Posts Tagged ‘lessons


Friends, Snow & a Shovel

The Shovel's Reward (TMuncy, 2010)

A cold, crisp Winter’s day, New Years eve day, beckoned Zack, Blake and Tony up into the snow near Davis Peak, above Woodland, Washington. They were going to kill time and coyotes. At least that was the plan. In due course, the marauders were axle deep in the snow. Moving neither forward nor backwards, they spent their calling~hunting time digging out. Tony’s new shovel came in handy. The accomplishment of springing the rig free, prompted a thirst. High on a ridgeline, they enjoyed the Widmer Hefeweizen. Good friends enjoying the moment. Blake is destined for Afghanistan. The boys, the young men…will remember that cold afternoon.


Fly Fishing: High Sticking

In fly fishing (actually fishing in general) there are two  descriptions for ‘high sticking’.

First, and most common, is a method of nymph fishing, whereby the rod tip is held high to theoretically put the fisher in more direct contact with the offering (fly, bait) and reduce line drag (fly line, tippet, mono). This, generally, involves a short line and is different than Czech Nymphing, which is more akin to dredging.

But, there is another kind of high sticking that deals with fish fighting and unfortunately often rod breakage. I thought about this while reviewing a TFO Rod ad, which contained a short blurb about rod breakage due to high sticking. I have broken three rods, while fighting salmon. Once, while playing a Chinook in heavy currents, I felt the fish make that fateful turn broadside in the current and then turn. Not familiar with the power of big fish in heavy currents, I torqued down on the drag and leaned back on the rod, while holding the rod high on the butt section for torque…SNAP!!!!  Lesson learned.  As Clint Eastwood would have said..’a mans got to know his rod’s limitations’.

But, twice more, with smaller salmon, I fought the fish in close and to control them, I held the rod high (butt section vertical) and kept the line pinched to the cork. The fish thrashed and surged. With the rod held high, the tips snapped into multiple pieces.

I always admonished my kids to ‘keep the tip up’ to avoid a rod horizontal and all the stress on the line/tippet. All that is fine, until you have a bigger fish at your feet, alone and trying to control the fish.

Avoid lifting and trying to hoist/control a strong fish by putting excessive bend into the top third of the rod with the butt section of the rod nearly vertical. Often this is done while lifting the rod to steer the line into the non-rod hand to gain control of the fish. This is a difficult dance indeed. Easy with a trout, but much harder with a bigger fish. If the fish is not on its side yet, be careful when you lift the rod while reaching for the line!


‘When Memory Is More Than Prospect’

Sir Grey

“The time must come to all of us, who live long, when memory is more than prospect. An angler, who has reached this stage and reviews the pleasure of life will be grateful and glad that he has been an angler, for he will look back on days radiant with happiness, peaks of enjoyment that are no less bright because they are lit in memory by the light of the setting sun.” Sir Edward Grey of Fallodon

A bit morose and too reflective for some. But, it does either elicit reflection, acceptance or reaffirmation that there are many more prospects before one. Either way the passage serves the purpose to reflect.


Alaska: The Other End of ‘Paradise’

The other day, I was killing time between appointments and stopped off at a restaurant for a cup. As I approached the entry way there was a car in the disabled parking spot and jumping out at me was the decal affixed to the side of the car.

A pretty prominent display of veteran’s status, of the Aleutians, and it resonated with me because as I have written here once before, my dad was an Army vet that hunkered down for close to a year in the bleak hell of Attu, Shemya and Kiska (Aleutian Islands). He was proud of that part of his life, but never talked about it..never once remarked about that time in Alaska. He deflected all mention of it toward his exploits and pride in also being a part of the Al-Can Hiway’s Construction.

As a boy, I recall my dad hated being cold. Little bothered my dad: he didn’t like rats (he lost an older brother to a rat bite), he didn’t like spiders and he did not like the cold.

As, I entered the restaurant, I sat near the door. I looked about the tables and booths and there was not one elderly male (late 80’s/90’s) nor female (spouse) that could have fit the bill. No one came out of the restrooms. I spent almost an hour waiting for someone to settle up a tab and head for the car with the Aleutians vet decal. I wanted to briefly say hello and relay my connection.

Jim Muncy

But, the car did remind me of my dad, his stoic life and resolve. This Winter as I complain about my frozen toes and numb hands and nose, I will remember my cold does not equal his cold. The saving grace is my dad loved to camp and gave me that…I have passed it on.


