frustrating but understandable.

However, I do need to figure this out and get better at managing my expectations. If you have any suggestions feel free to share them and thank you for reading this.

Back to Work. Warning…graphic images ahead.

My how things have changed. At first, the company I work for would not honor any accomodations. But now, they will. So I went back to work this past Tuesday. I still feel that I have a long way to go before I’m fully healed. I am making progress and hope to be ready for Spring fishing.

One week after surgery.
Elbow as of 24 Feb 2022.
My hand as of 24 Feb 2022.

It is definitely good to see my co-workers and get back into the swing of things. But on the other-hand, I could enjoy being retired!

I had so many plans to go fishing last week but the wind was really a problem. Up to 30+ mph out of the South and then switched to 35+ mph out of the North. Literally 4 days straight of high winds. And you know what that means…more limbs and branches to burn.

Yet another burn pile. 19 Feb 2022.

Anyway, this is just a quick update of what’s been happening. The wife DID decide to buy a Daiwa Iprimi Ultralight rod and I plan on doing a post about that soon. Take care out there..

Some Decisions are Easy…

I have decided to cancel my Canadian fishing trip to Ontario this summer. I have also decided to cancel ALL future fishing trips to Ontario.

There are plenty of amazing places to fish so I will choose one in the US and spend my money here as opposed to Canada. Several of my friends are doing the same thing.

I’m sure you can read between the lines and agree or disagree, that’s fine either way. But this decision is mine and I’ve made it.

Stay safe out there…

Deletions…

I wrote the 4th Episode of Binge Thinking this morning and deleted it shortly after posting it. In fact, I’ve deleted the other Binge Thinking Episodes as well. They don’t really fit into the scope of my blog and nobody gives a crap about what I think anyway. My apologies for any confusion regarding a notification and then not being able to find it.

Why I Don’t Own a Boat…

It’s because of the expense…pure and simple. I think the prices for boats are ridiculous. And I’d have to purchase a vehicle to tow it.

I’ve owned boats in the past and always enjoyed tinkering with them. Doing modifications and making them more efficient for my needs.

I look at my friends new boat and the new vehicle he bought to tow it and I just can’t justify that kind of expense at this point of my life. I don’t even want to go fishing with him in it. Multiple fish finders front and back and I can see him staring at the locator all day like people are glued to their cellphones. No thanks. I jokingly asked him how much that first bass was going to cost and received a death glare in response.

And since we tend to fish on the weekends, the lakes are way too crowded and it seems like there is a tournament of some sorts every weekend as well. I have no desire to do 60mph across a choppy lake or deal with the “cluster****” that we call boat ramps.

And with the unpredictable weather we have here…if I owned a boat, I’m sure it would sit unused more than I’d like.

I’ll stick to wading streams and rivers wherever I can find them. It’s less crowded, more quiet and slower paced.