Right Brain, Left Brain

The month of “right brain” activities has been wonderful
30+ flies tied for an April outing
2 songs written
(it had been way too long since I touched the guitar)
Started and finished reading a book
Discovered countless blogs
Learned how to be a better teacher
Increased our running distances
Lined up more Virginian ducks for the future move
Explored Chicago
Drank some fine beer
Starting Monday,
I return to regular programing
Up at 5:30
Done when told
Study anatomy and surgical technique
Run when we can
Read when possible
Eat when necessary
Sleep if there’s time
Match day is approaching
Life is so good

Gear Review: Montana Fly Company River Camo Tying Tools

As mentioned before, I got my package of goodies from Montana Fly Company (MFC) earlier this February. I’ve been biding my time, waiting for the right moment to bust these bad boys out.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve begun planning an early April trip to fish the Big Horn River in Montana. How could this get any better? Armed with MFC’s double ceramic tipped bobbin, all-purpose scissors, stacker, and fly box (all with MFC’s signature River Camo designs) as well as three varieties of tying thread, I was ready to begin stocking up my basic flies for the trip. After some online research, I decided I would start with scuds to get the ball rolling. I had a free afternoon earlier this week and got started.

Let me just get this out of the way; I am confident that the quality of my flies, in no way, reflects the quality of MFC’s equipment. So go easy on me.
Right off the bat, I could tell the difference between my generic, bottom-of-the-barrel, bobbin and the MFC bobbin. The MFC thread rolled off the bobbin easily and slid nicely on the ceramic tips. It had a very natural weight in my hand allowing a novice like myself to feel more confident at the vice. And just like anything else, confidence when trying something new is HUGE.
I tied a variety of scuds. Orange, grey, silver, peacock, with and with out beads. After looking at some examples online, I think I should have used a bit more dubbing to really get those thick, hairy legs on the underside of the hook shank, but they might be fine. The MFC thread is definitely high quality. I have only used a couple other brand names, but I think the 8/0 (orange), 6/0 (brown), and 3/0 (black) I was sent held up beautifully. No break-offs, shredding, or knot issues. I tied all size 14 hooks. Might be a tad on the big side, but only time will tell.

After tying 7 scuds, I was done. All I needed was someplace to store them. Fancy that! MFC sent me a River Camo Aluminum Fly Box with a Brown Trout pattern. Needless to say, my scuds looked great in the box that resembles the fish I am aiming to catch.

Today, I had another Cornhusker Fly Fisher’s tie-in. I dedicated the time to midge pupa’s and Griffith’s gnats. The scissors got plenty of use today, and, just like the bobbin, I was suprised at how comfortable the felt in my hand. Great weight. Flashy design. Sharp as can be. And, the serrated edge on the all-purpose scissors did every job I asked of it and did it well. 6 Griffiths and 7 midges later, I was spent. My box was filling up. This was also when I noticed a venting system in on the sides of the box to prevent your flies from being completely locked in with their moisture should you forget to set them out after a day on the water. Touche, MFC.

With regard to the hair stacker, made of what I think is cast aluminum and colored with a Rainbow Trout River Camo design, I didn’t actually tie any flies with it, but I did give it a go. A cork-padded base saved my bench from getting dinged up when I slammed the hair down. The top half easily slides off to allow easy pick up of your deer or, in my case, moose hair. If I were tying a deer hair caddis, this baby would have done the job beautifully.

Overall, there are three important things I believe these Montana Fly Company products offer the consumer:
1. The tying materials and equipment are all high quality.
2. The signature River Camo is a gorgeous reminder of what you are working towards. On hard days, every little bit helps to keep the goal in mind.
3. This is a company made by people who love the same things we do. Dependable equipment and successful fishing. This is by far, the most important to me.
I personally like to have a latch or locking system on my fly boxes, just in case, but this box closes snuggly, so I’m not worried about me doing something stupid. Plus, MFC does have locking fly boxes as well (scroll down and check out all the designs! they are pretty awesome.). As for the equipment, I almost feel guilty to have such good stuff to work with from now on. I feel like I haven’t paid my dues to have such sturdy tools. I know I will be using them for a long time and they will hold up. I can just tell.

As a quick reminder, the Outdoor Blogger Network (OBN) facilitates opportunities to review various types of donated outdoor equipment. Montana Fly Company gave three bloggers the opportunity to use and review a package of their equipment. I have no disclosures regarding financial interests with MFC or OBN. My review is my own opinion and based off my personal experience with the equipment. The photos were taken by yours truly.
*Thank you MFC for the goodies, OBN for the opportunity, and Vampire Weekend and Kanye West for my tying tunes.

