Archive for June 4th, 2011

04
Jun
11

Cat In a Tree on a Windy Day (Cat Rescue’s Self)

Finally, a sunny day. Often in Portland, Oregon when the wind blows out of the Columbia River Gorge on a Spring/Summer day the temperatures rise and the trees sway. I was sitting on the back deck gaining some Vitamin D when I opened my eyes and gazed upwards to the tops of the swaying Alders. Imagine my surprise when I viewed a dark shape nearly at the top of the tree. Probably 60+’ up was an animal. A raccoon ? A cat? I grabbed the telephoto lens and shot away as I could see it was a cat. A domesticated cat? A pregnant domesticated cat? A fat cat? Regardless, of its origins, it was a cat holding on as the tree swung several feet in either direction in the strong East wind.

Cat in a Tree 1 SwittersB

Cat in a Tree 2 SwittersB

Cat in a Tree 3 SwittersB

Cat in a Tree 4 SwittersB

On this particular day, I do indeed hope the cat has 9 lives. My back yard has been visited by Coyotes, Hawks and Raccoons. I hope this cat makes it down. The wind will blow for several more hours as temps rise. Hold on Kitty. I have to leave for the afternoon/evening in the midst of this wild life-domesticated pet drama. I will have faith that in any lulls with the wind, Penelope (yes I named her) will move downward toward safety.

Penelope the Cat: Down & Out (SwittersB)

Well now….I arrive home from a family gathering and bit of a drive, tired and ready to hit it. Oh yeah…the cat in the tree? It is pitch black out back, so I get a flash light and shine it to the top of the tree. Bouncing back are the reflective eyes at the top of the tree. And, a non-stop of woeful ‘meows’. The wind had stopped by now. What the hell now? I walk over into the area of the tree, with a small spring separating the tree from myself. The tree is oddly swayed and rotten branches extend up a good 40′ up into the flourishing area where the cat pleads for help. 

A few neighbors gather and a discussion ensues with the options of ‘let’s go to bed’; ‘it’s a cat, it will be ok’; ‘let’s cut the tree down’; ‘now?’; ‘would the fire department come out?’; ‘really?’. ‘Here kitty kitty’s’ are offered upward and ‘meows’ respond downward.

Our flashlights point upward, and suddenly as if either drawn to our summons or thinking ‘finally, I can see were I am going!’…Penelope the Cat commences a harrowing, claw clinging, upside down descent from on high. This little drama results in a bunch of ‘oh my God’s’ and ‘I can’t watch’s’. The cat is silent. Every ounce of that cat’s being is clutching that tree’s trunk as it slides inch by inch, sometimes a rapid foot all at once, down that tree trunk. This draws out until, we are certain there cannot be any energy left to continue. Yet that cat did, until the final five feet. It swung around tail (half tail missing) downward and after hanging by the claws it let go into the brush below, beside the small stream. I met Penelope and she was immediately drawn to me.

Well this resulted in a rather sleepless night of my two dogs, annoyed as hell, testing the lightning quick paws of Penelope. Not a relaxing night. And, the cat was/is badly dehydrated and starving. Who knows how long it had been up there? It is now open to debate within the family of how to proceed. I will be dutiful to scour the area for wanted posters.

For now, I need to make a litter box or decide if this is a house cat or outside cat…should Penelope decide to stay awhile.     zzxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx   mmmmmmmmmmmmm,,,,,  (I do know the cat is fascinated by the cursor moving on the screen here).   

04
Jun
11

Fly Tying & Fishing: Borger Brassie

It is a reality of fly tying and fishing that we tend to seek refinements ad nauseam for patterns. It cannot stand that a simple, effective pattern can just be, as is, without more color options, dubbing, beads, etc…. refinements from what if’s and what about’s.

Several years ago, I sat front row at a Fly Fishing Expo affair in Portland, Oregon. Gary Borger was a featured speaker in one of the little side theaters. My son and I sat excited to get some inside refinement to our fishing efforts and from a notable fly fisher to boot. Borger was, that day, crusty and authoritative. Boy, this was going to be good.

