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Fly Fishing: Ethics and Personal Responsibility

“No, the trouble with fish-finders is that they were introduced to South African freshwaters by bass fishers. That’ the problem….Bass may be unlikeable fish in the estimation of the member, but that opinion is of little consequence in a discourse about ethics, even if environmentalists would disagree. The member’s main problem with bass is that they are pursued by phalanxes of garishly dressed yokels piloting overpowered motorboats at insane velocities all over the dam, dominating all corners of any fishery which they happen to infest, loudly, arrogantly and always with a nauseatingly ostentatious display of wealth. That is inconsiderate behaviour and, by any definition of summum bonum, unethical.
Bass anglers use fish finders. Let me rephrase that, no self-respecting bassie would start up his 200 horsepower phallus replacement without a fish-finder.” Neels Blom

I have a modest affliction for gadgets. Modest, I say, because I don’t have all the FF gadgets rigged around my neck. Just a few. I have at times felt over equipped when out on a lake with my pontoon boat. A regular fishing machine. No electric trolling motor or electronics. I once toyed with the idea of a fish finder, but for some reason, not thought through, I did not make that purchase. More prep, more set up, less time fishing. And, more often than not, if given enough time, I find some fish. I am not a process/relish the set up sort of guy.


Ethics. Civility. Some structure. As long as it does not impinge on my sense of liberty…especially these days, is a good personal decision. The collective ethics of fly fishers, for me, sometimes has an air of righteousness shrouded in enviro ethics that is heavy, pontificating, arrogant. Why I fell away from clubs, committees, boards. Must everything be over regulated? Over thought? I fish to escape structure, society, even the collective group mentality that smothers us at every turn today. Saving the world and me at every turn. Oh, yes those noble people out their fighting the good fight, saving the whatever(s). Yes, seems noble, necessary…..   The message seems lost on the individual for individual ethics and focused on the group and the law. Hmmm?

Too each their own, as Neels Blom says at the conclusion of his above piece. Individually celebrate, protect, worship and quietly share with a few now and then.



Fly Fishing Blog: Gold Joe’s Adventures


A good friend’s entry into the fly fishing world (and don’t hold it against him…he runs). NW based and worthy of ongoing visits. Welcome Monte!





Fly Fishing: Barbless Hooks Unnecessary?

V. Paul Reynolds in the Sun Journal (Maine) argues that barbless hooks are unnecessary and in fact possibly harmful to fish. Hmmm? I am astounded anyone would advocate for barbs on hooks, even treble hooks if the intent is to release the fish.

If a fisher does not know how to release a fish, whether the hook is barbed or barbless, that is a whole other educational matter to be addressed. However, the mere process of using forceps, pliers, fingers to back a barb out of fish can only be viewed as potentially more problematic for the fish…compared to a barbed hook. Over penetration? Perhaps an issue if a 8″ trout takes a size 2 streamer. But, this does not compute, biologists aside, that barbs are acceptable if releasing your catch. There just is more shaking, pulling, twisting, grabbing, stressing to remove a stubborn barb that has done its job. Barb the hooks for easier release of the fish, your ear and your clothing. Now lest I appear inconsistent, I do not smash my barbs in advance of tying, and I rarely use totally barbless hooks. I round down the barb on the water…and I do like a slight bump from the rounded down barb on salmon, steelhead hooks.


Survival Gear: Survival Straps & Paracord

survival straps belt

Survival Gear Here & There


October Caddis, Wild Flowers & PBJ

October Caddis Like Small Birds I Swear…..

Morrish October Caddis (OFFB)

“At a recent visit to The Caddis Fly Shop in Eugene, Oregon, I had sought out some current info on where I might venture to fish. The shop was, as always, most helpful with what to use, October Caddis, October Caddis, (did I say October Caddis?) and where to go. Armed with the where (they drew me map…Ok, I looked confused) and the what, I set forth with a variety of large Caddis dries and some sizeable Copper John patterns in the appropriate Caddis Pupa colors.

