Rest Easy, Friday Night. Vol. 3

I first saw/heard Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Dead Lies at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Ne. We listened for about 45 minutes and I bought their self-titled CD. It is outstanding. Here is his newest project. It is the “rough draft” of his upcoming CD. He will put the sales money from this rough album towards a fully produced studio album.

A slower sound. A step away from the light hearted. Calming and refreshing.

He also dose a pretty decent version of a Ke-(money sign)-ha song.
On a separate note, here is a paragraph from yesterday’s Writer’s Almanac, a daily email/radio short by Garrison Keillor on Minnesota Public Radio. The segments include a daily poem and noteable events in history that occurred on the day.
This blows my mind. It amazes me to think what this man has seen and heard.
Today is the 98th birthday of Joseph Medicine Crow-High Bird, best known as Joseph Medicine Crow, who was born in 1913 into the Apsaalooke people — the children of the large-beaked bird — near Lodge Grass on the Crow reservation in southern Montana. Joseph Crow is the oldest living man of the Crow tribe and the last traditional Crow chief. As a writer, he has produced seminal works on Native American history and reservation life. But it is for Medicine Crow’s writings on the victory of the Cheyenne and Lakota warriors led by Crazy Horse and Chief Gall over the U.S. Cavalry and George Armstrong Custer that he is best known.

Joseph was the first member of his tribe to attend college and was in the middle of graduate studies in anthropology when World War II began and he joined the Army as an infantry scout. He’d learned from his grandfather that a warrior must have the strength and intelligence to carry out four traditional military acts, a process called “counting-coup,” in order to qualify as a chief, and Medicine Crow completed all four during the war. One highly prestigious act was to make physical contact with an enemy and escape unharmed, and on one occasion, he fought and grappled with a German soldier whose life he then spared when the man screamed out for his mother. On another, Medicine Crow led a war party to steal 50 Nazi SS horses from a German camp, singing a Crow song of honor as they rode away.
After the war, Medicine Crow returned to Montana where he was appointed his tribe’s historian and anthropologist. He began writing academic works, collections of Crow stories and the Crow creation cycle, nonfiction books for children, and his memoirs, to mention just a few. Medicine Crow’s step-grandfather had been a scout for George Armstrong Custer and an eyewitness to Custer’s Last Stand along the Little Big Horn River, and as a boy Joseph had heard many stories of the battle; today, Medicine Crow is the last living person to have received direct oral testimony from a participant of Little Bighorn, which he has written about in Keep the Last Bullet for Yourself (The True Story of Custer’s Last Stand) and other works.
Medicine Crow has been awarded the American Bronze Star as well as the French Legion of Honor. A White House press release naming Medicine Crow as a recipient of the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom praised him for his “contributions to the preservation of the culture and history of the First Americans,” saying that those achievements are only matched by “his importance as a role model to young Native Americans across the country.” 10/27/11 Writer’s Almanac

need some new gear? be sustainable. buy used.

I just noticed a fellow fly fishing blogger is selling a bunch of great gear for dirt cheap prices. Patagonia is being sustainable and encouraging its customers to resell their goods. Why not do the same from a fellow blogger? Head on over and check it out if you are interested.

Gear includes:

a couple packs, fly rods (tenkara and conventional), rain gear and digital camera with more gear to come.

If I needed a new pack, I’d be all over it, but I’m trying to fix a fly rod right now.


I can’t say for sure what happened.
In fact, I don’t even know why.
I assume somewhere in my back cast,
I hit my rod with my fly. 
When using heavy flies like clousers,
You need to open your loop.
Tight loops can cause collisions,
Breaking rods which makes you feel like poop.
Here is a video addressing how to avoid hitting your rod with your fly, 
and another about casting heavy flies in wind so you don’t have a situation like mine.
As with all situations and the curse of the being an optimist,
There is a silver lining for me.
In shopping for rods I made sure to purchase
One with a “no questions asked” warranty.
Ring…. Ring….. Riiiinggg… “Hello, thank you for calling Wild Water Fly Fishing.
How can I help you?”
“Hi.  It’s me…. I broke my rod again”
“No problem, David! Send it back, and we’ll return it shiny and new”
This stuff just happens. It is good that I have a warranty. It is an ooportunity to thoughtfully evaluate my casting technique. And writing a poem about it makes me less frustrated. So, it isn’t the end of the world. It is just a broken eyelet. 

