Saturday, June 28, 2008

Don't Insult the Trout

If our father had had his say, nobody who did not know how to catch a fish would be allowed to disgrace a fish by catching him.
Norman Maclean
"A River Runs Through It"

As I stumble through this angling life I've found that there are few absolutes in fly fishing.
Yes, of course, there are certain commandments that one does not break...ever. Commandments like not cutting off a fellow angler by stepping below him, a commandment I see broken all too often unfortunately. What I'm talking about is the things in the pursuit of trout that are just done and not strayed from.
I think using an indicator for trout is an insult to the trout! There I said and I'm sticking to it. I mean come on guys is that really that much fun? Sure it's effective but so is putting shrimp scent on your fly but anyone who calls themselves a fly fisherman and does this is really beyond contempt don't you think?

An indicator immediately destroys any kind of graceful casting. It makes, what should be a challenge into little more than bobber and jig fishing. No thanks I say, because isn't fly fishing supposed to be kind of a graduate school for anglers?
I took a trip last summer with some of my friends from my fly club to a Willamette Valley river. It has a pretty good rainbow and cutthroat trout population and they can be taken rather easily on dry or wet flies. As we were rigging up for our day of fishing I noticed that every one of them, except myself, installed an indicator with tiny split shot on their leaders!!!! I just shrugged, to myself of course, and headed for the river. I allowed one of these fellows, all great guys by the way all though misguided, the best part of the run where I had success before while fishing soft hackles and dries.
Sure enough one them hooks up with a very nice rainbow measuring about seventeen inches. He got it fishing some kind of nymph or whatever, under and indicator.
Thoroughly disgusted at myself for allowing such an insult to the trout, I set off upstream to try my luck away from these unwashed cretins.
To not come off sounding too much like Henning Hale Orviston of "The River Why" fame I must admit that I once dabbled into the paganism and debauchery that is indicator fly fishing. I found it unwieldy and generally a pain in the ass to put it bluntly. I had served my angling apprenticeship with all the bait,scent, lead and bobbers so decided to travel that road less travelled that I have alluded to in the past. I fear I might have offended some you heathen indicator tossing brethren and to that I offer apologies to you....well not really but it seemed I should offer something at least.
So to my superior and more highly evolved fly fishing comrades I raise my tumbler of single malt and smoke a fine Monte Cristo to you fellows. Alas it's not easy to be an elitist so I will instead toast you with stale Pabst and a White Owl instead.
Cheers and good fishing to all who navigate the road less travelled including you indicator guys.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Gonna Miss Ya George

I just learned of the death of comedian George Carlin. I bought one of his early comedy albums " AM FM " and never laughed so hard in my life. His irreverant commentary on everyday life and his twisted reasonings were timeless...I will miss him

Here are a few of his best

Always do whatever's next.

At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom.

Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth.

Death is caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over a long period of time.

Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

Dusting is a good example of the futility of trying to put things right. As soon as you dust, the fact of your next dusting has already been established.

Electricity is really just organized lightning.

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.

Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck.

Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?

"I am" is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that "I do" is the longest sentence?

I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don't have as many people who believe it.

I recently went to a new doctor and noticed he was located in something called the Professional Building. I felt better right away.

I think it would be interesting if old people got anti-Alzheimer's disease where they slowly began to recover other people's lost memories.

I think people should be allowed to do anything they want. We haven't tried that for a while. Maybe this time it'll work.

I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me - they're cramming for their final exam.

I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, "Where's the self-help section?" She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.

I would never want to be a member of a group whose symbol was a guy nailed to two pieces of wood.

I'm always relieved when someone is delivering a eulogy and I realize I'm listening to it.

I'm completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.

I'm not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose... it'll be much harder to detect.

If God had intended us not to masturbate he would've made our arms shorter.

If it's true that our species is alone in the universe, then I'd have to say the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.

If we could just find out who's in charge, we could kill him.

If you can't beat them, arrange to have them beaten.

In comic strips, the person on the right always speaks first.

Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist.

Just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn't mean the circus has left town.

May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house.

Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.

Not only do I not know what's going on, I wouldn't know what to do about it if I did.

One can never know for sure what a deserted area looks like.

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.

People who say they don't care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don't care what people think.

Religion is just mind control.

Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don't have time for all that.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dry Fly Perfection

I think one of the biggest thrills in fly fishing is a trout violently grabbing a dry fly on the surface. There is just something about the sudden flash and realization that you did everything right and fooled this trout into thinking, if trout are capable of thinking that is, that your little bit of fur and feathers is something edible.

