Archive for the 'Spey' Category
“Hey guys, look at my fish!”
Ahab, in keeping with a now-yearly theme, displays his mad skillz at Mexican Rainbow Juggling.
Matt gets his first steelhead. Matt is rather a bit pleased.
Epic photo by Buster’s pal Robin Hill at Brookside Hillbilly
Epic MAT! by Matt
Captain DirtBag with a fine specimen, taken on a hitched hairwing in a spring creek somewhere near Bozeangeles, MT.
Presentations by Mike Barand, Topher Browne, Jad Donaldson, Simon Gawesworth, Rick Kustich, Andrew Moy, Tim Rajeff and Patrick Ross.
Stuffis from Scott, Guideline, CND, CF Burkheimer, Airflo, Orvis, The Spey Company, Hardy, Temple Forks Outfitters, Echo, JP Ross, Beulah, Sage, Thomas & Thomas, Ross Reels, Castle Arms/Heritage Fly Rods, Hatch Reels, Loop Fly Fishing, Redington, Umpqua, Fishpond, Tibor, Buff, Skagit Master, Rio, Pro-Tube, Albright, Maui Jim, G Loomis, Galvan Reels and more.
Chow sponsored by the Oak Orchard Fly Shop.
Wear your hollerin’ pants, and join Glista and Wook for the Who Can Scam The Most Swag? contest, or enter the Wilford Brimley pageant. Laugh uproariously as Nick forgets to bring Wook a hat for the fourth year in a row. Enjoy charming Oswego County colloquialisms like “ain it?” and “see how
you are?” Also, dick jokes!
Official Linkus with directions and info on accommodations (though you can probably just sleep
in your van).
Anticipation noun (an-ti-sə-‘pā-shən) – the act of looking forward; pleasurable expectation; visualization of a future event or state.
“An emotion involving pleasure, excitement, and sometimes anxiety, fueled by expectation”
The seat-belt ding on the plane elicits an almost Pavlovian reaction from me every time I hear it in this particular airport. The mental fire lit over the course of a long, cold winter has become an inferno, and the menialities of trip prep, the handling of the rods and flies like icons and fetishes, have done nothing but fan the flames. Now that all obstacles have been overcome and I am about to hit the ground running, I have to fight down the overwhelming and startlingly involuntary urge to salivate.
Expectation noun (ek-spek-‘tā-shən) – the act or state of looking forward or anticipating; an awaiting.
“A belief that is centered on the future, and which may or may not be realistic. A less advantageous result gives rise to the emotion of disappointment. If something happens that is not at all expected it is a surprise.”
On the blurry ride up to the hop-in hole, the built-up stress and anxiety only add to the queasiness of a hung-over mind and body. As I wind the throttle up, I feel the break in the process – the visualization placebo that has been silently looping in my brain, running on last years collective memories and photographs, is about to be replaced by the crunch of gravel, the scream of gulls, and the vicious yank of this years first fish.
Disappointment noun (dis-ə-‘pỏint-mənt) – the act or an instance of failure to fulfill the expectations or wishes of; to defeat the fulfillment of (hopes, plans, etc.); thwart; frustrate.
“The feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations or hopes to manifest. Similar to regret, it differs in that a person feeling regret focuses primarily on the personal choices that contributed to a poor outcome, while a person feeling disappointment focuses on the outcome itself.”
Why does losing a big fish sting so much? The wailing, the gnashing of teeth, the despair and anguish over these brief connections and sudden departures, all for a fish you were going to release anyway. As the spray and smoke clear I replay the dance in my mind, searching for the fatal flaw in my technique, the disturbance in the force that leads to this dreaded outcome. I know they are just fish, and fish are supposed to be a bonus, but I’ve come too far too many times to keep believing that.
Tranquility noun (tran-‘kwi-lə-tē) – the quality or state of being free from agitation of mind or spirit; free from disturbance or turmoil; unvarying in aspect.
“Serenity of the body, thoughts and consciousness on the path to enlightenment. Interpretation of the word “tranquility” is typically linked to engagement with the natural environment.”
The Game starts to numb a fella after a few days. The initial flurry of excitement after the opening bell has settled down and the transition to deathmarch isn’t quite complete, but it is on the way. The routine is settled into: out of the boat, top of the run, cast, swing, step, repeat. The metronome ticks away in waltz time, 3 steps and a cast written on the sheetmusic of the river and played on the line as it arcs though the water. Every now and then the rhythm is broken by a tug or a small fish, but for the most part the anesthetic fog rolls in and the runs and days start to blur.
When it happens, it happens quickly, and there isn’t time for anticipation or expectations of outcome. The die is cast at the first surge of line off the reel, and there isn’t time for critical application of technique or theory – the hook finds purchase, or it does not. I get lucky, the hook holds and a new dance has begun. Time slows and focus narrows, and all is lost but a thin, crook’d finger pointing a fluorescent line into the flow, indicating the ever-changing location of my dance partner. Several nerve-fraying runs, many unexpected changes of direction later, there is a wash of relief as the fish enters the net.
