Hello, New Year

Reflecting on last year’s goal, it looks like things went pretty well.  In looking back over my last few months of posts, I feel pretty good about the content. I think they represent me well. I like music, fishing, poetry, and video/photography. I think the posts have started to reflect that. I wish I were a better writer.  I wish I could write introspective stories like Gierach or some of the great bloggers like  EMB, or Sanders. Maybe that will be the goal for next year. Do not waste words. Use them with purpose. Adjectives aren’t always necessary. I will continue fishing, filming, shooting (photography), and sharing music, but on top of that, I will try to hone my writing skills. More specifically, writing related to fishing.

So there it is, my goal for 2012: Learn to write a fish story. 

*** Okay, so I’ll add a few more so we can have a list:

1. Learn to write a fish story.
2. Continue reading and supporting my fellow bloggers.
3. Continue sharing through video and photography my fishing experiences.
4. Catch a red fish.
5. Catch a tarpon.
6. Catch a 20+ lbs striper.
7. Return to Shenandoah to try tenkara fly fishing.
8. Try kayak fishing.
9. Catch a 12″ brookie in Virginia

Last year’s goals are below with the results. 
1. (X)Truly understand the spey verses one-handed debate. – Okay, so was a kind of a joke, but I did try to understand how passionate fly fishers can be about their preferences for fishing, whether that be spey, tenkara, or strict dry fliers. 

2. (-)Fly fish Minnesota’s Driftless area. – Oh man. I was so close. I could have done this. I even had an offer from Justin at WFF to come fish with him. Unfortunately, it was just too close to moving day. Chances of it happening this year? Not great. But I am heading back to Mn/Wi in April…. Maybe I can figure out a quick trip.

3. (-)Fly fish during an explosive hatch. – Another No. When I fished the Big Horn in Montana last spring, we just didn’t hit the right conditions. That being said, I did manage to fish some busting false albacore that might be a saltwater equivalent.

4. (X) Be more like Phil Dunfee: “I’m a cool dad, that’s my thang. I’m hip, I surf the web, I text. LOL: laugh out loud, OMG: oh my god, WTF: why the face.” – This was a shoe in. Phil and I just have the same sense of humor. 

5. (X)Tie flies to match a hatch. – Montana worked in my favor here. Red midges pupae. Easiest thing to tie but we hammered the fish.

6. (X)Blog 2 poems per month (minimum). – I think I was pretty close on this one. At least to the point that I’m happy with my effort. I often write things that don’t get posted as well, so it may not show on the page. 

7. (X)Organize/create my tying bench. – organize… ha. no. create… well I suppose. it is a door as a table and a bucket for a seat. I’m watching craigslist and curbsides for a possible replacement.

8. (X)Take better pictures of my fishing outings. – I think I was able to accomplish this. That being said, video took a much larger role this year. It has been fun shooting and editing fish outings and trying to keep up with this guy 🙂

9. (x)During intern year, when I have a chance to fish, spend that time with my wife instead. Not every time, but at least once 🙂  – I would say I did this. Since moving to Virginia, I’ve found much more fishing opportunities than in Nebraska, and I’ve made a point to spend time with Sara instead. 

10. (X)No matter where I match for residency, find some local fishing. – Check. So much fishing here.   It is a bummer that many of the fish require a boat. But no worries. I’m still planning on getting that big striper and redfish. With or without the boat.
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Blog Suggestion: Winona Fly Factory

As things stay crazy through December, I’ve had less and less time to read the blogs I enjoy, tie flies, and find fish. One blog I try to return to from time to time for inspiration is Winona Fly Factory (WFF)

I have a soft spot for WFF because Winona, Minnesota is near my home town in the Driftless Area of Minnesota. Justin, the author, is a spectacular fisherman, fly tier, and writer. He documents his trips through and tying so well with detailed descriptions and great photos. 

Fly Night

Last night, we explored. We searched for the wind protected spots. Beneath bridges. In Marinas. At the yacht club. Looking for light lines where stripped bass would be waiting in the shadows. Waiting to ambush bait fish with poor attentions spans. The minute the bait fish lets itself get too close to the dark water… BAM! It exists no longer. It is now a part of the rock fish.

I had to retie some tippet before we left. As a refresher, I searched for some diagrams on the nail-less nail knot and perfection loop. I came across these helpful diagrams over at Jason Borger’s place, Fish, Flies and Water. (He drew them himself).

Step 1. Make a loop in the leader material, then wind the short end of the leader around the fly line and through the loop. Wind the short end up the fly line. Drawing by Jason Borger

Steps 2 & 3. Simultaneously pull and twist ONLY the short end of the leader to spin the knot over. Don’t over tighten. Slide the mono coils down toward the end of the line, push them together while gently drawing out the extra mono, then tighten firmly (really firmly) and clip off the ends. Drawing by Jason Borger

If you want to avoid having the butt end of you fly line catch on the guides, there is this option. I didn’t do this, but it is a cool idea.

Step 1. Insert a needle into the end of the fly line about 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch, and then out the side. Allow the needle to remain in place for a couple of minutes so the plastic of the line will stretch a bit. Drawing by Jason Borger
Step 2. Trim the end of the mono to a point, pull the needle out, and thread the mono in the end of the fly line and out the side. Now tie a Nailess Nail Knot. Notice that the leader now comes right out of the center of the fly line. This connection will flow through the guides very smoothly. Drawing by Jason Borger
Perfection Loop.

So after all that preparation, we struggled to find the fish. We had to stay away from the CBBT because of the wind. It turned out to be our last effort where we found the busting fish. Many were out of reach, but Kevin was able to hook up and solidify this as my new “go to” spot at night.

Blurry Kevin. Blurry Fish. Crystal Clear Memory.

Dive in.

I’ve got to bust down the stairs in about two minutes.
I’m flurrying through these words.
I want to tell you things are fine.
It is going to be a good night.
I’ll get some dinner, at least a granola bar.
I don’t expect sleep.
I don’t expect peace.
I expect work.
But just for now, I’m taking two minutes

to take a deep breath and smile.

A song like this will get me through the night.

*** awesome giveaway at tight lined tales of a fly fisherman…. okay, actually it is at TFM. 12 days of christmas with what sounds like some pretty awesome stuff.