Sounds so simple, I just gotta go. Right, James Taylor?

Whew. It has been a whirlwind week, but we are back home and trying to get into the swing of things.

Apparently this is the season for vacation, so what happened? Family vacation. It was amazing that everyone was able to fit it into their schedule. Playa Del Carmen, Mexico in the Yucatan was the spot. Makekal was the resort. Beach, food, and drinks, go without saying. What else happened you say?

Day 1: Harpoon fishing. Soooo intense. Not many fish. Deep water. But, I was successful. In about 30 feet of water we spotted a triggerfish. The guide said it was acceptable to shoot this guy, so I headed down. As I approached, the fish, clearly wary of the descending me, back away against a rock. I shot. Direct hit. I confirmed and swam back up. When I got up, I looked down to see an empty harpoon. Apparently the rock behind him kept the harpoon tip from moving far enough through to hold. It was a rush regardless. If he lived, that’s impressive. If not, he fed the food chain. I don’t think I’ll make harpoon fishing a regular experience. But it was a rush. After snorkeling for an hour in wavy waters, we were all exhausted. Time to hydrate and rest.

Day 2: SCUBA. Sara and I got certified years ago in Thailand. It is such an amazing thing. To be suspended, neutrally buoyant, in the water with the ability to breathe for roughly an hour is spectacular. To be able to intimately inspect the underwater ecosystem is even better. This dive took place not on a reef, but in a Cenote. These are surface connections of underground bodies of water (so says wikipedia). There are hundreds of these pond-like openings in the Yucatan. We dove the Casa Cenote near Tulum, Mexico. It was so cool. We have small caverns to dive in an out of. Rocks covered in Grinch-like hairy algae, dangling mangrove roots, a school of tarpon, crabs below, a couple baracuda near by. This Cenote had a close connection with the ocean so the water was brash. We even found a halophyile where a layer of salt and fresh water create don’t completely mix. Moving between the two was like moving between the layer of cooking oil and water with different visibilities and temperatures. Basically, this was another otherworldly experience. I would dive a Cenote again.

Day 3: Snorkel. Akumal Bay is a protected area designated to preserve some of the local habitat that is important to, most notably, sea turtles. We snorkeled for about an hour in our group of 10. This was a very busy location. Lots of people near by, but it was still very cool. My wife has been hoping to see sea turtles for some time now and she finally got her wish. We got within feet of several. They are beautiful.
All good things come to an end, so someone said. We are home now and have the real-world blues. Luckily, there are lots of good things to look forward to.
Next week is my Big Horn River fly fishing trip. I’m going to have to start preparing for that.

March Madness

The bracket got off to a decent start in the West. But, oh Lordy, the East has seen better days. I had Old Dominion over Bulter –> Nope. I had Louisville hanging in there for a couple rounds. Nope. I decided Ganzaga didn’t have it. Nope. You can see how this is going.

The good news is, I can still make a strong performance. There may still be time to make some money.
Needless to say, these games have been pretty awesome so far.

A little inspiration for your coffee

I pulled this video from fish porn. This is Conan O’Brien’s goodbye speech from his short stint hosting the tonight show. It is really well done with a good message. Be thankful. Work hard. Good attitudes go a long way. It would be ideal if we could act this way everyday. That is unrealistic, of course, but we can try.


Saturday Morning Hodgepodge

On several occasions this week, I’ve thought about a few possible posts, but haven’t found the time to get anything written down. So today, I’ve got a hodgepodge of topics for you all to consider.

1. Big Horn River Fly Box

With my April trip to the Big Horn quickly approaching, I’ve been trying to conservatively fill my fly box with some standard flies that will give me a head start. As I’ve never been out there before and also never fished for trout on a bigger river like this, I’m looking forward to using new techniques and learning a lot. I also realize my lack of experience (out there or anywhere) means I could easily fill my fly box with useless flies (for this trip). That is why I’m only tying a few of each.

Anyway, I’ve added a couple attempts at a Ray Charles as wells a few different San Juan Worms. Hopefully they’ll get wet. (The camera batteries were dead so I used my phone. That means poorer res. Sorry.)

2. Learning how trout think.

I followed the ways of the Winona Fly Factory and purchased a pretty sweet book on half.comfor about $8 after s&h. The book is called The Mind of the Trout by Thomas C. Grubb, Jr. Great name for a guy who likes fish. This is essentially a review of countless studies investigating the way fish, mostly salmonoid species process information or “think” and how that relates to their behavior. With many corollaries to fishing, this stuff is great for the angler who wants to understand why may decide to take or pass up your fly, or simple how they vision and memory work at a physiological level. It isn’t a long book, but it is dense with thought provoking questions and proposals with next steps in research to understand more about trout behavior. About 170 pages. I’m plowing through it.

The tips I learned last night (more importantly, I learned why): older/bigger trout have better vision, so stalk carefully.

3. Rediscovering some music.

I’ve always been really into music. Whether it is listening or playing. I started on classic rock and contemporary tunes. I really got into Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton for a while. It wasn’t until middle school that I had my first infatuation with a band. Dave Matthews Band. For probably about 7 years, he was about all I listened to. I attended several concerts, found bootlegs performances, learned to play his songs, and on and on.

Then I started to explore other musicians, Damien Rice, The Streets, Franz Ferdinand, Regina Spektor, Neil Young, yada yada yada. I’ve been aware of his last few releases, but really haven’t pursued them. I guess I needed time to explore some other sounds.

Well, thanks to my local public library with their sweet music selection, I stumbled across a Dave Matthews and Time Reynolds live at Radio City Music Hall album. It was like I was re-discovering my old DMB crush. I’ve had a lot of fun driving around listening and singing to the cds probably looking quite silly.

Greenfish goodies :)

My stylish greenfish cap came in the other day. I’m sporting it to work in the mornings. It is a good opportunity for the hat and I to get to know each other. It takes time to develop a relationship with a hat. My head needs to get a bit more hair to fill out the sides. The hat needs to accommodate to the contours of my temples. It is serious process.

But the Greenfish hat is super comfy, so I’m not worried. Anyway, thanks again Greenfish. I’ll be sure to spread your sustainable message on either the front, side, or back of my head, depending on how cool I want to look each day.

Outdoor Photo Prompt: tribute post

I’m trying to post this in record time for me, as I’ve got to head out the door and I’m trying to finish the coffee. I’m just honing my skills as a multi-tasker.

OBN had another photo prompt asking about your favorite outdoor gear, and to be honest, I’ve racked my brain thinking of backpacks, water bottles, hiking boots, knives, fishing gear, and I can’t think of anything. Then I thought of my best childhood/adulthood friend. I would just slap a picture of his face on here, but I had a better idea. As a tribute to him, I would post my favorite piece of his outdoor “equipment” because it rocks.
Every trip we’ve ever gone on since we were young: boundary waters, wyoming, YMCA camp, etc, he always brought a sturdy supply of Caramello candy bars. He said, It is his favorite candy, and he said, “Food is always best when camping, so why not have my favorite?” And he has a point, Caramello smores are amazing.
So, here’s to you, buddy.

New Issue of Catch Magazine is Out

Catch Magazine releases an online journal of fly fishing photography and film every odd month of the year. This is their 16th issue. There are awesome videos, gorgeous photography, and a few cool interviews. This is a very interactive magazine. Something I think we will see more of, in general, as print continues to fade and the so long as the ipad 2 really does define 2011.

This issue has mayfly hatch photography, a great slide-show from the Bahamas, a photo essay of South African Mountain trout, and much more. Plus you can check out the previous issues. Best part, it’s all free.

Photo is from Cayo Largo, Cuba by Brian O’Keefe.