Posts Tagged ‘every day in may


Every Day in May: Bucket List


The ‘Bucket List’? Well, I thought I would add some flavor to this piece by explaining where the phrase bucket list came from. It is supposedly agreed it emanates from ‘kicking the bucket’ or dying. So, it is surmised that the list is a series of things you want to do before you kick the bucket. But, there is so much confusion re the ‘kick the bucket’ part, I decided not to write about that.

So, it falls to what are those things I really want to do…on my list? This is tough right now. I don’t really have the freedom to go many places for awhile. I don’t like doing too much day dreaming about such things. Seems a waste of mental energy. Either you are really going to do it in the next year of so, or don’t put too much thought into it. Just me, I spose. I mean, they have to be reasonable in scope (time, money, health, freedom). So here are a few I have considered: La Tomatina Festival, Sturgis Rally, Carnival in Rio and the Burning Man.

Now one can see the possibilities of a giant tomato food fight. But, regrettably, I am allergic to tomatoes.

At first blush the Sturgis Rally looks darn appealing don’t you think? But, in reality, I think I would have to fly into the Sturgis Municipal Airport and make arrangements to get into town and stand around bikes, because I really have never been very coordinated around motorcycles. So, I will have to pass on this. I know people that have made the trip from Oregon and truthfully, they stopped a lot, the ‘old ladies’ rode in the chase van quite a bit, and the guys said they would never do it again. And, they’re way more bad ass than me! 

Now if Carnival in Rio isn’t right up my alley I don’t know what is. And, look at those Ostrich Plumes! But, my wife found my travel brochures and did her own research about the cultural activities I was talking about and, well, that was that….off the bucket list!

The Burning Man gathering. Well now, being a frustrated ‘boomer’ I have fond recollections of the 60’s, and Woodstock and I saw Hendrix and Janis in Monterey, and I had long hair and a beard, and there is something chaotic and potentially wild when all kinds of goofballs gather in the Nevada desert. I just am not certain I can scratch this one off my list. I will have to think about this one. Oh who am I kidding. I am such a fuddy duddy now.

You know, I just have not really had time to complete a sincere bucket list. Some things have crept to the forefront this year: my dentist mentioned his trip to Chile and Argentina and suggested I look into it; I want to go back to B.C. and explore more lakes; Alaska….I have only done the Sitka-Juneau…take home 100#’s of salmon routine. What would it be like to truly fly fish for rainbows in Alaska? So many places I need to go to while health allows. Montana? Another bonefish trip somewhere tropical? More drift boat trips. Of course, it doesn’t all have to be about fly fishing does it? Realistically for me…one or two epic trips a year would be asking a lot. Damn that Ostrich Herl does look good though.




Every Day in May Writer’s Challenge: ‘Bugs’


BUGS? Once again, my short comings are brought forth in print. Entomology, Latin, Genus, Species, Orders and Families. I have enough trouble remembering everyone in my own family let alone memorizing fancy names. Colors, size, hatch time, hatch location and a little studying in advance is often as best as I can do. The common names: Mayfly (BWO, PMD, Callibaetis, Green Drakes)…Stoneflies (Goldens, Little Blacks, California Stones, Skwala)…Caddis (Long Horns, Traveling Sedge, Cinnamons) Midges/Chironomids…Dragon and Damsels…  

Nothing too fancy there. I turn a rock over in a stream and see dark mayfly nymphs scurrying for their lives. I saw the size and color but wouldn’t be able to tell you which mayfly it is. I can maybe tell it was a clinger/crawler or swimmer etc. The other morning, I started to put on my waders. Overnight, a Caddis hatch had taken place as my waders and the nearby railing had large adult Caddis sitting there. Over a half inch long and medium brown in color. Hmm? What Caddis is that? Would I fish it now, or did it hatch last night? At least I noticed the body of water definitely has large Caddis. Maybe that is what I saw skittering across the surface early one morning? 

Believe me I have tried. I study, I read and look at pictures, I study TroutNut and I certainly tie all Winter to match insects. Take away the hatch charts, books, blogs, outside advice, then I’m left  observing and trying this and that…it is the essence of observation and adapting and then, maybe, bringing to the table whatever else you learn from outside sources.