Specks in Hand

A day off spent on the water. 

The speckled trout will be leaving us soon making way for the striped bass. 

One thing that made yesterday unique was the company. I fished with a buddy from the local fly fishers club. He works in conservation and participates in the Virginia’s fish tagging program. We made sure to measure, record, and tag several specks including one nice 16.5″ fish at the end. 

I practiced a bit more with the camera experimenting with release shots. Fortunately, the fish cooperated as there were plenty of specks in hand. 

Music is by The Flaming Lips, “Fight Test.”

Enjoy the music. Enjoy the fish. Happy Friday. 

Coffee Talk…

I’ll give you a topic:

Last night, I went out for an hour and a half to try and catch a dinner. Mama Holman, did you hear that? I went for the specific purpose of bringing fish back for dinner. Just so you know, I typically let all the fish go. Mostly because it is work to clean them and I have plenty of food in the fridge.

This isn’t a post about my thoughts on catch and release. This is a post about license fees. Since Labor Day, I have noticed a lot of commercial fisherman placing gill nets off shore, and last night, there was a 300 foot net about 50-100 feet in front of the jetty I was fishing. Now I don’t know all the rules about how close you can be to jetties and site specific regulations, but it seemed pretty close to me. Therefore, I looked up the regulations this morning. It turns out, it may be too close (I read something about no closer than 300ft to a bridge or jetty), but that wasn’t what got me thinking.

I pay $17.50 for a saltwater license as a resident of the state of Virginia.

A Virginia resident commercial license is $190. The license fee for one reccreational, 300ft gill net is $9.00 and $24 for one commercial gill net between 600-1200ft. 

I am supportive of responsible commercial fishing, just as I am in favor of responsible farming for corn or cattle or watermelons. I was simply interested in the prices of commercial vs recreational licenses. Is $190 + $24.00 a fair price to be able to harvest fish with a gill net? Given the relative pressure that a commercial fisherman can place on fish populations versus a single recreational fisherman, is that cost an appropriate proportional increase?

local net fisherman pulling up the catch

Okay, don’t get verklempt.  Talk amongst yourselves…

Oh, and did you hear? OBN’s B-day this week. Lots of opportunities to win outdoor gear to review. 
Head on over and see what happens. 

Eastern Shore

When plans change and schedules suddenly open, there is potential. A gift of time and opportunity. Maybe you clean, catch up on paperwork or sleep, get outside or meet up with friends. 

I’ve found, when I come across one of these unexpected free days, I simply hope I can look back when the sun has set and feel satisfied with the outcome. 

I enjoy the feeling of surprised satisfaction. It is like knowing the cookie jar is empty, but looking anyway out of habit, and, after tilting the jar, one last chocolate chip cookie slides out of the ceramic bear’s toes. You now have a second chance at enjoying the cookie. Savor or devour it, that is your choice. When all is said and done, you just hope the cookie was as rich and delicious as you anticipated. 

Last weekend, I found an extra cookie. An unexpected day off. As it turned out, that cookie turned out to be one of the best I’ve had in a while. Why? Let me recap the events for you.

Friday Night
I leave work Friday night after a long shift and even longer week expecting to return at 5am the next morning. At 8pm, I get a phone call saying I don’t have to come in on Saturday. “Take the day off,” they say.  Being that I have the night shift on Sunday, I won’t have to return two work for another 45 hours. 

This is looking like one delicious cookie. 

All of a sudden, Sara and I have a weekend together. We can do whatever we want. This was already all I could hope for, and then I remember a conversation with my fishing buddy, Brad, from the previous week. “I’ve got vacation all next week,” Brad said. “Just let me know if you get a day off and maybe we can get some fishing in.”


I make the call. As it turns out, Brad and his wife, Sue, are heading up to their families place on the Eastern Shore. Invitation extended. Invitation accepted. The plan is to kayak, fish, eat, drink, and play cornhole… That’s what we Midwesterners call Bean-Bag Toss. Personally, calling it “cornhole” makes me a little uncomfortable. It just sounds… well, it sounds like butt hole. No thank you, very much. So we will just say the plan was to play some bean-bag toss which is a fun game. But I digress…

This cookie just got some chocholate chips. 

We were there by lunch. Get the tour. Check. Eat the sandwiches. Check. Ready the boats. Check. Rig up the rods. Check. Push off.