This, I realized, is why I come up here to be angered and humiliated by fish. The intense feeling you get when holding one of these dinosaurs is worth all the anxiety and disappointment, the soul-searching and self-loathing that accompany a missed opportunity, a blown shot. This is the fuel that lights the fire in winter, the memory that fans the flame all spring, and the blaze that draws me back again, year after year, to have my fishing self-esteem crushed repeatedly just to get the chance to pick one of these creatures up again.
With the release of the fish comes a release of tension, an awkward display of emotion usually reserved for different times, different settings, different people. I sit because I can’t stand, and I stare because there isn’t anything left to focus on. After awhile, I get up and start the cycle all over again.
And props to StickerJunkie.com, that BWTF one-off ‘s survived 3 Oswego County winters like a goddam champ. You try standing in front of a snow gun for 3 years, look as good you will not, hmm?
Go order yours at the Skagit Master 2 e-commerce page.
And if you want, go to the Skagit Master Forum and get your Skag on.
Contrary to popular opinion, the active ingredient is AfroSheen™ and a blowout comb.
Good for a little Wild love in the dark.
The great Friday Night Buzzer Beater, as photographed by Chou-dog.
The Tweed, Coldstream, Scotland/England border
Aug 26, 2010
Rod had to take a leak, so convincing him to stop along the banks of the River Tweed was a cinch. The Tweed, for at least part of its journey, forms the border between Merry Old England and Grumpy Olde Scotland. And even though Scotland is, indeed, grumpier than England, I tend to like Scotland more. Sure, the food is just as horrific and the beer just as crummy, but Scotland is funnier, more scenic and the whisky is, well, it’s Scotch, fay fook’s sake. Sounds great, huh? In fact, you may even be thinking of thumbing it out to the Boise airport and booking a cheap flight to the highlands. Well, think again, Angus. Scotland is expensive as fuck. There’s no fishing on Sunday and if, unlike me, you actually get around to fishing, be prepared to take out a second mortgage on your home.
We were heading north, up to a gig in Edinburgh, and I hopped out of the car on the English side of the Tweed and high-tailed it down a path toward the water, camera in hand. I had just crossed a gate and was 25 yards from the river when I came up short. Ay! Fay Fook Sake. Wha thay bloody fook? But there it was, the sign that confirmed my worst fears regarding fishing in the UK — all that permitting, private water, upstream, dry-flies-only-on-days-ending-in-y business. There it was — finally — proof!
Like most right-thinking individuals, I cannot abide the notion of “private water.” The phrase kickstarts my inner anarchist, compelling me to jump fences, deface signs (BWTF stickers are great for this, btw!) and pontificate on the internet. My indignation springs, I guess, from my general anti-authoritarian mindset. However, this was the first time I’ve been confronted by a sign marking that strangest of UK fishing regulations: beats.
This was, to me, an entirely new sort of outrage/affront/injustice and I rolled its sour taste around on my tongue. Fishing a “beat” is absolutely foreign to the constitution of a Western angler. We are built to ramble. We are inclined to strap on a pack and load it with water, cans of Rainier and beef jerky and get the fuck away from the assholes fishing right next to the road, at the boat launch or any of the various “idiot holes” found so easily along American fly water. We love taking off into the outback for the mere fact that 1) we can. 2.) well, what the hell is around that corner, anywho? 3.) i am not the type of angler who’s gonna be seen fishing with the likes of the fucking rabble. Sorry, it’s just my issue, man.
Needless to say, I was hopped up and I fairly stomped the rest of the way to the river, high off the delicious self-righteousness of it all. There she was. The great river. So much history, so much tradition. So much of our sport flowing inches in front of me. I could smell it all, mixed with the water, the grassy bank and the trees spilling pollen. She was much broader than I had imagined, but we were by the coast. It was an impossibly scenic river — castles, old rowboats, a stone bridge. Off in the distance, two old dudes sat in a boat, rods in hands, waiting. Directly in front of me, ya know– in the good water — a fish jumped. Fuck.
What were those dudes doing sitting in the goddam frog water? Just what the fuck are they thinking? I dunno. I never know. Yet every time I see a dude fishing the frog water I think, “What the fuck are you thinking?” It’s like driving down the road and seeing a cow and not thinking “cow.”
The fish that jumped right in front of me was, of course, nice and big. I am certain I would have caught it if I had actually been fishing the Tweed, which I was most certainly not. I walked back up the bank, past that stupid goddam sign, got in the car and drove over the river and back into Scotland.