OBN Writing Prompt: Sustainable Fishing with GreenFish

Diary entry for May 13, 2145.

It has been a difficult spring so far. Winter was dry again. Very little snow. That means the river emptying into the city’s reservoir is low as is the reservoir. It really is now just a trash-filled pit. The WEC (Water Exploration Committee) had been making trips outside the city limits to look for underground water sources that might be rerouted to town. I hope they find something. Then maybe our rations can increase again.

Diary Entry for June 22, 2145

Sorry for the big gap between entries. With the city water supply so low, Dad took us on the Riv-Train to see Great-grandpa for his 123rd birthday. He is now the 5th oldest man in the Republic of the United States. On the way there, I asked my Dad why it is called the “Riv-train.” And guess what? He said the tracks were laid down in an old river bed. I guess they call it that because that is where the river sleeps or lays down. But the bed was empty after the the Great Water Shortage because all the towns and cities dug drains to take water for their thirsty people. Dad said, when they did that, the water got so low, you could walk in the Mighty Misses (spelling? I don’t remember what he called it) river and grab fish the size of tables with your hands. I don’t know if I believe that. There is only one type of fish that lives in our city water, but it is just to clean the bottom. I can’t imagine wanting to catch one. Yuck!

Well, if you think my Dad’s story was unbelievable, listen to the one my Great-grandpa told me. We stayed up really late playing sim-cards (simulator cards) and I asked him to tell me his favorite memory from being 10 years old (my age, duh! actually 10 and 1/2.). He said that was the summer he stayed with his grandpa and grandma on a lake (big natural reservoir) in Minnesota, part of what is now the dry plains district of Minndakota. Each day that summer, he would wake up early and go on a boat (lot’s of people had them then), and they would throw big nets to catch fish. They would come back with BUCKETS OF FISH! BUCKETS! AND they were all different kinds. Yellow ones, green ones, golden ones with glowing eyes, ones with blue on them, long skinny ones with sharp teeth. They would take them down to the road and sell them each day to cars driving by. People ATE the fish. He said everybody did that back then. “Catch and eat as many as you can. Sell the rest.”

He said, that was the last year they let him swim in the lake. I can’t believe they used to do that. Can you imagine swimming in our city reservoir? Ew. Grandpa said he even remembers DRINKING the water.

Anyway, Diary, I wonder what it would be like if we still had water you could swim in and drink that didn’t need the treatment process. Or even if that big Misses river still filled up its bed. Just think if we could go out and catch a fish with a shiny body and long sharp teeth. It sounds pretty neat I guess. I think I would try to leave some fish in there and not take them all out. Just knowing they are still swimming around in the water would be cool. Maybe I’d catch them and let them go. Or only keep enough to feed me and my parents.

This blog entry is my submission for the GreenFish and Outdoor Blogger Network Writing Prompt Giveaway. A world without sustainable fishing.

Another Fishing Murder Mystery by Victoria Houston

With all of the recent traveling I’ve done, I was able to finish another of Victoria Houston’s Loon Lake Murder Mysteries. Thank you to the Omaha Public Library for feeding my habits.

As with the first book in the series, we again find ourselves following Doc Osborne, Ray Pradt, and Chief Lew Ferris through the backwaters and backcountry of Northern Wisconsin. A little fewer segways on fishing in this 2nd book, but none the less, a more suspenseful story with darker overtones and more complicated antagonists. We also get to see Doc and Lew push their cute, little relationship a tad farther, which is nice 🙂
Overall, I’d say I enjoyed this book a little more than the first. Definitely worth the time if you’ve got it. So make use of your local public library and check one of the Loon Lake Mysteries out. There are plenty of them.

If Owl Jones hoots, what’s your noise?

I figure anyone who might read my posts is likely familiar with Mr. Owl Jones. Well I was thinking, Owl hoots, right? I mean, I’ve seen it in his posts. In my mind, when I read it, I hear a little *hoot* *hoot* noise similar to those from the owls in the Harry Potter movies.

So, what type of noise does a Nash make? I can think of some off color jokes here, of course. But I guess I would have to say that my sound would be somewhere between a loon call and a dolphin squeak. The loon because I’m from Minnesota, and the dolphin because I was recently asked “if you could be any animal other than a human, what would it be?” I said dolphin as this was my plans for a career when I was a child. It didn’t pan out.
I now leave you to ponder the sounds of the loon-dolphin or dolphoon.
What’s your noise?

