Archive for the 'Why do we make this so complicated?' Category
Courtesy of Life is Fly.
Annual trimmin’ of the chicken wings
Recently it’s been brought to my attention (several times) that fly fishermen tend to be backstabbing, petty, vindictive, self-righteous, and downright misanthropic (and not in the good way). This is not in reference to the fly vs. gear fishing dichotomy, we’ve all heard that story and the narrative is both deeply ingrained and repetitive. I’m not going to pick up that rotten salmon and try to revive it.
Lately these conversations that I’ve had (both electronically and in real life with actual beer and inarticulate grunting pauses) have been about the venom that we fly-fishermen seem to have for one another. For a group of people that cultural and linguistic theorists would lump together in a singular “Discourse Community”, we sure do seem to hate one another, and I am as guilty as the rest of you. Think about it, how many times have you wished brutal bodily harm on the guy who got to that one hole you’ve been dreaming about before you did? How many curses have you flung (either under your breath or at the top of your lungs) at the boat that cut you off just as you were getting set up for a productive bank? How many of us have heard and told the stories of stream-side fist fights or (at least here in Montana) drawn firearms?
For me the bile rarely manifests in riverside confrontations; that’s not my style. Besides, when I’m actually fishing it’s pretty hard to piss me off. I tend to get all itchy in the crotch when it comes to the things that happen around the making of money in relation to fly-fishing, especially in the writing and publishing arenas. I particularly spend far too much time (both in my head and out loud) bitching about people “in the industry”. I do this either to their faces, their inboxes, or just to other people that I happen to know (or have some sort of magical internet connection with).
Currently I’ve been talking a whole lot of shit about a guide/writer who seems to have made it his mission to sell out some of the few secrets that remain in this heavily fished part of the country. The truth is that I think destination writers are the scourge of the artistic earth. In my view they are either lazy or lacking in actual talent and so they have to get their work published on the strength of a little known resource rather than on the merit of their wordsmithing. Usually I verbalize this in a less tempered and more reactionary way however, criticizing the person’s worth as a human being rather than even attempting to see the world from his or her perspective. The thing is, I know this guy, he’s a nice guy. I don’t want to “eat his children” as Mike Tyson once said, and I don’t actually think he’s “a pathetic meatpuppet with the articulative capacity of an ocelot and the dental hygiene of a camel” as I said to a friend about him last week. But I do wish he would shut the fuck up and stop writing about the places that guides fish when they’re not guiding. There’s a reason that we don’t take clients there.
A certain industry magazine and I had a falling out last summer when they wrote up the two shops in this area that I think are solely interested in pimping out the fisheries and making the money. I wrote an overly dramatic and long-winded email to the editor who responded by essentially telling me to calm the hell down. He went on to say (quite politely) that I should be careful about where I deposit my excrement considering that we are all trying to eat off the same table. It was the same advice my father gave me when I was a freshman in college and I slept with two girls who both lived on the same floor that I did (sorry Dad, but it appears that I’m not that quick a study, I’m getting the same advice about proximity of shitting and eating 15 years later). I was probably making way too much out of nothing, and introducing a whole lot of negative back-talk for no good reason. Perhaps the editor was right. I have no right to stand in judgment, but yet I judge all the same. We all draw our lines in the sand according to our interpretation of morality–”Across this line you DO NOT!”–it’s just that mine happens to be the right one.
None of this is new ground. I’m not saying anything original here. If there is a point to my rant, it is to say this: I lament the anger that I feel toward all those other fishermen, especially the soulless industry types (who are in actuality generally really nice guys) and I realize that I have no justification for it, but I feel it just as strongly and just as viscerally as ever.
So for those of you who will curse my name this coming year: I salute you. As a good friend of mine used to say (it really was his mantra), “we’re all assholes, every last one of us”. Amen, and fuck you.
Post Script– Please do note that I didn’t actually mention any names in the above narrative. That’s gotta be worth something, right karma? RIGHT?
Really? Coupled with a toothless law that the folks at the CRC dept can’t enforce anyway?