And there is it, a big glass of cold milk next to that gooey, chocolaty, puts-Martha-Stewart-to-shame cookie.
Into the boats.
We paddled through the channels of the marsh. 
Fiddler crabs scurrying over muddy banks and oyster beds.  

Brad, Sara, and Sue.
When we paddled far enough, we walked to the fish. 

Sara and Sue.
The march ecosystem can look desolate and teeming with life all at the same time. 

Brad switches to a spinning rod to find a flounder.
The fish were on. Spec after spec. 
They couldn’t resist the slow retrieve of a self-tied clouser.
Brad landing my catch of the day. 19″ Spec.
Even a perfectly placed drop of water on the camera lens won’t taint the memory of that day.

Heading home.

Sunday saw me back at work. Rejuvenated. Refreshed. Revitalized. Thankful and well fed. That was one spectacular cookie.

Rod Review: Wild Water Fly Fishing 9/10 wt

Well, I finally did it. I bit whatever bullet people refer to when they bite bullets, and bought a saltwater fly rod. I’ve been saving a little money each month. Researching the best options for my price range. Reading reviews. Asking peers. Doing all the things you are supposed to do before making a significant purchase.

The result? I went with an outfit. The 9/10wt 9′ 4 piece Wild Water Fly Fishing Saltwater Starter Package. 

Some things you should know about me before we go any further. I’ve been fly fishing with a pretty flimsy 5wt for most of my fly fishing career. It is a rod I built myself in high school. I’ve have a pflueger reel on it and it has the same floating line on it now that it did when I first spooled it up. I know. I’m terrible. Secondly, I’ve briefly fished with a TFO, Sage and a Martin fiberglass 7-8 weight rods that give me my comparison for this review.

Who is Wild Water Fly Fishing? It is a relatively new company (founded in 2006) founded by Eric Dodds to fill a spot in the market by providing better quality rods for less money. Besides selling to individual buyers, it seems like the company is hoping to fill fly fishing guides’ rod tubes with a quality rod for the …. unpredictable fisherman 🙂

So how did this baby hold up on it’s first outing? In short, outstanding. The rod blank is listed as “slow,” which left me expecting something comparable to my 5wt or the fiberglass. Maybe that was me being naive, but this rod was much faster than I expected. The weight distribution/balance felt very natural, and, when I was able to pull off a decent double haul, the line shot like butter. Smooth.

The cork handle was durable. The reel is sturdy and easy to control. After getting used to the clicking of a pflueger, it is odd to have something so silent. But I liked it. I even dropped the reel on the cement halfway through the day without any consequences (besides just being frustrated with my own foolishness). The rod even held up to a feisty speckled trout that should make its appearance in the next few days…

When I set out to buy a new rod, I wasn’t necessarily looking for an outfit, but I was looking for a couple things in particular. I wanted a heavier weight rod. I wanted to spend less than $150 for a rod and reel. I wanted a 4 piece to make travel easier. I wanted a good warranty. I got all of those things with the Wild Water Rod. It has a lifetime warranty. No questions asked. The only stipulations are that it isn’t transferrable between buyers. You have to register the rod, and it is $35 to get a new rod when you send it in. Maybe not as good as some warranties but much better than others. $35 for a brand new rod is pretty darn sweet. Of course, I hope to avoid it all together 🙂

Was I hesitant buying a brand that wasn’t as well established as say, Redington, for example? Well, yes, a bit. But from the reviews I read, I felt safe with my decision. So far, I have no regrets, and I don’t anticipate any in the future.

Here are the specs from the website:

Complete 9/10 Fly Fishing Starter Package for Saltwater

  • Blank Action: Slow
  • Blank Color: Dark Gray
  • Blank Flex: Mid
  • Length: 9 Feet
  • Line Size: 9 or 10
  • Material: IM6 Graphite
  • Number of Sections: 4
  • Rod Case Length: 31 inches
  • Rod Weight: 6.7 ounces
  • Winding Color: Black

Lifetime Warranty on the rod – not transferrable between owners. You also have to send $35 with the rod when you want it replaced. 
Center disc drag die cast aluminum large arbor reel
Backing and weight forward floating line
9′ 0X tapered leader
Rod Case
Fly box with 3 flies (Candy Eel, Red and White Deceiver, and Swimming Crab)

I also tied several clousers for the outing. Here they are, in all their fluffy glory.