Field and Stream Christmas 1952
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By C. Clement Trout
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and we all felt a shiver,
Not a creature was, stirring… ‘specially not in the river.
The waders were hung in the garage with great care,
Though I figured next spring, I’d still need a new pair.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of casting loops danced through their heads.
Ma asked me aloud if I’d let the dog out,
As I sucked on mint candy, and tied dry flies for trout.
When out on the porch I heard such a loud bump,
It startled me silly, and made my hands jump.
I spat out a peppermint, feeling angry and dumb,
With a size 14 dry fly hook stuck through my thumb.
I thought, as I screwed the cap back on my glue,
“This damn well better not be a lit bag of dog-poo!”
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But three flats boats, four guides, and six cases of beer!
You found me! Thank goodness! You’re granting my wish!
I said to the fat one… You must be Saint Fish!
He smiled at me softly; the guides took off their hats,
“Pack up the whole family, we’re going down to the flats.”
He slid his sunglasses down the bridge of his nose,
And he gave me a wink, which tingled my toes.
On Bonefish! On Tarpon! On Redfish! On Jacks!
Get your rods, and your reels, and your flies, and gear packs!
Then he raised up his arms, and made two magic skiffs fly,
So they cruised and they waited, way up there in the sky.
He let out a laugh, which made his gut shimmy,
I said, “Wait, one more thing… I just gotta call Timmy.”
“You can bring him along, if he packs his stuff fast,
He can take pictures, hang out, maybe learn how to cast!”
Now sometimes, when you’re happy, you say things like a fool,
And I did, telling St. Fish, “Man, you’re totally cool.”
He was dressed for the tropics, from the cap on his head,
To the loose shirt, his baggy shorts, and flip-flops (all red).
He had a candy-cane push-pole that he used on his boat,
And his beard was all stringy, like a sun-baked old goat.
His eyes were quite squinty, and his skin looked like leather,
And he said, “Let’s get going, gotta stay ahead of the weather.”
So we climbed on the boat, I held everyone near,
And he fired up that outboard (he isn’t into reindeer).
Then we sped through the moonlight, and got Ellie and Tim,
And for one little moment, the happy mood turned to grim.
As we crested the clouds, and swooped up through the fog,
I wondered aloud, “Who will cover the blog?”
Now you know where I went; I just gave you the reason,
And St. Fish, said he’d grant you good luck all next season.
But don’t worry if I spend a few days out of sight…
From Fly Talk, Happy Christmas, and to all a good night!
Our friend Joe Cermele over at The Honest Angler provided us with an insightful, time-saving, knowledge gleaning post a couple of days ago on proper fish cleaning techniques. Yeah, that's right an entire post - and a long one at that.
Kirk and I decided to save Joe a little time and after viewing this commercial via our friends over at Busterwantstofish.com picked up the phone and ordered Joe a Wunder Boner for Christmas.
Who needs TMZ? For the real gossip skinny on the flyfishing world, just check out this latest juicy tidbit from our good pal Tom Bie at The Drake. I'll leave the commentary to you folks, but not before nominating this video clip for the CF4S Hall of Fame.
If you haven't submitted any photos for the Fly Talk photo contest, you will now. Slowly, but steadily I've been receiving submissions for the past couple of weeks and I have to say there are some great shots to choose from, but we need more.
Here's the deal. You send me (email@example.com) what you consider your best fly fishing images, and we'll do an edit and separate the crap from the good stuff. Just after the new year Fly Talk will present our picks on the main Field and Stream website and let you, the viewers pick your favorites. Whoever gets the three highest number of votes will get the three prizes below. Remember, we want some variety here. I'll be really bummed if we get four hundred "grip and grins". I want some humor, landscapes, lifestyle, etc...
PRIZE #1. A Scott, nine foot, four piece, five weight A3 (MSRP $335). We like Scott Rods... a lot. They make sweet rods right here in our home state, are unapologetic about their processes and basically just kill it all the way around. You want this rod, trust me.
Prize #2 Whoa, another Colorado company... Fishpond is also one of our favorites and make righteous stuff. We're giving away the Sawtooth wader mat(MSRP: $49.00) (I keep one in my car always) and a Westwater Boat bag (MSRP: $149.00) together.
Prize #3 A sweet pair of Smith shades. The Interlock Spoiler in Square Tortoise with a Polar Brown lens (MSRP $149) is the perfect fishing pair of sunglasses. Truly, this is the only pair of interchangeable lenses that in my opinion cannot be rivaled. Just twist the stems and pop out the lenses. Check out how the system works here.
I think a lot of flyfishing books and articles overcomplicate things. Most of the best tips I've learned came from guides who have figured out a way to explain something in in 30 seconds or less. As such, I've been working with Charlie Meyers of the Denver Post on a little "tip book" that shoots straight guide insights without the cumbersome, sometimes frustrating, theories.
Here's a taste:
"Flick the Tomato"
The best casting motion involves a gradual, controlled acceleration to an abrupt stop. Imagine it this way: If you have a tomato stuck on the end of a stick, and you want to fling that tomato into a bucket, say, 20 feet away, how do you do it? If you “whip” the stick, you end up covered in ketchup. But if you gradually fling the tomato off the stick, you might get it there. Same deal and same feel with the fly cast.
"Watch Your Thumb"
There have been countless articles and books written to coach people on the best ways to keep that proper casting plane at “10 and 2” on the imaginary clock face, and in my experience, most explanations overcomplicate both symptoms and cures. When you start thinking about too many moving parts during the cast, you get confused and your problems compound.
