Posts Tagged ‘fitness


Fly Fishing: A Beginner’s To Do List

Blushing Bow SBThis is not one of those pieces about use this fly here or there and boy howdy hold on cuz Mr. ‘Bow will set your adrenaline flow to new levels. It is a rather a few suggestions, around the edges of that how to portion of fly fishing. Just some things gathered from years and years of  ‘#%&#! how did I forget that?’ or ‘how did that happen?’

Perhaps this is only borne out of my feeble memory and some faint blurps of ADD, but I need lists. Not obsessively, but just enough to organize a past time that I do not get to do so often that grabbing this and that is second nature. There was a time when all my gear was always in my rig and basically ready to grab and go. I fished at least three times a week. Not so much anymore, hence a list, to compare to, would be a good idea if you are a fly fisher that cannot always  get onto the water or is just beginning.

Divide the list(s) into the usual rod, reel, extra spools, fly boxes, and all the other little do-dads that accumulate. But, also add or remember to note: first aid kits, extra clothing after you accidentally submerge yourself in ice cold waters, the small over night survival kit because you didn’t properly study the area you ventured into…are lost…and oh, you didn’t bother to tell anyone where you were headed to (well right there are some items to remember on your check off list). 

There are various layers of complexity to fly fishing and it is deceptive that way. Grabbing the rod and a single fly box to wander down to the stream’s edge for a couple hours of probing  is simple enough. But, bigger, longer outings, like camping trips, vacations or those life time expeditions on dream trips requires more planning and lists (modified and tweaked over time). They are a great tool. A weekend trip definitely suggests a check off list. I won’t embarrass myself here mentioning what I have arrived without on special outings.

I frequently bring this up, probably again given my own short comings, about fitness once you are past that well honed fitness level is of importance this time of year. If you have not maintained strength and flexibility and Winter has taken its toll on your health then at least be cognizant along the water’s edge of that and hike, climb, descend, wade carefully at first. Feel the fatigue, the heavier breathing and the slight stumbles. In the early season move a little slower and more carefully. Take breaks.

A few other things that assist in small ways: go with others to fish and observe and learn. Solitude is great for sure, but outings with others to include a guide if you can financially swing that is extremely helpful in learning all the various skills  one wants to improve upon. Yes, there are many opinions about how to do this and that like in any how to endeavor, but in time you will put your routine together and make it you own…bad habits and all.

Study stream flows, stocking schedules, maps, visit fly shops if one is nearby, go to fly fishing and tying expos and, of course, just cruise the net gathering all the wonderful wisdom.

So right now, contemplate the creation of the list, the master checklist. Compare against that list several times through out the season. Then get out there as the season openers commence. Best wishes!

Blushing Bow SB2


Less Wings and Beer…More O2

The above food and beverage(s) passed my lips many times this past year. Almost in a state of self-abuse, I consumed all manner of deep-fried this and that: chicken, fish, pickles, mushrooms, cheese sticks, jalapeno peppers and fries. Washed down with several bebidas, I was less than kind to my health. Now, I am not saying once in a while is not ok, but I was on a quest to clug up my innards while doing little to maintain fitness. 

I worked countless hours at the Hoarding House, but that was not really big muscle exercise. So, this past week after taking a short jaunt into a river’s canyon, I could sense I was terribly out of shape. There was not spring in my step, no feeling of fitness.

So, last night I decided to venture back to the gym. I went slow and easy. Getting a sense of where I was on the fitness scale. I soon found out and this morning I can feel it even more. It is going to be a long Winter. But, that hiking, wading, climbing over, stumbling about requires increased fitness. Less wings and beer…sigh.


Every Day in May: Lessons Learned…Basic Stuff


Lessons Learned. Potentially the biggest topic of the whole crazy May Write-A-Thon. But alas, many will be off doing the holiday weekend bit…Memorial Day. So, I will keep it short and sweet.

Patience, Patience, Patience, Patience, Patience, Patience

Whether fishing, camping, teaching, mentoring, sharing, encouraging, loving, waiting, talking, listening….patience. You know if this applies to you or if it doesn’t. You really don’t get too many chances, too many mistakes in this particular part of life. Don’t be a jerk.