Bird Tattoo’s..the Empty Nest…Dad’s Drawer

Naomi's Five Birds on Rear Shoulder (Under the Yardarm)

“As a child I loved to peek into my Dad’s blue metal compartment drawers, full of feather, fishing line, nail clippers, scissors, waxes, threads…  I wasn’t really meant to be looking in it.  Then there was the time I helped Dad untangle his fishing line.

Throughout my life, whether I be child, brooding teen, uni student, young wife, mother, part of our family is centered around the blue metal drawers and its contents.  Contents that have now grown to fill a whole bench in The Shack, feathers a big part of that bench.” Under the Yardarm

Naomi, the mum, the wife, has a blog that is perhaps better suited to your wife, girlfriend or sis. She is in transition. She reminisces above about another time. She is caught up in the past, the present, the future. On second thought, it wouldn’t hurt you to peruse her thoughts. It might help you with those that operate on a different plain…one we would be well served to acknowledge more often. For those searching for the bird or feather tattoo…another variation of birds fly and the meanings of family, empty nest, separation..on and on.


Fly Fishing: Escaping The Like Minded

SwittersB Contemplating a Wind Knot (SwittersB)

“I’m not sure I see any new trends but amplifications of a couple of existing ones.  First, the continued Balkanization, or specialization, or fracturing, or whatever you want to call it, among fly anglers.  The Internet is the ideal medium for the like-minded to find one another, and so I think 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 at MidCurrent Article

Chasing  One’s Tail..the circular thoughts that play through the mind as one sorts out the trends and habits of fly fishing. On the one hand, most FFer’s fancy their selves as independent thinkers and individualist. We, at the same time, are vulnerable to marketing and ‘must have’ acquisitions. We strive for a uniqueness to our look, but go to a trade show and their are common looks once we’re all under the same roof. We castigate those that would shape us to conform to the old, yet saturate the internet with a sameness that shows conformity to an image, a way, a style. How to get to that core pursuits sans the distractions and conformist based forces?

Is it just the same dynamic as in any endeavor where men gather? I suspect it is. I raise this as my own little circular, internal puzzle. Not to steer anyone toward a response. It came about yesterday, as I was having a discussion with a nurse, while hooked up to a heart monitor (don’t worry fans, just routine testing). The nurse was discussing her young son’s love for all manner of fishing. I offered up my blog as a means of discovering more about fly fishing and fly tying.

Later, I wondered about the diversity of the site. The randomness of diverse thoughts amongst the blogroll. Would it be confusing for the young mind left to his own devices? Well, I got into that circular argument of what if’s and how about’s. In the end, I decided, that is life on many fronts, in many endeavors. We are subjected to forces that guide us, steer us, push us, pull us, play us. We must sort through that and hopefully end up seeking joy, peace, energy with a rod in hand, a fly enticing and a fish or two nearby deciding. A simple equation we often seek, in order to avoid the random thoughts that distract or the ‘like minded’. Sorry if I distracted you.


Crowds at a Small Town Parade (Woodland Planter’s Day)

A small town. Crowded with rural folks from nearby and beyond. Energy, simplicity, traditions. The parade started at 11AM sharp and lasted a full one hour and fifteen minutes. Fire trucks, log trucks, a float, pretty girls on horseback, a camel (yes, a camel), small businesses, tons of candy thrown to waiting children. The parade went well. Woodland’s Planter’s Day started in 1923.

Carnival rides nearby, food vendors selling the usual greasy this and that, artists pushing their wares, princesses in long dresses with sashes and crowns, no cussing, no yelling or drunkeness, civility. Cops doing perimeter traffic control, not crowd control.

The Woodland Fire Fighters slow roasted almost 1200 pounds of beef hindquarters. Amazingly tender and well presented.

This 87 year tradition is taken quite seriously. Old timers (fire fighters) show up to make sure that the tradition and process is adhered to. All that meat is chopped up and used to make thousands of BBQ sandwiches.

Bed races, frog jumping contests (the 20 year old record of 153″ was challenged this year with a 122″ best jump) and a battle of fire fighters against the big red ball ensued. In a contest best suited to a hot Summer’s day, no one shied away from the fire hoses spraying down the audience on a 62 degree day.

The large red ball is tethered to a long steel cable stretched tight between two props and two pick up trucks. The fire fighters use hoses on each end to compete on which team (agency) can propel the red ball past their opponent.

A totally enjoyable day. Small town on steroids for a weekend. Nice people and nice vibes. It was rather pleasant to not be surrounded by pretentious, pious hipsters; pinched yuppies or riff raff. What riff raff there were had it all under control as if a cease fire had been called. Good job Woodland, Washington. I mean you inherently know this about small towns. They rise to the occasion over and over. I just don’t get enough of it. Of course, women seem drawn to those heavy, funny hats……

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