Here’s a tip for the WDFW and the ODFW – Make it hurt if you don’t turn in your catch records. Screw the “friendly reminder” or ODFW’s lame-ass “you could win a boat if you turn in your combined tag!” bullshit. Steelhead ain’t exactly thriving, so wouldn’t it behoove you to gather as much data as possible before they’re ALL gone? I know y’all don’t like California much, but at least CDFG has the balls to make the failure of turning in a steelhead record an enforceable misdemeanor.
Alternately, the WDFW and ODFW could sack up and make it like SE AK and the ADFG – no bait use in 35+ systems and counting, coupled with zero retention on roadside waters and a one daily / two a year limit with a 36″ minimum everywhere else (at the risk of grievous bodily harm if us locals catch you). Several zero-pass weirs and a pile of index streams with weekly snorkel surveys are in play for the ADFG, and yet you fruitcakes in OR and WA won’t even make anglers turn in a catch record?
Just lobbed across the wire -
EPA plans scientific assessment of Bristol Bay watershed
Release date: 02/07/2011
Contact Information: Contact: Marianne Holsman, EPA Public Affairs, 206-553-1237, email@example.com
Assessment responds to concerns of tribes, businesses, and others about development proposals
(Anchorage, Alaska—Feb. 7, 2011) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will conduct a scientific assessment of the Bristol Bay watershed to better understand how future large-scale development projects may affect water quality and Bristol Bay’s salmon fishery, an extraordinary salmon resource for the United States. EPA initiated this assessment in response to concerns from federally-recognized tribes and others who petitioned the agency in 2010 to assess any potential risks to the watershed.
“The Bristol Bay watershed is essential to the health, environment and economy of Alaska,” said EPA Regional Administrator Dennis McLerran. “Gathering data and getting public input now, before development occurs, just makes sense. Doing this we can be assured that our future decisions are grounded in the best science and information and in touch with the needs of these communities. We look forward to working with Alaskans to protect and preserve this valuable resource.”
In 2010, nine federally-recognized Bristol Bay tribes petitioned EPA to use its authority under the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay. Their concerns focused on the potential Pebble Mine project. Two other tribes asked EPA to wait for mining projects to submit permit applications before taking action.
This action today does not represent any regulatory decision by the agency; instead it represents EPA’s proactive steps to better understand the watershed and gather important scientific information. This information gathered will inform any future guidelines or actions about how to protect the waters and promote sustainable development.
Bristol Bay is an important source of wild Pacific salmon for commercial, recreational, and subsistence users. It produces hundreds of millions of dollars in annual fisheries revenues. The area may be the last major watershed in North America that produces historic numbers of wild salmon. Most of the Bristol Bay watershed is wildlife refuge or park where large development is restricted. EPA’s efforts will focus on those areas that are not protected.
EPA’s assessment is not limited to examining the effects of hard-rock mining projects, but will consider the effects of large-scale development in general.
The assessment, which will focus primarily on the Nushagak and Kvichak watersheds, will be informed by scientific peer review, tribal consultation, federal and state agency participation, as well as public and industry input.
EPA will accept and consider public input during development of the watershed assessment and will continue to work closely with tribal governments, state and federal agencies as we undertake this analysis.
AK governor Sean Parnell (R) had sent a letter of complaint to the EPA last year, voicing his opposition to any such scientific assessment, while Rep. Don Young (R-AK) has filed legislation that seeks to remove the EPA’s “Veto Authority” under section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act – with 75% + of Bristol Bay’s residents opposing the proposed Pebble Mine, I am not particularly sure these guys have their constituency’s best interests in mind.
If clean water and healthy, sustainable runs of wild salmon are important to you, I urge you to let your voice be heard. Click on THIS LINK to sign on to the Save Bristol Bay petition going to the EPA, asking EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to initiate the 404(c) process for the headwaters of the Nushugak and Kvichak rivers in Bristol Bay.
The active ingredient is blue.
After G_Smolt’s thoroughly tasteless post advocating bead bouncing with a bamboo stick, we felt it was time to get back on track, appeal to our literate readers and pull this place out of the gutter.
But then, well, we got distracted.
Capr fishing explained:
“I believe it is the purest form of fly-fishing.”
- Daniel Galhardo, Tenkara USA
You know, Danny, I really don’t care how other people fish. Honestly, as long as you’re not raping the resource, do whatever you want. But can you spare us the sanctimonious bullshit about how, just because you don’t have a reel, you’re somehow doing something that’s more “pure” than the rest of us?
