Something Special for the New Year

So, do remember that person in college or high school who would always grab the guitar as the night was fading? You thought, “Oh great. This guy again.  Maybe I can refill my drink or find somewhere else to be for the next 10 minutes.” They might play a couple bad versions of “Wonderwall,” Bon Jovi, or Jack Johnson, eyes closed, looking way too serious. You could sing along a bit but then they’d play an awkward “original” and you’d be stuck, on the sunken couch, too afraid to just get up and walk away.

Well, guess what? I was that whiney guy with the guitar, but, I whine a little less these days. I started playing during high school and got pretty into it for while. I’ve written probably close to 100 songs. Heck, I wrote one for the Owl Jones Rise fishing contest back in 2011, the contest that got me into making fly fishing videos. Thank you, Owl, by the way. (See the whiney song here).

This year, for my 30th birthday, my wife encouraged me to record some of my better songs “just for fun.” Mostly she wanted me to record a song called “I Love July” that I wrote for her early in our relationship and played at our wedding. We had some friends visit this fall and one of them brought some recording equipment. We turned the living room into a studio, and the Dormroom Sessions was born.

On the CD, you’ll find original songs, all written and preformed by me. I personally feel tracks 4, 5 and 6 are the strongest, “Little Red Squirrel” being the one that turned out best, but feel free to prove me wrong.

I hope two things come of this. One, I hope my friends and family and you all enjoy the music. I’ve enjoyed playing and writing for years, and it has been great fun for me. Secondly, I hope this album gets huge in Eastern Europe or Asia
and 2014 is the year of the Dormroom Sessions and I become famous like Jake Bugg or Psy (oops, looks like I dropped a few names there… I might have to pick those up before this page gets associated with those more popular search terms…. or I might just leave them).

Anyway, Happy New Year! I wish you all the best!

Art By an Owl

No, this isn’t “Art by an Owl” where they give an actual feathered owl a paintbrush and have it paint a flower like those elephants in Thailand do. This is art by a person named Owl.

I recently put forth an idea to an up-and-coming young artist that goes by the name of “Owl.” I’m very interested in the different ways people paint fish and trout and Owl has a unique approach that definitely brings a surprisingly unconventional and exciting perspective to these fish. When I asked him if he would be interested in an “art swap,” I wasn’t sure what he would say, because, well, I’m no Owl Jones, but to my surprise he agreed!

I’ve been slowly working through my project called “Painting Through Prosek.” I’ve been painting my acrylic way through Prosek’s book “Trout: An Illustrated History.” I tried extra hard on the brook trout and thought Owl might like this.

Over the next few days, I believe he will be finishing up the project he has been working on for me. I’ve had sneek peeks on his Facebook Page because, well, you see, today is National Owl Jones Art Day. That’s right, he made a day for himself. I can’t believe I didn’t think of such a brilliant idea first 🙂
All I can say to wrap up this post is to support your local artist, fly shop, retailer, farmer and family member. Great things don’t always come from the big stores with low prices. 

Rumor Has it there is a New MLW Video: Does It Get Any Better?

I know. I know. I can’t wait until YGF and SchnitzerPHOTO release their next installment for The Fly Collective. (The first installment rocked.) Rumor has it… (Thank you Adele for ruining that saying for me… rumor has it.. dah dah dah… rumor has it….) anyway, rumor has it Erin Block will be involved. By the transitive property, since they all are amazing, it will be amazing.

But until then, to kill some time (about 3 minutes and 6 seconds to be exact) here is the new My Leaky Waders Video.

Does it Get Any Better? from My Leaky Waders on Vimeo.
My last minute trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains turned into a phenomenally successful outing. The weather was wonderful, and the fish were rising. If “Dry or Die” was my mantra, I’ve never lived more fully.

Please enjoy the bounty of Blue Ridge Brookies taken on Tenkara.

Music: Mike Doughty “Take Me Home, Country Roads”
Food: BBQ Exchange, Gordonsville, Va

Filmed on iphone and goproHD

There you go. By the way, rumor has it Adele is taking up fly fishing.

Look at her. She is either A) stunned and the awesomeness of the video, B) ready to toss off that pashmina for a pair of Patagonia Waders (she seems like a patagonia girl) or C) Thinking, “Man, I wish I had some Owl Jones Art for this blank wall.”