The best “homespun” tip I ever learned to straighten out the issue of going too far and/or over-cocking your wrist on the backcast came from Dan Stein, a guide on the Bighorn River in Montana. He simply suggests you keep your casting thumb in your peripheral vision at all times. Lose sight of your thumb, and you’re going back too far.
What do you think? We're thinking about producing some of these with video, and putting them on the site (as in "The Cosmic Mend" several weeks ago).
You have any tips I can steal? I'll give you credit...
From: Rivers of a Lost Coast Website
"At the turn of the 20th Century, a handful of pioneers carried their fly rods into California’s remote north coast and gave birth to a culture that would revolutionize their sport. For a select few, steelhead fly fishing became an obsessive pursuit without compromise.
Leading the pack was the mythical, Bill Schaadt, an off-kilter angler famous for his ruthless pursuit to be ‘in the fish’. The new endeavor was ruled by a demanding, unspoken code, which made 'breaking in' almost as difficult as 'breaking out'.
By the early 1980s, the Golden State’s coastal fisheries found themselves caught in a spiraling decline. As California searched for its disappearing salmon and steelhead, these men foraged for their souls."
I don't know about you, but this seems to be what a fishing movie should be about. It's got history, fantastic imagery, character building, and even a little fish porn. Geeze - imagine that, a contemporary video on fishing that has some substance. Heck, they've even got Tom Skerritt narrating it.
I can't wait to see it.
click here for more info and to visit Rivers of a Lost Coast's website.
It's the most wonderful time of the year alright... and that means we get bombarded every time we turn on the television with the gifts that keep on giving... holiday commercials! (Hey, at least they are better than political ads!) If you really want a fix on the state of our nation, take a while and notice those ads. Ah... the best gift ever, from Lexus. Oh... "He Went to Jared..." How sweet.
Wal-Mart has the most ads of all, and different ones too!! My favorite of all is the family bouncing around the living room to Pat Benatar music (that, right there, should be enough to turn you off) after mom went to Wal-Mart, and bought the "Guitar Hero" video game extra cheap (rated T for "teen," though all the kids bouncing in the commercial are in footie pajamas). Because mom got that video game, bless her soul... "their family is always together!" How wonderful!
If that's not a sign of the impending apocalypse, I don't know what is.
Here's a commercial: Go to a fly shop for your last minute shopping. You don't have to spend a ton. Buy some socks. Or a book. Or a half dozen flies. Or a baseball cap. Or some lip balm. Of course, if you want to get something to inspire family togetherness that doesn't involve eating Cheetos and playing video games... like, oh, say getting a kid a fly rod... that's up to you. But go to a family business. Go to a place where the people care about flyfishing. And then buy at least one little thing, if for no other reason than to show those folks you care. Because I can tell you that they need us now, more than ever.
I promise it will put you in the holiday spirit much more than any television ad will.
This time of year starts to really be a bummer for anyone who fly fishes and and lives in the northern hemisphere. Yes, I know you folks in the south can fish all year and you folks in the north can ice fish. Let's face it though fishing slows down - even in the south. Oh, and drilling holes in frozen lakes to catch fish - don't even get me started... Ice fishing flat out sucks if you ask me. It's just a step above watching paint dry.
Every year around this time I start to make the transition from fishing to skiing. While I fish all winter it's just not quite as easy to get out and have fun.
We hit upon an idea the other day though. What if we could utilize snowmobiles and/or backcountry (AT) skis and get to a location that didn't freeze in the winter to fish. By fish, I mean cast a line. We could take a couple of days and camp. Fishing and skiing the entire time. Does this location exist on planet earth? I'm thinking it's gotta be a tailwater deep in the wilderness or some stretch of river kept ice free by springs for spell. Does anybody know of any place like this or ever heard of anything that stays fishable that you could ski to?
Here's another killer pattern from Fly Talk's resident tying guru, Brian Schmidt of Umpqua Feather Merchants... KD
Winter fly fishing for trout is often overlooked by the summertime weekend warriors, not only because of the cold weather, but also the lack of prolific hatches. The cast-to-catch ratio is generally widened to the point that many would rather stay in the warmth of the house and tie flies. Generally speaking, winter is more of a nymph fishing season than dry fly fishing (also is a deterrent to many), but here is one reason that you need not stay inside during the winter months wishing you were fishing.
Midges are a primary food source for trout all year long in both still waters and in rivers and streams, and definitely a fly for the winter. This Mercury Black Beauty midge pattern is indispensable during the cold months. Pat Dorsey created this twist after years of midge fishing tailwaters around Colorado. Pat is known for his Mercury series of flies and his extensive knowledge of tailwater fishing, so when he came to us with this pattern we smelled money.
The basic Black Beauty is a simple midge pupa imitation; well, it’s a simple insect to imitate in this stage at least. With nothing more then a few standard materials this fly will catch fish. Pat took a closer look at the natural occurring insect and added a few highlights to improve upon its outstanding reputation. If you watch the video attached to this you will see that the natural insect builds up a gas bubble around its body and at the head giving a sheen to length of the body. As the insect wriggles itself toward the surface film to emerge as an adult, the flash given off by the gas is a signal light to the fish. This was a perfect match for what Pat had started years before with his Mercury series. With a Mercury bead at the hook eye and a single strand of Flashabou across the back of the hook shank, the fly is a very close match to the natural.
Hook: Tiemco 2488 size 18-22
Thread: black 8/0
Body (abdomen): black thread
Body (thorax): Superfine dubbing black
Body (back): flashabou pearl
Rib: extra fine copper wire
Bead: extra small mercury glass bead