But let’s take your logic forward – if ditching my reel makes me “more pure,” then ditching all of my tackle would mean a full state of never-ending satori, right?
I give you His Venerable Noodleness, the Dalai Jerry Wayne:
(Photo by Pete McDonald)
I recently had the good fortune of chasing epic bones with Field and Stream, Angling Trade and FlyFish Journal editor, Kirk Deeter. You can tell a lot about a guy by spending a day fishing with him, and Kirk is the kind of guy I would choose to fish with anytime – easygoing, but ever vigilant and all business when it’s game time. Yet there was one thing about Kirk that left me wondering, and required followup – his choice of footwear for the flats. Far be it for me to shirk my journalistic duties, so I got in touch with Kirk to get to the bottom of this.
Q: As a well-connected industry professional, you could obviously pick up the phone and have any top-of-the-line flats boot on your desk in 24 hours. Yet you choose a pair of Chuck Taylors instead. ‘Splain, please.
KD: I had to wear special orthopedic shoes when I was a little kid…and now I think that most of the flats boots out there look almost exactly like those orthopedic shoes did. So I just won’t wear ‘em. For the record, I don’t wear a helmet when I fish either.
Q: Every flats boot I’ve ever seen seems to come in light colors. You went with black. Is that simply because black is the most fucking metal color of the spectrum? Have you noticed an increase in your hookup ratio?
KD: I like black Chucks because they seem to camouflage my feet in the clouds of silt I kick up as I wade the flats. Granted, the fish are usually freaked out by the clouds either way, so I can’t claim a hookup ratio advantage… but I take comfort in knowing that the fish never know WHOSE feet caused the clouds… follow? And yes, I believe fly fishing and heavy metal music (or punk music) go hand-in-hand, in that you either “feel it and get it” right away, or not. Some people equate fly fishing with bluegrass, which is total bullshit. Fly fishing is metal (or punk). Chucking spoons is disco.
Q: I asked our research department to do a little homework, and they found that you can get 5-6 pairs of Chucks for the price of one pair of famous-maker flats boots. Are the rest of us taking crazy pills here?
KD: Nah… to each his own. But… A) Chucks function better than most wading boots when you cast from the deck of a skiff, B) Chucks dry faster, and weigh less in checked luggage, C) You get the same sole
protection from coral for a fraction of the price, and D) You never know when you’re going to get back to the boat ramp and want to pick right up with a game of H-O-R-S-E or some heated one-on-one for guide tips.
Q: The sun and the heat can do weird things to a person in the tropics. Have you ever imagined while wading around that you are Joey Ramone in your Chucks and that the mangroves are thousands of your adoring fans? Have you ever thought of putting a whammy bar on your fly rod?
KD: I had an adoring fan once, but we got married. On the Ramones fantasy… yes, but it’s actually more of a “Dee Dee” thing. A bonefish reveals a glistening tail, and in my head, I hear the bass player shout out “1-2-3-4!” After that, it’s all bar chords and amplified feedback (which pretty much describes my casting style). If the song isn’t wrapped in about 2 minutes and 7 seconds… I know I fucked it up.
My fly rod is my “whammy bar.” What do you call yours?
For one of the best places on the planet to give your Chucks a workout, hit this.
Have some, Mike Iaconelli.
From Monday’s Anchorage Daily News comes this fine tidbit:
SOUTHWEST ALASKA — The nation’s second-largest jewelry retailer on Tuesday
joined the opposition to development of a gold and copper prospect in Southwest
Zale Corp. said it will boycott precious metals from the Pebble prospect if it
becomes a mine. Zale also said it supports permanently protecting the Bristol Bay
watershed from large-scale metals mining. Pebble is situated near the headwaters
of two of Bristol Bay’s salmon-spawning rivers. Five Bristol Bay rivers collectively
support the world’s largest wild-sockeye salmon fishery.
The Texas-based jewelry giant has 1,930 stores in the United States, Canada and
Conservation group Earthworks and partners have now enlisted more than 30
jewelers to oppose Pebble development.