What do you think?

Photo of Adele was graciously provided by a google image search. The rumor that Adele is taking up fly fishing was started by me. I do not know Adele personally, and therefore have no idea what type of waders she would buy. I do “know” YGF, SchnitzerPHOTO, Erin Block, and Owl Jones so I am trying to pimp them.

…. And by “know” them, I mean I’ve commented on their blogs and I’m trying to make myself look cooler by that extremely loose association 🙂

TMF and ZP sightings… Things that never happen to me.

In the time I’ve been blogging, I haven’t really ever run into other bloggers or even signs of their presence in the “real world.” That is, until last weekend. 
Get ready for the hyperlinks…..
So last weekend at the Virginia Coastal Fly Angler’s yearly picnic, Sara and I indulged in more pulled-pork sandwiches and key lime pie than any two people should ever consume, and we sat under the park shelter chatting away about work and fishing with the other club members. To our left, was a pimped out (yes, I said pimped) fishing kayak on display, for what purpose, I did not know. I did notice that there was one attendee I didn’t recognize who was instructing some fellow members on casting a fly rod with authority. 
Come to find out, this was Cory Routh of Ruthless Outdoor Adventures. Today was his day to give a talk on fly fishing from kayaks. Lucky us. 
After a very informative talk and question/answer session, I took a closer look at his boat. After ogling at all the gadgets and gizmos, I noticed his graphite paddle was decorated with a familiar sticker. All of a sudden I had my first Fiberglass Manifesto Sighting. Nice. 

Oh, but wait, there’s more. My second sighting was moments away.

I starting chatting with Cory. (He is a top notch guy, by the way. I hope I can fish with him in the future). We were talking fishing, blogging, kayaks, and then I noticed him breaking down the rod he was casting. Well, not the rod, but the fly in particular. I asked him if I could see it. He then said, “Those are the toughest poppers I’ve ever had…”

My response? “Is that a Zazzy Pop?!”

It was indeed. The one and only. We want on talking about them and how he was hoping to get them stocked in the new fishing section at Wild River Outfitters in Virginia Beach. In my mind, all I could think about was, way to go, Owl

Zazzy Pop: The Toughest Popper 

Cory Ruth Holding his Zazzy Pop,
TFM Kayak in the background.

It’s like I’m Harry Potter

The Owl Post (mail) came today. I feel like Harry Potter.
Had I the time or skill,
I would have changed the name and address to my own.
Owl Jones held a video contest for an Orvis Sling Pack. Did I need another pack of any sort? Of course not. My justification was that my current favorite pack is a blaze orange Lowe Alpine fanny pack. I use it like a sling pack. I figured this might be a nice opportunity to acquire something more official and less blaze orange
So yesterday, the mail arrived. Stuffing my box was a happy package. I’m not sure how the Owl opened the mailbox with its talons, but I assume it took some tricky foot work. They must do karaoke (the foot work drill, not the drunken bar entertainment… though I suppose a drunk walk could look like the drill, but I digress.)

Here is what I found in the package:

Zazzy Poppers! These are, honestly, quite awesome.

See, it looks pretty snazzy, eh?

Orvis Sling Packin’: entry for Owl Jones giveaway

Here is my entry for a video contest over at Owl Jones dot com

The Goal: “Make a funny video telling us why you deserve our extra Orvis Sling Pack.”

The result: See below. Instead of telling you, I tried to show you my denial and, therefore, show you my need for the pack.

The second result: I had fun and a good laugh thinking up some bad ideas. Just be happy the “peeing buckets of water” scene didn’t make the cut 🙂

The "Day Off" Post: Zubaz and Fly Tying

First things first. Business.  I wanted to share a cool fly I discovered recently. I learned about “the Stimulator” (credit is given to Randall Kaufmann as the creator) in the April-May issue of Fly Fisherman Magazine. They featured and excerpt from the book The Orvis Guide to Essential American Flies by Tom Rosenbauer. I posted a picture of a few I tied here in a recent post. 

The Stimulator is a “match all” fly that can be fished in small mountain brookie streams, big Rocky Mtn rivers, and everywhere in between. The article states the fly, tied in many sizes, with variations in color and body, can effectively mimic stoneflies, caddis, grasshoppers, and even Hex mayflies.