At least yearly prepare a checklist of fishing gear, camping gear, survival gear, camera gear, first aid gear. If you fish for multiple species with different rods, reels, gear bags, fly boxes it is important to make sure gear you need for one trip (Steelhead) isn’t stowed away in another gear bag (Stillwater stuff) that isn’t making the trip. Even if you only fish for one species keep the list if you infrequently fish. Things I have forgotten: wading boots, fins, spare spools/lines, raincoat, stocking cap, gloves, camera, fishing license/tags, tippet material, my ass if it wasn’t attached.



Age, injuries, surgeries, dwindling health….take a toll over time. I recall not too many years ago wading against fast thigh high waters, carrying heavy gear uphill, kicking and rowing across a big lake. I have seen a chain reaction because of injuries and surgeries. Most of these are because of car accidents, falls and impacts. Maybe more of those could have been avoided. But, aside from injuries/surgeries/recovery-rehab, there is general fitness that must be maintained as one gets older….do it! 

Life Interruptus

Keep the faith. If you have life’s commitments, ‘bumism’ will end. I use to fish a minimum of one or two days a week for quite a few years. Responsibilities caught up. It became impossible to fish more than a dozen times a year and finally a half dozen times a year. How in the hell can a guy that writes a fly fishing blog fish so few times? I have remarked about it before: parent’s medical conditions, appointments, work, hospice, deaths, estate cleanup, prioritizing family needs…on and on. Time, energy, focus are diverted away. And then, if you have kept the faith small windows of opportunity open. Take a breath. Stand up. Find those old checklists. Reassemble the gear. Keep it simple. Go! My opportunities are finally reappearing. I’m ready. Heck, I’ve been tying enough flies to fill a shop.

See, simple truths…simple reminders. You already knew all this. A refresher of sorts.


Wading Safety, Fitness & a Reality Check

Clack. R. (G. Muncy)

Clack. R. (G. Muncy)

A sedentary Winter, less activity, no workouts, little if any walking or climbing. All this leads to a loss of strength and a loss of flexibility. No, if you are 25 or 35, you cannot yet relate. Everything still works and the body forgives the abuses and neglect. Move forward twenty years and by now time is catching up. Sports injuries, surgeries, life’s interruptions have conspired to slow you down and the ol’ adage of one step forward, two steps back slowly inserts, slowly intrudes into your mind.

I don’t hit the water’s edge feeling weak or puny, but I leave it feeling as if my feet weigh twenty pounds a piece. My ankles ache, my ass is tired and I appear as if I could blow a .08BA, stumbling about. Shit, what the hell happened? Age, injuries, diminishing returns on workouts with the best of intentions.

So, with that in mind, you decrepit ol’ fart, be careful! Use good judgement and use a wading staff, wear some form of floatation device and most importantly, carefully pick your water. “A Man’s Gots To Know His Limitations” (Harry, Magnum Force, 1973)    

“….every angler must realise that wading is dangerous, your life is in your own hands, if you are not sure that you can take the next step, stop and figure out the situation and make sure that you will be able to negotiate your way out safely. Remember too that you can get just as wet in one foot of water as in ten if you fall over and in freezing weather the consequences could be as bad especially if you are a distance from help or shelter.”



Springtime~reaffirm to plan better

I again plan to be prepared for the unforeseen by getting into better shape. Life’s challenges sneak up on us as we get older. I want to be better prepared for the physical demands of my outdoor pursuits. Part of this is to anticipate what might happen and plan accordingly (equipment, emergency supplies, what if’s). Also, fitness in the legs gives one the reassurance that the bottom (your bottom) won’t drop out from under you during a stressful event. I recently talked to an elderly flyfisher. Now in his mid 70’s and seemingly active and planning trips to Montana, SE Oregon and Belize, I remarked about his energy. He had but one bit of advice…not about diet or drinking a glass of wine. He said keep your legs fit by walking and hiking and you will be ok. Seeing as now I feel my heart racing and my breathing increasing as I quickly climb a few flights of stairs….I am too young to let my fitness slip away. No running for me, but more walking and hiking. One thing I have also noted: our slow, shuffling walking shortens our stride and shortens our muscles. Walking should be brisk and attention should be paid to lengthening the stride. I want to be prepared for the odd encounter in the outdoors and also those long days walking the river banks.          

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