This beauty was clinging to the side of my car last year. I have a little spring in the back yard. I have seen the rare Caddis and then this large Mayfly. You’d think I would followup with some foraging in the spring to see what really lives out there. I haven’t….yet.

I do take satisfaction in turning over those rocks, looking into stream side vegetation, watching little sailboats float down the river or inspecting the Caddis fluttering on the inside of my sunglass lens. I look at the coloring of Stoneflies crawling ashore and sat in amazement as Waterboatman (Corixia…look at that!) dive bombed a lake one October afternoon. There you have it. I have bombed out at Bug Basics 200. I do believe that the more I can fish, I will add to my knowledge. Heck, I probably know more than I realize. Just don’t ask me any Latin Names…although I do like that Hexagenia Limbata name….sounds like some Cuban Dance or Caribbean VooDoo thing in New Orleans. 

 Tomorrow’s Every Day in May Challenge Topic: Runoff


Every Day in May Challenge: More Fish Not For the Dish


‘More Fish’: Whether a ‘trophy’ fish or a little 5″ gem from a small stream pocket, I enjoy the beauty of fish that I catch or those that others around me catch. I haven’t killed a trout in years. I don’t particularly enjoy eating them. I do enjoy a bit of halibut, salmon, sturgeon or sea bass. But, for the most part, I stick with catch and release….careful release. I know some abhor the grip and grin pose. I confess I will hoist the fish here and there when it is a special gift. Over playing a big fish on too light of rod will put the fish at risk upon release. Getting the fish in for release in a timely manner gives far better odds the fish will survive.

I recently fished with my wife. As you can see, she already has mastered a key element in relaying fishing lore…..exaggeration.

Oh my….my wife hasn’t learned that her left forearm is blocking over half the length of the fish! Of course, she doesn’t care about such things and is just happy to bring the trout to hand.




Every Day in May Challenge: Leader Construction

Oh my, these topics really bring out my weaknesses don’t they? The leader, the skinny little ‘tapered’ link to the fly and hopefully the fish. I do care about that nail knot securing the mono butt section to the end of the line. I do try for a taper toward the fly. Sometimes I invest in a pack of 3 tapered leaders, either 7′ or 9′ to a 4# end. I rebuild from there with the tippet piece. I try, I really do, for a 50, 25 25 (%) or 60, 20, 20 (%) ratio of materials.

But it isn’t until the fish trail off, that I notice I’m fishing with a 7′ leader with 10# married to 3.5# by a gnarly surgeons knot. Do you notice I never use the 5x or 6x designations. I flunked math for a reason: part memory, part befuddlement. I stay in the #’s like my old gear days. I do try to pay attention to length, but as you read, I am sometimes behind on that standard.

All of it (precise leader construction) doesn’t make much of a difference for me/to me. Of course, maybe it would if I always fished gin clear spring creeks, but short of the Metolius River or Fall River…I don’t.

The best addition of leader material for me has been fluorocarbon leader. No, I don’t have trouble with knots or joining mono to fluoro. I’ve use it far and wide and it has improved the takes…just my impression. See how non-techno I am? Such randomness would never fly in certain circles, but I’m not building a rocket or a bridge. I am simply fishing. 

Tomorrow’s Every Day in May Challenge Topic: Fly


Every Day in May Challenge: The Rod, The Wand, Devining

Every Day in May Outdoor Blogger’s Writing Challenge: Rod

The Rod. Bet you can’t buy just one. My original rod was a metal telescoping fly rod my Uncle gave me in the late 50’s. I never really used that, but by the early 60’s I had a Sears & Roebuck setup…a Ted Williams model rod and reel. A fiberglass rod, it had a sliding sleeve on the cork handle that allowed it to be a fly rod or a spinning rod. I still have it. The set up lasted me for many years. It was a magic wand, a devining rod more often than not.

