Gray Skies, Brown Trout

Things are getting a little out of hand. The excuses to fish are becoming easier to find. The need to make these flicks is getting harder to resist. Oh well. As long as I can keep up with my other responsibilities, there’s no harm in having a hobby, right? Right 🙂

I guess the question is, when is it a hobby, and when is it an obsession?

Music by Ray Lamontagne: “Repo Man”

Tips from a Little Birdie

I recently got some great tips regarding small stream/mountain trout fishing. As this is all new to me, I gladly welcome all advice I can get!  We’ll get back to that in a minute. 

First off, business: 
1. Fly Fishing Journal is hosting a their “Smolt of the Month” contest. Send in your pics of your tiniest trophies, and be entered to win a sweet water bottle, t-shirt, subscription to FFJ, and a sticker of some sort. I’ve entered a little guy I hauled in on my recent SNP trip
2. Mr. Owl Jones is holding a neat give-a-way. The premise is to draw a fellow blogger from a list provided. This could get interesting. I know we have some creative people out there. 
3. Mr. O.J. (no, not that “OJ.” Owl Jones), is also getting things ready for his big “Angling Across America” trip coordinated with Trout Unlimited and Outdoor Blogger Network’s Montana Giveaway. I think there is still time to get over there and see if you are on the route. If so, you can contact him and try to hook a brotha’ up by showing him some of your local fishing spots. 
Okay… Now to the tips.  Obviously, with most things fishing, personal preference plays a big role. That being said, I thought these were pretty great.  What do you think? Any invaluable tips you’ve learned that are worth sharing?

1. No bright colors, including white. CAMO is best. It seems like overkill, but why chance it. 

2. Use trees, rocks, whatever to hide behind when you can. 

3. Keep dry flies soaked in floatant. Too much is better than too little in these creeks. you want that fly to float high. ( I recommend Dave’s Bug Float.) ( D. Nash – keep false casts to a minimum!!)

4. Move slowly. Plan each attack with care. 

5. Fish the water you don’t think is deep enough to hold trout – esp. the water just in front of a tail-out. Browns love to hold there, just before the water spills over into the next pool or run. 

6. Fish in front of rocks in the stream, not just behind them. Trout will hold in front where there is a cushion of water to give them a break. 

7. Wear a watch. Know when the sun goes down. Always take extra water – NEVER, EVER drink from any stream, even if it looks crystal clear. (D. Nash – can you say Giardia? how about Beaver Fever?)

8. Use a small #16 Stimulator or tan/brown EHC 80% of the time. ( Sorry, that’s just me! haha )

9. Learn to bow-and-arrow cast and roll cast. It will keep you out of the trees and fishing more.

10. Don’t overlook “back eddies” where the water spins around and (sometimes) foam forms. 

11. Keep your casts short. Learn to high-stick. 

12. If dead drifting doesn’t work, dance the fly on the water. Move it. Skate it. Sometimes movement will trigger them to hit.

13. Cast OVER rocks when approaching a new pool if the current is going to give you “instant drag.” Casting over a rock will give you a few extra inches of drift if you do it right, and sometimes that’s all it takes. 
14. Don’t “mulligan” a cast. If you make a bad cast, and the fly drags….just let it fish out and drift down to you before picking up for a roll cast back into the run or pool. If you snatch the line back up and it sprays water, you might as well move on to the next run. 

15. 5 or 6 casts and move, move, move. No need to flog a small pool for 10 minutes. If they’re going to bite – 5 or 6 good casts will be enough. 

16. Fish near the roads. I think so much emphasis now is put on “getting away from the roads” that the sections of creek in the most obvious places are fished less than the stuff that’s a mile or less from the roads. 

As a fun game, why don’t you go back and watch the brookie video I previously posted and see how many of those rules I broke keeping in mind I edited out the bad stuff… You know what, I’ll save you the trouble. I thing I disregarded about all of them. Anything I did well was completely unintentional.

Thanks for the tips, Owl. What about you? Any advice you’ve learned the hard way?

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.

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.