*** If you want the tying recipe and/or instructions, I’m more than happy to send them along.
Now, the recipe calls for elk hair in this fly. I actually don’t have any. What I do have is a wooden pallet with some deer hide glued to it. My now 92 year old grandpa sent me that in the mail…. He cut the hide off of a roadkill deer. The lesson I learned from my grandpa: Don’t let anything go to waste. Awesome. 
The article does show a few variant options for the flies and it also gives a guide on what to look for in quality elk hair.

see the note at the top? don’t worry, I remembered to email my mom. 

I am excited to put this fly to work some time soon.

Now, it is time to talk about something really, really important. As you may have noticed, the wife and I came up with a new logo this weekend. I really like it. I wanted a silhouette of a me (from a video screenshot. can you figure out which one?) with waders colored like water. The picture in my mind seemed so cool. But, since I lack the computer design skills, I was struggling to make the image a reality. I wanted it to be simple, sleek and recognizable, like Sander’s Poudre Bulldog or Yuke’s “YGF” or the T! or Owl’s face (and owl)… So recognizable.

After several frustrating hours, the leaky waders man was born. I added the water ripple marks at his feet. Sara came up with the idea of the design for abstract water on the pants. I added the very very simple fly rod. And just like that, it was completed. My vision had been realized. As Morgan would say, “Boom!”

But that is not where the story ends. It picks up this morning when I was hit unexpectedly with a hilarious realization. My “Leaky Man” is wearing Zubaz
As you can see, there is not much difference here. Now, if I remember my 5th grade hockey tourney days correctly, Zubaz were great for wearing over shin pads, sleeping in, and playing shinny hockey in the hotel hallways. They were not great for keeping you dry…. Now that I think of it, they would be a nice base layer beneath some waders….
Now, I will admit, there was a sudden rush of fear, and even embarrassment. I just slow-pitched myself right over the plate for several wisecracks, not that I hadn’t already by calling the logo  “the leaky man” (let the enlarged prostate jokes commence), but still. I admit, i worried for a second. 
Then I realized something. I’m in pretty good company with these Zubaz. Some pretty awesome people have been caught wearing these bad boys.  How about that Dan Marino, eh?  He’s even bold enough to sport the Zubaz shorts. 

And then, of course, there is John Daly. Any time you can place yourself in the same category as that guy, you can pretty much assume you’ve reached the pinnacle of success….. Well, maybe….

But really, The Dude wears them…. This logo mishap can’t be that bad. Can it?

Well, if you find yourself asking, “Where can I get a pair of these cool, cozy, dare-to-be-different pants? Surely they still don’t sell these.” You know what, they do still sell them, and you can find them here at the Zubaz website
I’m going to go right out there and say it, I support the Leaky Man and his right to sport the Zubaz. I may just have to pick myself up a pair, in blue, of course.

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.

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?

Things of an Owlie Nature

I love getting mail. Let me rephrase that. I love getting pertinent, enjoyable mail. Opening a letter from friend or family is always fun. Opening a package is even more exciting. Especially when you are not sure what is inside.

I came in 2nd place in the Rise Fishing Giveaway contest help by Owl Jones. Yesterday, I found a package leaning against my door, waiting for me to come home.

Inside I found a new Morell magnetic fly box, about 15 hand tied flies made by none other than Owl Jones himself (guaranteed to catch fish), a beautiful brook trout pin, a retracting tool holder, and a fancy Rise Fishing Co. decal sticker.

Other Owl related items. Mr. Jones is working on a Fly Fishing Across America trip this summer. What I like most about it (besides wishing it was me going on the journey) is that he is trying to connect with other outdoor bloggers along the way. There already is an OBN summer rendezvous scheduled and I believe his plan is to stop by that as well. Since this is Owl Jones we are talking about, he will be filming the entire thing. I am imagining an epic hour long movie showing us the fun and beauty of fly fishing in state after state.

Anyway, I’m supporting this trip, in writing and with a small monetary donation (money should never stand in the way of a dream. It is a real world reality, but a silly one). I’m posting a link on the side of my page, an Owl Jones one and hope you have a moment to check him out. As he says, at the very least, he is entertaining.