Canada’s Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. and London-based Anglo American
have formed the Pebble Partnership to work the Pebble prospect. John Shively,
chief executive of the partnership, said Zale coming out against Pebble is
nothing more than a meaningless publicity stunt.
“It is pretty easy for a company to come out against buying gold that doesn’t
exist at this point,” he said. “We are years away from construction. The
people managing that company now will probably be gone. Big deal.”
Field & Stream has picked up the “big deal” comment and run, but
(surprise, surprise) the Hook n’ Bullet crowd that comments over there has
somehow figured out how to turn it into a political condemnation – as if this issue
didn’t exist prior to 2008. Amazingly enough, the comments at ADN are
Be careful what you wish for, John…
There’s something to be said for casting, not just as a means to deliver your
fly, but as an end unto itself. The well-executed cast provides a measure of
satisfaction all its own, a tiny reward, and in some cases the only direct
gratification from an otherwise fishless day.
“No, but I made some good casts.”
Some days, under the direction of my Inner Geek, I leave the flybox at
home and go fishing for the perfect cast. Alone, sans fly, hours are spent
in this seemingly ridiculous undertaking on an otherwise perfectly good
body of water. Cast, strip, cast, listening to the rod, letting the lay of the
line tell the story of my idiosyncrasies. Cast after cast, feeling coarse
imperfections here and rough motions there, grinding them down on the
stone of repetition and oiling them with memory.
“Dunno…I’m just casting.”
The combination of immutable physical laws and barely controlled chaos
often results in unexpected beauty, a loop of unusual sharpness and
symmetry sailing out across the waters. The setup, the pull, all the
moments preceding the cast are mentally played back in the hopes of
catching the nuance that led to this fleeting state of grace. With time,
these events become more frequent, but the quest for the perfect cast
“C’mon, lets go!”
“…Just one more cast.”
Just cuz you’re in a drifter doesn’t mean you can’t do a little motorboatin.’ Jamie Briscoe unveils a new creation on the Madison.
A long cold hinterland winter here in Freestonia doesn’t mean that the fishing stops entirely, but it does slow down, and that means increased exposure to the noisemakers. You know, the ones that force-feed us the narrative of our lives, that thin clammy broth of postures and judgements and cheap shiny plastic crap that we can’t live without. The noise comes from the tubes, the mailbox and the halls of power in 30-second sound bytes and bumper sticker platitudes, telling us what’s important, what should be dismissed with scorn, conveying our targets for rage and humor. Even the goddam Olympic Games, something that’s supposed to celebrate the hard work of dedicated amateurs, shows up shrinkwrapped in disposable computer-animated bubble packaging that’s obviously been designed and focus-grouped years in advance, complete with instant blowdried celebrity hero toys ready for tomorrow’s water cooler worship. Collect ‘em all, $14.99.
(Haha see, Shaun stowed away on Tuesday’s delivery and stocked all this sk8punk stuff in the dead of night, because he’s a subversive nutty scamp®. What can we do? On sale now.)
The noise is the anthem of the Transnational Lizard People, who purely through the power of cash have erased the importance of place, allegiance to country, recognition of borders, and necessity of breathing, eating, drinking and being of this place where we plant our feet. They recognize no law, no neighbor, no change of season or migration. They experience no hunger or sickness or fear. No disaster matters, except as an opportunity to pad those numbers. Their decisions and actions bear no consequence, aside from possibly being hauled before a Congress of their own creatures for an afternoon show trial, let’s get it over with so we can all go get drinks. With any luck they’ll soon have cash-powered spacecraft so they can all lift off and blast each other with beams of numbers that used to represent something of worth, and be free of the bothersome bounds of the human experience. Man, we’re all such a nuisance.
But here’s the thing: we’re not all where we’re supposed to be, fretting over today’s manufactured outrage on one side of an aisle or another, shaking our heads about who’s fucking whom and oh how could he do such a thing? Sometimes we very deliberately dash out of the pasture and do things that the handlers never counted on. See, there are no blue lines on their demographic maps. They can’t conceive of a shade of green in winter-dormant cedar and water that’s deeper than the one in their veins. Eventually we’ll probably be rounded up and put down for the greater good of the herd, but we likely won’t hear them coming.