Last week while plying my craftiness and immense angling skills on an Oregon coastal stream for cutthroat trout, I achieved "Dry Fly Perfection"
The trout were not interested in anything subsurface like my favorite soft hackle offerings but there was a couple trout slurping Mays and yellow stones off the surface. I proceeded to tie on a #14 Royal Humpy to see if it could fool a cutt into eating it.
Sure enough the fly was not on the water two seconds until a large resident cutthroat inhaled it.
The fish did all the normal things these great trout do and what gives me so much pleasure in pursuing them. Spectacular leaps and runs that really pushed my four weight to it's limit.
I brought him in and with a slight pull the barbless hook was out and he was gone to contemplate his sore lip.
I really believe that fishing for trout with a dry fly is fly fishing at it's purest and most basic form. No gadgets or weight forward lines or weighted fly just the line leader and fly...nothing else. It just cannot get any simpler than that can it?
Dry fly fishing must surely be a big reason that this sport so endearing to so many and I wish I were better at it. It's not, however, just tossing your fake bug out there and hoping for the best. You have to make this floating imposter look like a natural insect so manipulating the line in order to produce that elusive and much sought after drag free drift is the key.
Surely this must be what Gingrich was thinking about when he titled his book "The Joy of Trout". Is there anything more joyful than making the perfect connection? When all the stars in the cosmos line up correctly and you put it all together....ah perfection!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Can I Super Size That For You?

So here we sit looking into the abyss that is the current salmon runs on the west coast. We can point fingers at so many things like El Nino or pinniped predation or hydro electric dams or over harvest by commercial and sports fishing interests and all have played a part in the current down turn to be sure.
When things were fat and a lot of salmon and steelhead were returning everyone was happy and everybody got their share of the salmon pie.
Seems like there were new fishing "superstars" everywhere and the number of "expert" guides increased ten fold. The builders of fishing boats and fishing tackle manufacturers reaped the rewards of the years of plenty.
These boom years and the emergence of the world wide web spawned more than a few fishing forums that cashed in on the good fishing.
So let's fast forward to less than ten years later and see what we have. Of course there is even more bickering and infighting amongst the various users groups and with few exceptions the internet fishing forums have petered out.Many of those self proclaimed angling "experts" have vanished.
I will not be surprised if I see a few of the Tillamook bait guides flipping burgers at The Fern restaurant or maybe ushering at the downtown Tillamook movie house in the near future. Yes these carpetbaggers from the Willamette Valley have found that the well is running dry and all those dark hen chinook they kept and discarded the unfit for the table carcasses simply for the eggs has finally caught up with them.Is it any wonder that the owner of, a business that has benefited greatly from those fat years of salmon returns, has hinted about selling the popular fishing forum?
It's kind of too bad for some businesses though. There are some that were friends of the resource, unlike those previously mentioned, who will lose out. I'm not totally heartless you see.
During those boom years we would seldom see most of those previously mentioned guides and businesses at important public meetings concerning fisheries. Oh yeah they would be at the ones that served their own selfish interests but when it came to the real conservation stuff they were all no shows!
With the bloated budget of ODFW surely to find the scissors of the governor of this state maybe just maybe we will see some of the worthless and wild fish killing programs die a painful death. Those programs like the steelhead broodstock programs will not go easily though and those who have made a bunch of cash on the backs of wild fish will not give up without a fight.
I will not mourn however, I knew these times were coming and not because I am especially enlightened or anything. I saw it from the perspective of conservation and anyone without any self serving agenda could see the same thing.
So friends don't feel too bad for those that hastened the downturn because after all they did their part to bring us where we are today.I can hear them saying it now "Would you like french fries with that order sir?" I call that poetic justice!

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Quiet Pool Turns Two!!!!

This little blog is officially two years old! To those of you that have been faithful followers of my often incendiary rants and musings I say thank you. I know some if not most stumble upon this blog by accident but some have followed this faithfully since it's inception.
I started this blog as just a way to write down my thoughts and opinions. I have not always been politically correct and I must confess that at least some of that has been intentional.
I'm sure a few have been offended but like I've said before everything I write here has been based on facts and not just something I've pulled out of mid air. I don't believe that feelings should be spared when it comes to matters of conservation. We cannot afford to be nice that way.
I have no idea who the many readers from right here in the Pacific northwest are but if you care about conservation and the beauty of fly fishing then a thank you to you also.
I know there are detractors among the countless millions (yeah right)of you readers out there and hopefully I have not offended you to the point of murderous thoughts. Keep reading though as I am sure we have some common ground somewhere.
To all who care about pristine waters and healthy runs of wild trout and salmon please continue to do your part. We cannot let up for one second in the ongoing struggle to protect our precious natural resources.
So hopefully friends this little wayside among the madness of the worldwide web will continue.
It costs me nothing but a small amount of time. Thank you again for the words of encouragement I've received along the way. Thank you for putting up with bad punctuation,run on sentences and bad spelling. Hope to see at least some of you along the river sometime.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

True in 1968 and True Today...The Words of Robert F. Kennedy

Today marks the fortieth anniversary of the assassination of Robert Kennedy.While we can only speculate about what a second Kennedy administration would have meant for this country. We can appreciate his words of hope in a tumultuous time. His words are as relevant today as they were back in 1968.