The River Tay, Scotland, Aug 21 2010
After last night’s gig up in the highlands one of the staff at the joint we were staying got a little too deep into the scotch resulting in, so we heard, an offense to some ancient clan, the muttering of disagreeable oaths and inevitably, a bit of a dust up. The Royal Order of thee Hee-lund Coppers were summoned, tears of regret were spilled and some punter was hauled off to the clink. Amidst all that donnybrook sleep was tough to come by so I took a wee doze on the drive down to Crail, on the SE coast. To get to Crail, you gotta drive right through St. Andrew’s, which is where a lot of serious golf is performed. You can tell it’s a golf town by the incredible numbers of “slacks” people wear in combo with those those tasteful shirts golfers are so fond of. St. Andrew’s is “quaint” and “charming” and, just to make sure one is aware that it is also “historic” and “Scottish”, they like to spell the word golf “gowf”. Yeah, that’s fooking hilarious, Alisdair!
I woke up about halfway to the gig, outside the town of Pitlochry, just as we were crossing over a big, fishy looking river. Generally there are no signs in Scotland telling you where the fuck you are, where the fuck you are going or how long it’s gonna take you to get there, but for some reason there was a sign and that sign said, “Hey, Fuck You Thee, Here’s The River Tay And You Ain’t Fishing It.” Shit.
To make an already shitty situation even shittier, just as we were crossing the bridge there was a dude stepping into the drink with a spey rod locked and loaded. We, of course, drove right on by. God. Fucking. Dammit. As they are fond of saying over here, I was gutted.
I bribed our driver with a cold, half-eaten chunk of Steak and Ale pie that I had been saving for my lunch and we were able to pull over about 20 minutes later. We pulled into a sorta high-end subdivision and I jumped out of the car, ran down a dog-shitty path, found the river and took a pic. If, like me, you’ve never fished the Tay before, you might be a bit surprised to find that it’s one huge fucking river. The bit I saw — which I now believe was pretty cost to the Firth (estuary) of Tay — really didn’t have any discernible features other than it’s bigness, and to tell ya the truth, it looked a lot better up by the bridge where the dude with the spey was about to battle the constant — and I mean constant — 40 mph winds.
I got a magazine-thing called “Fish in Scotland” from the Scottish tourist board the other day. The word on the Tay is that, “It is one of the best Salmon rivers in the United Kingdom, and therefore the world.” I had a chuckle and thought, “yeah… sure” But who the fuck knows. It didn’t believe it because I am incredibly bitter and to accept that a river I crossed without fishing may, indeed, be one of the finest salmon rivers in the world is simply too close to self-flagellation. I am in enough pain.
In all honesty, the Tay really could be one of the finest rivers in the world. It could totally suck. Don’t ask me. I didn’t fish it the goddam thing.
We drove away and after a while we passed over the River Earn. I only got a quick glace and really have nothing to report about this sweet little river for alas, there are only so many rivers that I can’t fish in a day.
Damn, got to fishin’ and almost forgot about our friends. Yeah we know, it’s short notice, but what the hell, you can drop everything and show up anyway, right? Right. Hey kids, it’s Spey Nation the Third!
Saturday June 19th, 2010
Pineville Bridge Angler’s Access Site and Boat Launch on the Salmon River
Spey Nation is a grassroots organization dedicated to furthering the culture and techniques of spey fishing on Great Lakes tributaries, and they throw a great party, with free chow sponsored by The Oak Orchard Fly Shop.
Featuring presentations and demonstrations by:
- Lee Davison (CND/Snake River Outfitters)
- Bruce Berry (Buelah)
- Nate “Don’t Hate” Koenigsknecht (CF Burkheimer)
- Andrew Moy (Tight Lines Fly Shop/East Coast Spey)
- Walt Geryk (Northeast Guide Service)
- Neil Houlding (Guideline)
- Steve Taggart (Echo)
- Topher Browne (Atlantic Salmon Federation National Council)
Check out gear from:
- Thomas & Thomas
- Ross Reels
- CF Burkheimer
- The Spey Company
- JP Ross
- Castle Arms/Heritage Fly Rods
- Wild Water Fly Rods
- Hatch Reels
- No Float Stix
- Temple Forks Outfitters
- Loop Fly Fishing
Raffles will benefit the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club. They do good works. Also Shaq will be wrestling a drunken Scotsman, which should be quick because Shaq’s lost a bunch of weight and is weak as a kitten.
A Story That’s Funny To Everybody But Shaq
Shaq’s our pal and he runs this show. An outdoor writer from the Syracuse paper called Shaq to do a story on Spey Nation and wanted a demo, but Shaq was busy fighting crime or something and couldn’t make it. Shaq’s pal Zach (can’t make this shit up) filled in, and stuck a 28-inch Atlantic in the process. Nice! If you come, this probably won’t happen to you. Or to Shaq.