So, yesterday I headed out up the McKenzie River, into a new area. I had packed fresh fruit, PBJ sandwiches and water. After a bit of orienteering malfunctions, and fishing some much too heavy water for me, I arrived at a different stretch of water that looked just right. The scenery was beautiful. I decided to grab a late lunch while I could, so as to not take away from fishing the early evening hatch. The spot was shaded, soft and beautiful. The light filtered through the trees with the lowering sun. The exposed river rock created a unique landscape and there were even some nearby wild flowers stream side.

As I took in the beauty, I was shortly joined by this little girl and her four younger siblings. She was seven and very curious about me. She asked me about my car, my fishpond bag, my whistle, and she shared with me about her family. They appeared to be camping in the woods and possibly down on their luck. As I was slowly eating my goodies, I noticed her intently watching me. I asked her if she wanted some.

She gladly accepted and soon her siblings were close by. Well I had enough to eat and had lots left, so I offered the rest to the girl, but told her to ask her parents first.  She ran quickly back and happily took the remaining food I had left.

It was time to fish in earnest now. I eagerly went down to the river. I tuned up my leader. I ran into an elderly homeless man.  He shared his woes with me. I listened as I rigged up  and tied on a Caddis pupa. I left the old man and waded out into the river. And then, I started to notice the most amazing thing. I thought they were small birds being attacked by bigger birds, but upon looking closer, I realized the birds were eating October Caddis.

Crazy! I had only heard about their size. Or, read about them, seeing a few pictures, but this was the first time I had seen them first hand.  It was just as I had learned, but even more fascinating. I was watching that more than fishing. I wisely decided to tie on an OC, one of the foam bodied patterns the shop had recommended.

I cast into the hatch, and fish came to my fly. Birds swooping, fish rising, alone in this spot. The most connected, to nature and the trout I have ever been. This is what it is about. Not always reached, but recognizable and special for me. The sun was setting and I thought it wise to make my way back to the car with the last light. The good fishing would have continued, I am certain. And, ok, maybe the Caddis weren’t as big as birds. But, I was so happy!!

I got back to my car and saw some paper on my windshield. It was a thank you note from the little girl, with lots of wilted flowers. She must have picked me a bunch and scrunched them together with the note. So touching. The family was gone. My day was full…very full.”

Emma Peel

Morrish October Caddis tutorial (OFFB)


Fly Fishing: Coffee w/ Cream Brown

Ah, a chunk of free time, yes it had rained a bit, but apparently I did not pay attention. I checked below near the Troutdale Bridge to see if silvers were coming in and above (Dodge) for a good place to swing for Steelies. Brown and more brown. The ‘fish more’ part needs serious attention.

Sandy River above Dodge (SwitterB)


Tenkara: What Am I Missing?

Dapping the seams? Long rod, like the old cane pole, with the string? High sticking? Connected to the presentation? All seems fine, simplistic and cheaper. Beyond that, what is the fuss about? I am missing it. Almost like the retro zeal of a hipster that rediscovered the cane pole. Sorry, just another means to the same end and not deserving of the fawning. Eek!      Tenkara USA

“…the continued Balkanization, or specialization, or fracturing, or whatever you want to call it, among fly anglers… the various fly-fishing subcultures—tournament bass fishermen, carp anglers, steelheaders, backcountry saltwater fishermen and so on —will continue to define themselves more distinctly and vocally.” – Ted Leeson, Author. He failed to include tenkara anglers in the subcultures, but you are part of a distinct, and shall we say, a very cool group of anglers!

“Trends for trouties: The European proliferation of deadly nymphing techniques will continue to gnaw on Yank rod makers, who after many years of ignoring anything longer than 8 1/2 ft. and 9 ft. rods for regular fishing are going to convince users of the versatility found in longer (9 1/2 on up) equipment.” – Paul Bruun, Columnist and Guide. Huh!