This is a speech given by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. reflecting on his father. These words by RFK were ahead of their times and could easily be said by anyone sick and tired of George Bush's folly in Iraq.

In 1968, my father, running for President, addressed in a speech, the White House's proposal for a troop surge in Vietnam. Robert Kennedy had initially supported the U.S. intervention in Vietnam. Forty years later, as Congress and the White House debate the further escalation of yet another war that has already claimed the lives of an astounding 640,000 Iraqis, killed 3,256 U.S. soldiers and wounded another 50,000, his words should have special resonance to those of our political leaders who are still searching for the right course in Iraq:

"I do not want--as I believe most Americans do not want--to sell out American interests, to simply withdraw, to raise the white flag of surrender. That would be unacceptable to us as a country and as a people. But I am concerned--as I believe most Americans are concerned--that the course we are following at the present time is deeply wrong. I am concerned--as I believe most Americans are concerned--that we are acting as if no other nations existed, against the judgment and desires of neutrals and our historic allies alike. I am concerned--as I believe most Americans are concerned--that our present course will not bring victory; will not bring peace; will not stop the bloodshed; and will not advance the interests of the United States or the cause of peace in the world. I am concerned that, at the end of it all, there will only be more Americans killed; more of our treasure spilled out; and because of the bitterness and hatred on every side of this war, more hundreds of thousands of [civilians] slaughtered; so they may say, as Tacitus said of Rome: "They made a desert, and called it peace." . . .

"The reversals of the last several months have led our military to ask for more troops. This weekend, it was announced that some of them--a "moderate" increase, it was said--would soon be sent. But isn't this exactly what we have always done in the past? If we examine the history of this conflict, we find the dismal story repeated time after time. Every time--at every crisis--we have denied that anything was wrong; sent more troops; and issued more confident communiques. Every time, we have been assured that this one last step would bring victory. And every time, the predictions and promises have failed and been forgotten, and the demand has been made again for just one more step up the ladder. But all the escalations, all the last steps, have brought us no closer to success than we were before. . . . And once again the President tells us, as we have been told for twenty years, that "we are going to win"; "victory" is coming. . . . It becoming more evident with every passing day that the victories we achieve will only come at the cost of the destruction for the nation we once hoped to help. . . .

"Let us have no misunderstanding. [They] are a brutal enemy indeed. Time and time again, they have shown their willingness to sacrifice innocent civilians, to engage in torture and murder and despicable terror to achieve their ends. This is a war almost without rules or quarter. There can be no easy moral answer to this war, no one-sided condemnation of American actions. What we must ask ourselves is whether we have a right to bring so much destruction to another land, without clear and convincing evidence that this is what its people want. But that is precisely the evidence we do not have. . . .

"The war, far from being the last critical test for the United States, is in fact weakening our position in Asia and around the world, and eroding the structure of international cooperation which has directly supported our security for the past three decades. . . . All this bears directly and heavily on the question of whether more troops should now be sent--and, if more are sent, what their mission will be. We are entitled to ask--we are required to ask--how many more men, how many more lives, how much more destruction will be asked, to provide the military victory that is always just around the corner, to pour into this bottomless pit of our dreams? But this question the administration does not and cannot answer. It has no answer--none but the ever-expanding use of military force and the lives of our brave soldiers, in a conflict where military force has failed to solve anything yet. . . .

"But the costs of the war's present course far outweigh anything we can reasonably hope to gain by it, for ourselves or for the people of Vietnam. It must be ended, and it can be ended, in a peace of brave men who have fought each other with a terrible fury, each believing he and he alone was in the right. We have prayed to different gods, and the prayers of neither have been answered fully. Now, while there is still time for some of them to be partly answered, now is the time to stop. . . .

"You are the people, as President Kennedy said, who have "the least ties to the present and the greatest ties to the future." I urge you to learn the harsh facts that lurk behind the mask of official illusion with which we have concealed our true circumstances, even from ourselves. Our country is in danger: not just from foreign enemies; but above all, from our misguided policies--and what they can do to the nation that Thomas Jefferson once told us was the last, best hope of man. There is a contest on, not for the rule of America, but for the heart of America. . . . I ask you to go forth and work for new policies--work to change our direction--and thus restore our place at the point of moral leadership, in our country, in our hearts, and all around the world."