“Some Sorcerers do boast they have a Rod, Gather’d with Vowes and Sacrifice, And (borne about) will strangely nod To hidden Treasure where it lies; Mankind is (sure) that Rod divine, For to the Wealthiest (ever) they incline.” Sam Sheppard

In my early twenties I ventured away to drift gear (level winds and spinning rods) and spent a majority of the time fishing the terminal gear. But, then providence struck in Sisters, Oregon. I walked into the Fly Fisher’s Place on the first day it opened. Harry and Dee Teel greeted my family, dirty and disheveled after a long camping trip. I looked about the shop and noticed the beautiful fly rods and reels. Most were way out of my price range and I said as much. I was use to inexpensive Lamiglas and Eagle Claw rods.

Harry took me aside and showed me a rod and reel that was tucked away. A loss leader of sorts, a rod that was a prototype from Japan. His kindness and easy style paved the way for me to buy the setup (rod, reel and line plus some leader materials, flies and a box) for $300.00  I used that set up for 13 years. It (I) caught a ton of fish on that prototype, 5 wt. rod. All was good and the beat rolled on.

Then one day I stopped by a fly shop and they were having a casting clinic and just coincidentally they had some Sage and St. Croix rods strung up. I played around with an Sage XP and a St. Croix Ultra Legend. Things changed that day. I still am not really certain it was for the best. The faster Sage and St. Croix rods were amazing to cast. My slower action prototype rod seemed flabby and tired. 

I sprung for both because of a rare windfall. The old, oddly blue colored, prototype rod became a backup to the newly purchased Sage XP 5 wt. and the St. Croix Ultra 3 wt. Both have caught a bunch of fish too. But, I have a sentimental attachment to the slower prototype rod.

Along the way three sons decided to try fly fishing. Orvis, TFO’s, St. Croix, Fetha Styx, Loomis, Echo and Sage rods came into the family rod vault. All have caught fish, all are acceptable rods and some for the price are an excellent value. More costly is not necessarily better. The industry has done better to provide rods at a much cheaper price that the ordinary fly fisher can afford. 

That old, prototype rod does deserve to come out of the rod tube for a tour now and then. I’m not a rod snob, but I do have one thing about poles and rods. It is probably the one underlying hitch in my giddy up that perhaps reveals: the rods and poles thing.

Tomorrow’s Every Day in May Challenge Topic: Line


Happy Mother’s Day


Should I go light and quick? Get in and get out? Or, delve into….well, no never mind. To all the mom’s out there bless you. You try your hardest and you pay a price. You are a gift to us all. I pray you all have a lovely Mother’s Day. I pray your children and those that are part of your life, your loves, pay respects to you…to sincerely let you know how lovely you are as a force in your children’s lives. 

‘Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.’

(Robert Browning)

Tomorrow’s Every Day in May topic: Rod


Every Day in May Challenge: Waders (Old, Stained & Yellowed)


The best purchase I have ever made in all my years of fly fishing. No rod, no reel, no vest, no pack, nothing equals the purchase of my Gore Tex waders quite a few years ago. Closely associated are the best possible boots to go with them. Getting out of those old, foul, smelly, tight, ugly neoprene waders, a supposed improvement over the old rubberized wader of old, was the best thing I ever did.

 Dirtied, soiled, stained…’rode hard and put away wet’ my Simms waders (you can pick your own non-neoprene, Gore Tex brand of waders). Well worth the investment. Nothing worse than trying to shimmy out of those old, wet neo’s on a sub freezing Winter day. Did I mention I hated those old neoprene waders?

Tomorrow’s Every Day in May Topic: ‘Something Completely Different’


Every Day in May Challenge: Grinning & Laughing

Every Day in May Outdoor Bloggers Challenge: Today’s Topic Grinning & Laughing

SwittersB very young in a poor part of town. Aren’t I a pathetic little muffin?

There is something seemingly devious in some of the topics selected over at How Small a Trout for the writing challenge. Someone has a probing psyche over there or perhaps that is just projection on my part.

Well now, I certainly don’t do enough grinning and laughing. I smirk a lot. I nod and wrinkle up around the eyes with the lips barely parted and smirk in approval. Not a derogatory smirk, but a positive nod toward something. Yes, the glass is half full most of the time despite life’s swirl.

I came from parents that had had hard lives. Their hard lives were despite the Depression and WWII, so ‘hard’ is the emphasized word here. They shared that edge with me. They meant well.