Our prediction is that 2010 will be an awesome year for angling with a rod, line and a fly; when angling will be the simple and relaxing experience we crave, when you don’t need to (though you may still want to) travel far to enjoy pristine waters and wild fish, and perhaps a year of retirement for your underworked reel. This will be a tenkara fly-fishing year for many anglers throughout the world who will enjoy the simplicity and relaxation only tenkara allows.” Tenkara USA

The only thing unique and worth mentioning are the fly patterns that are worth consideration.

An air of superiority seems to exude from the pores. Just what’s needed, another elitist nitch. Just do it and shut up already.

*Ok, Ok….after some behind the scenes arm twisting and a stern re-education program, I will concede the Tenkara approach to presenting the fly has merit and more importantly…who am I to put down a past time that seduces a fish to the fly. To each their own in connecting to nature and the purity of their endeavor. My apologies to the several I offended.  SB 9/28/10


Fly Fishing: Zebra Caddis

Zebra Caddisfly Macrostemum zebratum

I was researching this Caddis after noticing several enquiries for the fly. In the process, I learned a  few interesting tidbits from this eNature site.

“Female caddisflies drop masses or strings of hundreds of eggs into fresh water, or they attach them to vegetation overhanging water, into which larvae drop…. (Underline my emphasis).  Eggs hatch in a few days but most larvae need a year to develop.”

Zebra Caddisfly Macrostemum zebratum

“These fast-water caddis flies are unusually elegant; they have shiny, dark metallic-colored bodies and glossy wings.”

I can envision a few strands of careless yellow or orange CDC trailing from the abdomen of an adult Caddis imitation; impressionistic perhaps, pointless perhaps. But more imagination toward a suggestive female adult in the water with trailing egg strands near shore or adrift. I don’t know. Just trout food for thought. Ha! The season is almost over, save the October  Caddis, and now I find this. Well, planning for next late Spring I guess.   Zebra Caddis Pics


Fly Fishing: K-Pump (The Best Pump)

I previously remarked about the quality of K-Pump’s. I am again touting their worth because of the quality of the product, but also because of their immediate customer service over a minor cosmetic concern. Check them out and trust me, an exceptional tool.Oregon based, they at a minimum have a ton of NW business.



Fly Fishing: Leader Construction (Fiddle Farting Around)

As a beginning fly fisher, let’s say you decide you are going fishing tomorrow. The mental process to have, that I suggest, is to ask yourself….what shape is my gear in? How did I leave it from the last outing; yesterday or two months ago……how did you leave your gear?

Oliver Heublin (Artist) SB

The efficient way to handle this, is to access your gear the night before. Do you have anything in short supply? Flies, leader material, a piece of often used gear (pliers, nippers, spools of leader material, etc.). This is particularly important if a friend is picking you up at 0-Dark-30. Have your gear together and ready to go. If you are meeting a guide have your gear together. Don’t waste valuable time with a friend or guide putzing around with prep that should have been completed the night or days before. I have fished with people that waste my time and theirs rigging up before we venture forth. Obsessive or not, I consider a half hour + of prep time stream side/lake side that should have been done the night before inconsiderate of friends or guide or both.

So, this brings me to leader construction. Assess your leader for length, taper and wind knots. What type of fly line (Floater, Intermediate, Type II etc.)? What type of fishing? What type of likely fly patterns? Know how to piece together the sections of leader in order to construct the proper length of leader. That means know the proportions of a leader and the knots to join the sections together. (MnFlyFishing)

For the beginner the formulas that are often used are  50%>>>>25%>>>>25%   or 60%>>>>20%>>>>20%. Here is a good explanation on constructing leaders for freshwater & saltwater. ActiveAngler

My advice: assess your gear the night before. Be ready. Don’t putz around the morning before and burn daylight. Become proficient in piecing together your own leaders. Having to run to the fly shop the morning of an outing to buy a new tapered leader or a spool of mono is poor planning and again burning valuable daylight. Do not do that with a friend, who was prepared the night before. Part of the fun of fly fishing is fiddling and fondling the gear. However, don’t fumble around with the gear. Get to the point…fish.

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