Go to the intersection of Rts. 48 and 13 just west of the village of Altmar NY, turn north, cross the bridge and tumble down the hill. Here’s the Directions page from the official site. Here’s a handy list of accomodations.
Of course it’s cold and wet. It’s March, at 5000′ in northern Idaho. And it looks like it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. But I’m not going to fall into that over-used trap of describing steelheading as “suffering.” Please. If you think that’s what this is then you don’t really know the meaning of the word. You want to see suffering? Go spend some time in Haiti right now, my friend. Aww, did that bum you out?
I’m standing waist deep in frigid water freezing my nuts off, swingin’ a Fish Taco off a sweet new 13′ stick, and you know what? I’ve chosen to be here. I’m loving every goddam minute of it. I’m trying to figure out how to stay a few days longer. In fact, this is the weather that makes me feel alive – far more than those torpid days of summer.
So dramatize it all you want to make yourself seem like you’re enduring some super-human level of adversity, but we both know it really ain’t that bad. I’ll be coming in above you, enduring all the same “heinous” conditions that you are, on a mission with a huge, shit-eating grin on my face. So buck the hell up and keep stepping down. Or, if it’s really so bad, here’s a tissue – go take your romantic notions of suffering somewhere else, Sally.
To the winter steelheader, stepping in to new water is a high test of faith. On home waters, after becoming intimate with the textures and subtleties of your favorite grease and learning which rocks don’t like being stepped on, you can play the game with brazen ease. After a few years of deconstruction, moonlight chanting, and the occasional impromptu grab-dance, you get a feel for what’s going on beneath the mirror and can adjust your game accordingly.
Stepping into the strange requires a certain humility, a deference to the river and her bed. Your choice of fly isn’t based upon any understanding of the current fashion trends in this flow, but more on a hazy, atavistic reckoning, a gauging of the new environment you are in. Tentative steps are taken on unfamiliar rocks, and you begin to cast clumsily, almost apologetically. Pushing you around, the current reminds you that it will tell you how things are going to be here, thank you very much.
But the fumbling casts soon become fluent questions, asked of newly-sighted seams and interesting tidbits in the jumbled flow. The questions develop into a halting conversation, and the flow of the game takes on a tenor of familiarity. As confidence builds, the questions become deeper, trying to see past the coquettish veneer that the river wears.
With confidence comes the exposition of faith, a scattershot cobbling of elements from the practical and the supernatural, influenced by equal parts logic and campfire smoke, the firm belief that the Daughter of Fog is watching, and the hope that she rewards her acolytes with the opportunity to dance with one of her charges.
Most likely, your faith will get you nowhere. You emerge from the end of the run, thinking about questions you could have asked but didn’t, wondering if there was something else you could have said, maybe something that the river coyly whispered that you didn’t quite pick up on. These things will gnaw at you, make you question your decision to try new water.
Occasionally, randomly, Creek Woman empties her basket for you, and the faith is validated.
Talk of lasers over at Apocalypse Steelhead reminded me of a shot from a warm, first-week-of-June afternoon. Check out bacon, keeping the duckies honest and on the far bank.
I’m glad there’s still plenty of winter left before spring.
You’ve seen the trailer. May be you want to see the whole video. May be you have seen the whole video. May be you should go here to see a little bit of what you might or might not have seen already. Some of it for the sure the latter.
Ann’s Emerald – fly and photo by Glista
Well, the spey geeks had so much fun last year that they’re doing it again.
Saturday June 20th, 2009
Pineville Bridge Angler’s Access Site and Boat Launch on the Salmon River
9am until you leave
Spey Nation is a grassroots organization dedicated to furthering the culture and techniques of spey fishing on Great Lakes tributaries, and they throw a great party, with free chow sponsored by The Oak Orchard Fly Shop and Buffalo’s Flying Bison Brewing Co.
Presentations and demonstrations by:
- Lee Davison (CND)
- Bruce Berry (Beulah)
- Will Turek (Mid-West Spey School)
- Whitney Gould (Burkheimer)
- Andrew Moy (Tight Lines Fly shop/East Coast Spey)
- Walt Geryk (Northeast Guide Service)
- Peter Charles (Guidelines)
Check out gear from:
- Thomas & Thomas
- Wild Water Fly Rods
- Meiser Rods Fly Rods
- G Loomis
- Temple Fork Outfitters
- St. Croix
This year’s raffles will benefit the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club. They do good works.
In spite of overwhelming popular demand for a kickass bluegrass band this year, word has it that the *ahem* organizers would rather get a bagpiper. Given that the pipes have a long and documented history of inspiring berserker rages, Buster hereby advises Angus Podgorney to bring a PFD.
Go to the intersection of Rts. 48 and 13 just west of the village of Altmar NY, turn north, cross the bridge and tumble down the hill. Here’s a Google Maps link, and the Directions page from the official site. Here’s a handy list of accomodations.