The goodies are in!

Remember back when Montana Fly Company teamed up with OBN for a an awesome gear opportunity? (I know, happened more than once, and will probably happen again. The crowd at MFC are very generous.) Well, I was fortunate enough to be selected to try out the goods and give my thoughts. In yesterday’s mail, the goods came. And man, are they good.

Pictured above are MFC’s double ceramic tipped bobbin, all-purpose scissors, stacker, and fly box (all with their signature, stunning River Camo) as well as three varieties of tying thread.

Now, I happen to be a bit busy this coming week, so I’m calling this my “planning week.” I have a trip in April to the Big Horn River in Montana and I’ll need to fill the box, best I can, with the basics for that trip.

I’ve settled on BWOs, scuds, and midges. Now I need recipes. If you have any suggestions on sizes, or variations in color for the scuds, I’d love to hear the suggestions.

After the planning, I’ll get to tying and give you all my official review including more details on the equipment.

My first impression is pretty straight forward: This is high quality tying gear with a stunning design that reminds you what you are working towards.

Talk soon.

Ooh, piece of candy. Ooh, piece of candy. Ooh, piece of candy.

Today with morning coffee and toast, I felt like the cartoon version of James Woods on Family Guy. I was perusing the vast list of bloggers on OBN.

Piece of candy #1: Fish Porn.

So, porn happens to be one of those red flag words that
just stands out. See what I mean. Like sex, or Luke Skywalker.
I followed the OBN link, and watched some awesome videos.
The site simply posts things of interest to fly fish peeps.
Anything that, like porn, might tickle their fancy.
From Fish Porn, I found my second piece of candy.

Piece of candy #2: This is Fly.
This is Fly is an online fly fishing magazine.
Similar to Catch magazine except more stories and
narrative. Lots of fun in there and great photos.
Inside the magazine, I found my
third piece of candy.

Piece of candy #3: Third year Fly Fisher.
Oh man, this is a gold mine. I read and article in This is Fly
about muskie fly fishing (something that really intrigues me)
and noticed a “button” saying “watch the video.”
That brought me to Third Year Fly Fisher.
Robert Thompson is the mastermind behind this beast.
He posts some amazing videos from his trips to
Wisconsin, Montana, Michigan, and Idaho.
Needless to say, after finding his site, I fell a bit behind in my to-do list,
but I feel much better about it after sharing my pieces of candy with all of you.
So today, I want you all to be like James Woods, click on these links, and eat the candy.
It is sweet and delicious.

Today’s Hatch: The February Fly

They’re everywhere.
bursting from the clouds,
swarming streetlights,
crystal bodies tossed like
sand across the desert.
Falling on their brothers and sisters,
building Arctic ramps over sidewalks and street corners.
Cold and fresh in your mouth.
Blown by the biting wind,
an eerie, whistling moan,
the February Fly is thrown,
tumbling downward
onto your cheek.
Though it happens suddenly,
I see this sharp, sparkling flake,
the only one of its kind,
melt away in slow motion,
leaving a dew-drop egg
to carry on the next hatch.

OBN Writing Prompt: To meet, or not to meet?

After I first heard about the OBN Colorado Rendezvous, I have to admit, it was a bitter sweet moment for me. Sweet because I think it will be a blast. Not only that, but I find it amazing how fast this community is growing and materializing into something tangible. It is bringing like-minded people together in many ways. Very cool. So, why is it bitter? Well, because I probably won’t be able to make it. Spring is filling up with activities, and I have to choose wisely how to fill my schedule.

That being said, I will happily offer some of the people I think would be great to meet.
1. For obvious reasons, Joe and Rebecca. I really would just want to thank them for being the instigators of this little monster they’ve created.
2. Also for obvious reasons, there are the rowdy crew in Troutrageous and Owl Jones. They are pretty much everywhere I look on OBN, so I figure it would be inevitable that I see them at the get together. I imagine they will be the ones who get the group kicked out of the hotel. But it will be a good story.
3. Then there is Winona Fly Factory. To be honest, I’m not sure if he is a part of OBN, but I really enjoy his site. I like the area he fishes, and he has great photos, fly tying, and vids.
4. Angling Addict. Since I will be moving to Norfolk, Va soon, it would be great to meet this guy. I would love to catch some of the monsters he pulls out of the Chesapeake.
I’m sure I am leaving others out here. In general, I think this get together promises to be as interesting as OBN. I really think you could walk up to anyone and have a great conversation, and I’m jealous of those who’ll be there. Maybe I could skype in 🙂