My Leaky Wader Heaven – Let’s Recycle

Well, folks, my waders have caught a glimpse of the light. They might survive their battle a little longer, but we know where the will end up.
Moving across strong, untouched Salmon waters in Alaska. Delicately stalking brookies in toothpick-sized waters in the Wyoming back country. Chasing browns in Utah canyons or on the mighty Big Horn. Fighting grizzlies for the fish in Kamchtka or teaming up with Owl Joneson the Southern Blue Ridge.
Yes, my actual leaky waders (not the website or myself in 3rd person) may just end up in any of these places. They will be reborn and find new life through an avenue I have only, just now, come to discover.
I would like to introduce to you Recycled Waders. It is a small company that brings a second existence to your unintentionally-H2O absorbent breathable waders. They take your breathable waders and either create something for you (at a very reasonable price), or for someone else. This includes Tippet Wallets, Creels, Shoulder or Hip Packs, and even Reel Cases. So whether you are looking to set your waders free or get sentimental and hang on to those puppies a little longer, here is a cool way to do it.

photo by Dave McCoy and Ashwin Rao
I myself and debating on just donating versus purchasing a bag of some sort. Ideally, I would have a bag made from my own material, but we’ll just have to see if they accept the amount of sealant I’ve got laced on those bad boys.
Anyway, a cool company and great idea to delay creating something useful out of those water pants we keep hanging on to.
I’ll let you know when my leaky waders have moved on from this plane and become something new 🙂 In other words, I’ll tell you when I change my wet pants.

My Leaky Waders are Heading to Virginia this Summer!

Well, gentle-ladies and gentle-men, the decision has been made. I matched yesterday into the field of my choice! Ophthalmology. I submitted a list of the programs I interviewed at ranking them from top to bottom, and a computer matched me with Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia!

Now I need to learn about fishing out there. I know they have a lot of water. There must be fish, right? I’ve found one guy on OBN, The Grey Sulphur, who is a fly fisherman in western Virginia (not West Virginia). Maybe I’ll snoop around his page a bit. Or just ask him what the deal-ee-o is.
Sara and I won’t be heading out there until June/July, but once there, it will be 4 years. So I have all that time to figure out the fly fishing in Virginia. If anyone has any tips, pointers, hints, suggestions, food for thought, grievances, and so on regarding fly fishing in Virginia, please, let me know! I’d love to hear what you have to say 🙂

That’s My Blog’s Name.

Since joining the Outdoor Blogger Network, I’ve been propelled into an online community of bloggers that are more creative than I can imagine. It is awesome. I am quickly realizing the beauty of the OBN blog prompts. This helps us all stay fresh and continue to contribute to our online passion catalogs.

That being said, the latest of the prompts has us telling secrets and swapping lies of our past and shedding light on the roots of our names. Blog names for some. Contrary to the AWESOME song by the Ting Tings, “That’s Not My Name,” My Leaky Waders is my blog’s name. Listen to the song; it rocks. (nice semi-colon, huh?)
Now, like many others, the name of my blog is not shrouded in mystery. It is pretty darn obvious that I am the proud owner of a pair of 10-year-old waders that have seams like the US-Canada boarder (I actually have no idea regarding the status of our boarder to the North, but am instead reaching for humor) and material with sieve-like properties that rival my dismal college hockey statistics.
These bad boys are easily filled with 2-3 liters of water after an afternoon in the Nebraska lakes I’ve been fishing lately. Why do I keep them? I’m cheap. It’s more wet than cold. I’m poor. I haven’t fished enough in the last couple years to justify new ones. And I’m cheap.
I came up with the name while on a night shift in the ER this past summer, and it stuck with me. I am, indeed, cursed with optimism, and this also seemed like a general theme for me. Things never go perfectly or as planned. Waders are not meant to last forever, and they will leak. All of them. I’m positive of it. That being said, it doesn’t have to ruin the day or the outing. I am choosing to embrace it.
Still, I do have my eye on the exact pair I am waiting to purchase. I’m hoping a coupon comes in the mail soon, to help me out. Or I find an extra $100 in the mail. *hint hint* To send money to me in the mail, ask for my address.