I once spoke before a group of doctors and shrinks for a medical symposium. I was out of my element, but was brought in to speak to a side of life they dealt with mostly from a clinical approach. Later, in a journal, I was described as “a dark, sensitive poet….often speaking as if thoughtful and bemused…” That captures much of my outer personal…thoughtful and bemused and smirking.

Well, you might wonder, ‘what the hell puts a smile on your face?’ This is about ‘grinning and laughing’ after all. Well, like most of you non-teetotalers, a few bebidas in me and the yoke is setting in the corner and I am a happy boy. The music gets the happy feet moving and I am louder and darn near gregarious. No, I am not drunk. Should that happen, the dark, sensitive poet emerges and that boyhood is too readily shared. No, I just get a bit louder, bolder and borderline dare devil. Not a dare devil like “hey Earl hold my beer and watch this”, but a little more demonstrative. 

But, beyond the alcohol induced euphoria, there are a few things that do elicit that grin and guffaw. Posing that special fish. Holding that child or grandchild with unabashed pride. Watching others roll with laughter (laughing, smiling, smirking is contagious).

My Grandson is a joy. He runs, jumps and spins through life with a smile…his smile and zest for life is totally contagious. He and all my kids and grandchildren are a reminder of enjoying life. Innocence maintained for as long as possible. A sign that life has been presented to these children with the door open to go join life’s party and have fun. It is ok to laugh, grin and smile. Bless them all.

Yes, life does have its joys and moments of elation and I can be seen sitting near it with a thoughtful and bemused smirk on my face (read that as a grin & a silent laugh).

Tomorrow’s Every Day in May Blogger’s Challenge Topic is: Conservation


Every Day in May Bloggers Challenge: Hatching is More Than Matching


Well, I guess the obvious must be written about ‘hatching’ and how it relates to fly fishing and fly tying. I imagine you understand the other possibilities…one of which I had never read about (hatching while drawing) and also in writing…

“Betsy said all this, and, at the same time, from her good-humored, shrewd glance, Anna felt that she partly guessed her plight, and was hatching something for her benefit”. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 

Did you know that closely spaced lines in drawing are used to create shape, depth and texture…it’s called Hatching.

No, hatching in my world is not about hen’s eggs, hatching plots and plans or certainly about drawings. It is confined to fly fishing. “What’s hatching?” or “what’s coming off” (the water’s surface) or simply “what are they eating?” is all about solving the momentary or future, on the water, puzzle in order to fool a fish with a fly. It is part of a greater puzzle that gives enjoyment to the endeavor. 

It’s why fly fishing is one of the more, dare I say it, intellectual efforts in fishing. Let’s see Earl “will I have to think harder if I have to choose my favorite color of Power Bait…or whether to use Red Wigglers or ‘crawlers’ or whether that is Blue Winged Olive, PMD or PED”.

Personally, I have always been partial to Rainbow.

No offense intended boys. Just sit right back down in that folding chair and sip your Pabst Blue Ribbon. Remember my previous post? I have fished all manner of ways….so, I can ruminate about such questions.

Learning a little about entomology’s cycles of life in a stream or lake and what comes of it to feed the fish is enjoyable. It adds some structure to solving the puzzle. You think, you observe, you plan (this can be reading, tying your own flies or selecting the flies at a shop or ordering them online…I strongly recommend taking classes and tying your own).

Truly fly tying is the icing on the cake. You learn to tie flies to mimic the food sources that fish eat. What could be better? Artistic meets Creative meets Thinker. The created fly is presented to the fish to ‘match’ the hatching (whew…I finally got back to the word!) insects that are coming to life and energizing those secretive, hiding fish.

Whether the hatch is a ‘blizzard’ hatch (in your mouth, in your ears, up your nose, inside your sunglasses type) or the infrequent, short lived 15 minute blurb you better be watching for and ready for…you have to study, plan, observe and react to it. At least you should if you want to derive the most enjoyment from fly fishing.

Tomorrow’s Every Day in May Topic is: Grinning & Laughing


Every Day in May Writing Challenge’s Dark Side: Neglect

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