Authoritative about what? One of his go to patterns, a copper wire bodied fly with a red thread head and no beard as depicted in the pic here. That fly with a split shot a foot above the fly was the offering that day. Initially, I heard a man from behind mumble ‘you’re kidding me?’  But, Borger wasn’t kidding and he remarked at the simplicity of the whole fly, rigging, presentation. It struck me that day how confused I was. That was it?

Was that all there was? Really, if that was true then maybe the problem wasn’t the gear, the waters, the fly….maybe it was me over thinking, over planning, over “everything-ing…(my word, you can borrow it). I have not forgotten that simple approach that Borger offered that day. It still flies in the face of the difficulties I have catching Steelhead on big rivers (not smaller coastal rivers where pods stack up and one hander nymphing rigs connect with fish).

But, none the less, the point here is some patterns are simple and presentation is perhaps more critical than over tweaked fly patterns. The over tweaking is part of the creative bent most tiers enjoy and the fun of putting your personal touches on a pattern. If it works, all the better. The admonition to KISS is often good advice. I think it is a benchmark to keep an eye on when one ranges so far afield, that basics are forgotten and success is elusive. 

“This pattern is attributed to Gary Borger although it is an adaptation of a pattern originally tied for the South Platte in 1971 by Ed Marsh. Gary admits that this particular version came about by him not remembering the correct dressing as related to him earlier. Anyway he was fishing the Armstrong Spring Creek the next summer when he saw the little flies in his box and tied one on in desperation and the rest is well, history. He says it has taken trout feeding on midges in rivers and streams the world over as well as even fooling steelhead!

“It works because the wire body provides a strongly segmented appearance and because the bright copper produces an attention-getting flash. The copper colour also suggests a rusty brown larva and may hint at the red colour of a bloodworm. I’ve dressed this pattern in every imaginable shape and form; with a thorax, with a tail , with legs, with a sparkle yarn husk, with a wing, with a soft hackle, with a stiff hackle, and so on.

They all catch fish, but not anymore effective than the simple body and throat. So I’ve stayed with my original, mistaken design.” (Gary Borger, Designing Trout Flies, 1991, page 93).”           http://www.goulburnvlyflyfishing.com.au

04
Jun
11

Fly Fishing: Tandem of Yellow Sally Nymph & Green Rockworm?

I recall last Summer having good success along the riffles of the McKenzie River while fishing separately a nymph (Large Hare’s Ear, size 8-10) and also a Green Rockworm Larva pattern. I am going to experiment in the months ahead with dredging a shorter line, while offering two flies at once through the riffles. I will probably stay with a larger, weighted, Gold Bead Head, Gold Ribbed, Hare’s Ear for the Yellow Sally Nymph (Family Perlodidae/Genus Isoperla) and a version of the Green Rockworm larva (Caddis, Genus Rhyacophila). The Jersey Angler provides a worthy pattern for the Green Rockworm and some good pictures of the larva and his pattern The Cooper Bug.

Employ the standard nymphing rig, cast/lob/sling with a more open loop to avoid tangles of two flies, strike indicator if you use one and split shot (that would be a mess wouldn’t it?). Certain Czech Nymphs would also provide excellent pattern options for the Green Rockworm Larva.

I suggest the two patterns in one offering because they inhabit the same waters and are equally vulnerable to drift and are active during the same span of Summer. If the two fly rig is two cumbersome then keep both insects in mind for subsurface presentations, and of course, watch for the activity on the surface as Caddis come off or the Yellow Sally comes off (if you research the literature re Yellow Sally’s ’emerging’ it is often said then crawl toward shore or up onto rocks to hatch as most Stoneflies do…. however, there are some members of the Yellow Sally that emerge out of the water like a Mayfly on the run…I witnessed this last year on the McKenzie River and commented re that back then). Regardless, have your Elk Hair Caddis and larger, cream colored wet fly or Stimulator like patterns available for surface activity too.




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